Reactions from the actors of the movie Super Mario: Chris Pratt playing Mario? we have thoughts
He was Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. And now? Now.
A chubby little Italian plumber.
Casting news wasduring today’s Nintendo Direct livestream, which primarily focuses on streaming information about Nintendo Switch games launching this summer. But the show to what turned out to be a mildly controversial casting.
A quick look at the rest of the voice cast:
- Anya Taylor-Joy will play Princess Peach, whose Mario adventures usually center around rescuing
- Jack Black will play the villainous Bowser
- Seth Rogen will play Donkey Kong
- Charlie Day will play Luigi
- Keegan-Michael Key will play Toad
- Fred Armisen will play Cranky Kong
- Kevin Michael Richardson will play Kamek
- Sebastian Maniscalco will play Spike
- Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario in video games since 1992, will have surprise cameos
Some interesting choices there. Choices that left several CNET staffers baffled and eager to discuss. Here are some of our eyebrow-raising casting thoughts.
Chris Pratt as Super Mario
Mark Serrels: I don’t think we all like that, do we? Should probably be Italian or Italian American. The internet has also kind of turned its back on Chris Pratt. I wonder what kind of Mario they’re looking for here.
Mike Sorrentino: As a New Yorker, I can’t help but feel like there are a lot of New York actors who have been overlooked in pursuing this role. Then again, could Nintendo try a different type of Mario? Maybe we’re getting a college-aged Mario? Kind of a mix between an origin story and what we get from Super Mario 64? I certainly want to hear his take on the Italian plumber, but the shock is apparent.
Steph Panecasio: I find it hard not to have the impression that Charles Martinet got dissipated for that. He is right there! The OG voice! Chris Pratt is, in my books, an objectively poor choice for Mario, but it seems all the more difficult since they already had the perfect actor for it. I also feel the same way as Mike in that Chris Pratt is definitely not the Italian plumber I expected – and I swear on everything I own, if he does a dodgy accent I’m going to make a riot.
Charlie Day as Luigi
Mark: Charlie Day is the epitome of “that guy”. I literally had to google it and then I was like “oh… that dude!” But you know what? I think a “that guy” is the perfect choice for Luigi. I’m into it.
Mike: Charlie Day might be one of the less surprising casting choices. From It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to Horrible Bosses, he’s got plenty of experience as a comedic sidekick looking to break out. But Luigi isn’t known for being particularly loud, and many of Day’s characters shout loudly.
Steph: As someone who’s loved Luigi with all his heart since day one, I’m admittedly a bit concerned about the casting, if only because I feel like Charlie – although talented – doesn’t doesn’t bring the right energy to Luigi. He’s so often the frenetic, wild guy and Luigi doesn’t have that vibe. Luigi is a bit of an anxious dude who is often relegated to the sidekick of comedy, but I just don’t think Charlie Day has the vulnerability that’s built into Luigi. I’ll be happy to be wrong, but I don’t think I will be. Justice for Luigi!
Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach
Mark: I’m in shock. Absolute shock. This is the most breathtaking casting choice for me. Anya Taylor-Joy is 100% one of the hottest stars in Hollywood right now. I’m thrilled beyond belief that she’s playing Peach.
Jennifer Bisset: Yeah, all I know is Anya Taylor-Joy can’t hurt. The creator of The Queen’s Gambit on the other hand… (see: Emmys speech).
Steph: That’s perfect. I have absolutely no qualms about this one. Possibly the smartest casting choice the producers could have made.
Jack Black as Bowser
Adam Benjamin: I love Jack Black and I believe he can make any role work. Honestly, my only disappointment here is the black hole of a missed opportunity to cast him as Wario.
Mark: Behind the casting of Anya Taylor-Joy, it’s the one that excites me the most. Now that they’ve announced Jack Black, I literally can’t imagine anyone else voicing it.
Mike: I’m not at all worried about Jack Black as Bowser. Dig into Doublefine’s 2009 video game Brutal Legend or watch some videos of the cutscenes – it’ll get the fire-breathing dragon that keeps kidnapping a princess.
Steph: I have no doubts about Jack Black’s ability to do this justice, but I have to agree with Adam — a totally missed opportunity not to cast him as Wario!
Keegan-Michael Key as Toad
Mike: Similar to Jack Black as Bowser, I have no concerns about Keegan-Michael Key in this movie and hope that as Toad he is in the whole movie and not just a popup here and there. Watch him as Ducky in Toy Story 4 as he and Jordan Peele’s rabbit steal this Pixar movie of Woody and Buzz’s existential drama.
Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong
Mark: What kind of Donkey Kong are we getting here? A wise Donkey Kong or someone who growls? I can’t imagine Rogen heading to the booth to do a few monkey songs, so I have to believe this is the first. This project could be absolutely hilarious.
Jen: Maybe it’s a Vin Diesel type situation, Groot.
Steph: I’ll be 100% okay with that as long as Seth Rogen’s laugh isn’t felt one way or another – I love a laugh, but it’s definitely not a laugh from Donkey Kong in my books. Would spoil the immersion!
Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong
Mark: Where’s Funky Kong?
Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek
Jackson Ryan: Damn, really no love for one of the most accomplished voice actors, not just on this list, but in general? Kamek is going to be the absolute star of this thing. All those other “actors” won’t know what strikes them.
Surprise cameos by Charles Martinet
Mark: If I’m Martinet, I’m livid, I don’t play Mario. Point blank. Clearly they are going in a different direction, but still.
Mike: I hope Martinet has some extra executive producer or consulting credits on this. His 20+ years voicing Mario cannot be ignored. It’s not unusual in this situation to cast a new voice actor when moving to a new format, for example, I thought Ben Schwartz did very well in Sonic the Hedgehog, but Swift is a key part of that voice.
The animated movie Super Mario Bros. is set to arrive in theaters on December 21, 2022.