The studio head and producer of the upcoming Super Mario movie has responded to the online backlash against Chris Pratt, who has been voicing the title character Mario. Chris Meledandri of Minions studio Illumination told Deadline that non-believers could come on board when they finally hear Pratt play the portly plumber.
“When people hear Chris Pratt perform, the criticism evaporates, maybe not entirely — people love to speak their minds like they should,” he said.
Meledandri, who is Italian-American, doesn’t think Pratt’s portrayal of Mario will offend Italians or Italian-Americans. “I’m not sure that’s the smartest defense, but as a person of Italian-American heritage, I feel like I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans.” … I think we’re going to be just fine,” he said.
Pratt has been criticized in the past by Elliot Page and others for his connection to the Hillsong church. However, Meledrandri did not comment on this in the Deadline interview. Writer-director James Gunn, who worked with Pratt on the Guardians of the Galaxy series, has defended Pratt, saying people have “completely wrong” beliefs about him.
However, Meledandri briefly touched on the importance of working with Nintendo. “Nintendo is one of those companies that we respect and hold dear; this collaboration is, in my opinion, unprecedented in its closeness,” he said.
The Mario movie, which was recently pushed back to 2023, is reportedly just the first of several movies from Nintendo and Illumination. Next up is a Donkey Kong spinoff starring Seth Rogen. The existence of a company called Nintendo Studios was recently discovered, and that may be the title of Nintendo’s unannounced film division.
The Mario film has a large cast of famous names, including Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, and Jack Black as Bowser. Charles Martinet, who voices Mario in the video game series, will have “surprising cameos.”
Very little is known about the story, or any specifics at all. Day confirmed in February this year that he had started recording lines for the film, but he can’t say much more.
“I’d love to tell you all about it, but they’re top secret with this stuff. Absolutely, this is serious stuff,” Day said. “I don’t know anything. I show up and they’re like, ‘You say this and you say that.’ And it’s all very funny and good. And then I walk out and there’s these two guys in overalls with hammers and they’re like, ‘Don’t tell anyone about this, Charlie. I swear to God, we’ll get your kneecaps, we’ll get you.’ Break the neck.'”
Actors from the Mario movie:
- Chris Pratt as Mario
- Anya Taylor Joy as Peach
- Charlie Day as Luigi
- Jack Black as Bowser
- Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek
- Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike
- Keegan-Michael Key as Toad
- Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong
- Charles Martinet in “Surprise Cameo”
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