Chris Pratt is Mario now

Nintendo Fans Wonder If the Real Super Mario Bros. Animated Movie Cast List Is in Another Castle

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There was a 40-minute Nintendo Direct presentation yesterday that mainly focused on upcoming releases for the Nintendo Switch. This included some titles we knew about (Metroid Dread is in a few more weeks!) and some that were clearly summoned by a bad bitch prayer circle (thank you, Bayonetta 3).

And … news on the official Super Mario Bros. movie?

While that may have felt like it came out of a random warp pipe, news of the animated film dates back to 2014, when a series of leaked Sony Pictures emails led to rumors of them closing a deal with Nintendo for a Mario movie. Back then, Genndy Tartakovsky (Hotel Transylvania, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars) was a name being floated as a potential director.

Side note: Damn, that would’ve been rad!

These rumors proved to be false, though, and we wouldn’t hear about the animated movie again until 2017—this time, with Nintendo collaborating with Universal Pictures and Illumination (Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing). The deal became official in 2018, with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Illumination head Chris Meledandri serving as co-producers.

Now? We have a December 21, 2022 release date, and a cast list for the English version of the film.



Here we gooooo!

SMB animated movie cast

Chris Pratt as Mario

Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach

Charlie Day as Luigi

Jack Black as Bowser

Keegan-Michael Key as Toad

Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong

Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong

Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek

Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike

And surprise cameos from Charles Martinet.

Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go! and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) are directing, with screenwriter Matthew Fogel (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and Minions: The Rise of Gru) working on the script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Meledandri and Miyamoto had this to say in a statement:

“Mario and Luigi are two of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture, and we are honored to have the unique opportunity to work so closely with Shigeru Miyamoto and the widely imaginative team at Nintendo to bring these characters to life in an animated movie, unlike any film Illumination has made to date.” – Chris Meledandri

“We are collaborating with Chris [Meledandri] and his experienced team to not just create a character licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings Super Mario Bros. to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game. The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other. We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen.” – Shigeru Miyamoto


So yeah.

Twitter had some … thoughts on this.

Some of those thoughts were comedic.

A lot of those thoughts were comedic.

How could they not be comedic?!

Then there was the dawning realization that Mario was being voiced by Chris Pratt.

And the realization that Danny DeVito is right there, and he and Charlie Day have great comedic chemistry. Also, DeVito’s voice would be a good fit for Mario, sort of a callback to how he sounded before Charles Martinet brought him to life in the video games.

For reference, here’s the late Lou Albano:

And the late Bob Hoskins:

I’m not saying DeVito is an exact match or anything like that, but it’s not that farfetched to think that he could take on Mario if Hollywood was gonna do the ol’ “casting well-known actors for animation is the only way to sell tickets” thing, which, well, that’s exactly what it feels like they’re doing with Super Mario Bros.

That, in and of itself, is a problem that’s been talked about for a long time.

This cast list has led to the return of a more serious conversation about how voice actors aren’t given chances to be in movies like this, being passed over in favor of casting celebrities because Hollywood thinks that’s the only way we’d go and support a film like this. While this isn’t the first time this has happened, there is an extra feeling of insult when Charles Martinet is being promoted as a cameo instead of portraying the character he’s been voicing since the ’90s.

I know Hollywood is stuck on this outdated idea of folks only being interested in animation if their fave celebrity is tied to it, but Mario is beyond iconic. No one needs to be convinced to see a Mario movie. You don’t need a “big name” to lure people in. Mario—and Charles Martinet—have already done the work for you.

But let’s say that wasn’t the case. Let’s say that Mario wasn’t so big that every department store is contractually obligated to carry at least 1 of his shirts. Why wouldn’t you let this be an opportunity for his voice actor to take him to greater heights? Because let’s face it, no matter how popular the celebrity is in that role, if the movie doesn’t look good (and in this case sound good), it won’t be the hit you want it to be.

Voice acting is a different kind of acting. You can’t just get someone who’s popular and have them read lines. Trust me, audiences can tell the difference. Is that what it’ll sound like with Chris Pratt? Who knows? I mean, he technically does have voice acting experience (The LEGO Movie), but the fact remains that this cast announcement feels like another “banking on star-power” moment when Mario already has star-power thanks to decades of voice work from someone who is still working as him today.

What are your thoughts on the cast list of Super Mario Bros.? Admittedly, my thoughts are somewhere between “is this the real-life” and “is this just fantasy?” Will this cast work? Or is this something that should be smashed by an angry Thwomp?

Also, stop speaking things into the universe for teh lulz! It always comes true!

(featured image: Universal Pictures/Nintendo)

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Image of Briana Lawrence
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)