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A ‘Mario’ Movie Producer Defends Casting Chris Pratt As The Non-Italian Voice Of The Video Game Character

The announcement of Chris Pratt as the voice of nipple-baring Italian plumber Mario was greeted with an “oh no” by the internet. But Chris Meledandri, a producer for Illumination (the home of the Minions) who is working on the Super Mario Bros. movie, thinks everyone should hold their judgement until they hear Pratt’s first “yippee.”

“All I can tell you is the voice that he’s doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal. Yeah I can’t wait for people to hear it,” he told TooFab. Meledandri said that as an Italian-American himself, he “understand[s] the comments” and backlash, but “Charlie Day, who’s playing Luigi, actually comes from Italian heritage. Yeah, so, that’s our nod.”

Meledandri hinted that the accent issue would be a self-referential joke within the film. “We cover it in the movie,” he promised. “So you’ll see we definitely nod to that.” He vowed that Pratt would not be leaning too heavily into the “It’s a-me, Mario!” “That’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film,” he said.

And if it doesn’t work out, Pratt can always be re-cast with Matt Berry. Or another Chris.

The still-untitled Mario movie, which also stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and no one as Toadette (so far), is scheduled to come out on December 21, 2022.

(Via TooFab)