Super Mario movie producer defends Chris Pratt, teases that there wont be much “Its-a me, Mario” stuff – The A.V. Club

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Luigi Mario and Mario Mario

Luigi Mario and Mario Mario
Photo: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

No, it wasn’t a horrible shared dream that we all suffered through back in September: Chris Pratt is really going to do the voice of Mario Mario in Illumination’s Super Mario movie, even though Mario has had one voice actor for 25 years (Charles Martinet) and he’s very good at saying the three or four things that Mario says. Plus everybody’s kind of sick of Chris Pratt, you know?

But it’s happening, and we are powerless to stop it—even though Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri has somehow found a way to make it seem even less appealing. Speaking with TooFab while trying to get out of LAX, Meledandri said that Pratt’s Mario voice is “phenomenal” and that he “can’t wait for people to hear it.”

Meledandri also addressed complaints about Pratt voicing an Italian character when he is not Italian—as if Super Mario is held up as some prime example of Italian culture like Leonardo da Vinci or Sergio Leone or Eugenio Barsanti (co-inventor of the internal combustion engine!) and not just a silly stereotype created by Japanese people. Meledandri, himself an Italian-American, says he understands the concerns about Pratt doing the voice but promises that Mario’s lack of an accent will be noted somehow in the film.

“We cover it in the movie,” he teased, adding that Pratt also won’t be leaning too hard into the “it’s-a me, Mario” stuff that people, you know, like to hear Mario say. “That’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film,” apparently. That being said, Meledandri does point out that Charlie Day is voicing Luigi (christ, how did we forget that?) and that Day “actually comes from Italian heritage,” so “that’s our nod.”

Again: Was anyone really upset that they didn’t get an Italian person to play Super Mario? Charles Martinet isn’t even Italian and he’s been doing a pretty damn good job for the last few decades voicing Mario and Luigi and Wario and Waluigi. Also, they’re from the Mushroom Kingdom, not Italy. That’s just how people talk in the Mushroom Kingdom unless they’re a princess or a Toad or a Koopa.

Anyway, Chris Pratt is also voicing Garfield and that seems strange as well. Lorenzo Music is dead, so maybe that just means we shouldn’t do any more Garfield stuff?

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