Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath, the directors of the upcoming video game movie Super Mario Bros, have defended casting Chris Pratt as ‘their version’ of Mario. In the movie, which serves as an origin story, Mario and Luigi are ‘blue collar’ plumbers in Brooklyn, and are from a family of Italian immigrants, rather than Italian themselves.
Horvath told Total Film that the animated movie is; “a bit of an origin tale. It’s the story of Mario becoming Super Mario.” At the outset Mario and his brother Luigi are plumbers in Brooklyn, “blue-collar guys… from a family of Italian immigrants” who make cheesy adverts and find themselves warped to the Mushroom Kingdom. “When you play the game, if you don’t give up, Mario will succeed. So we transferred that player experience from the game to a characteristic that [movie] Mario would have.”
Horvath is confident that Chris Pratt will prove the doubters wrong in the family movie. “For us, it made total sense. He’s really good at playing a blue-collar hero with a ton of heart. For the way that Mario is characterised in our film, he’s perfect for it. We wanted to make this movie a very authentic Nintendo Super Mario experience and [for Mario to] be that everyman.”
The cast is rounded out by Anya Taylor-Joy (as Peach), Charlie Day (as Luigi), Jack Black (as Bowser), Seth Rogen (as Donkey Kong), Keegan-Michael Key (as Toad), and Fred Armisen (as Cranky Kong). The inclusion of Donkey Kong and Cranky Kong hints at sequels, and we’re sure they’ll be hoping for a new franchise – like the hugely successful Sonic the Hedgehog movies.
Super Mario Bros will be released on April 5 in the US, and the UK on April 7, 2023. While we wait, check out our guide to the best kids movies.