Chris Pratt says he 'totally gets' backlash over his casting in 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' as he knows 'there's a passionate fan base'
Chris Pratt has addressed the backlash over his casting as Mario in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
When it was announced that he would be voicing the beloved Italian plumber, many fans were upset.
"I get it," he told Gizmodo. "Mostly, people don't want something like this to get screwed up."
Chris Pratt has addressed the criticism over his casting as Mario in the upcoming animated "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
In an interview with Gizmodo published Wednesday, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" actor said he understood why longtime fans of the Nintendo video game were concerned when it was announced that he would be voicing the beloved Italian plumber.
"Oh, I totally get it, man," he said when asked about his reaction to the fan backlash.
"There's a passionate fan base, and I'm one of the fans. I get it," he continued. "Mostly, people don't want something like this to get screwed up."
Pratt went on to say that he was "grateful" for their concern and added: "They're precious about it. They're careful."
The animated film, which is released in theaters on April 5, will also star Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Jack Black as Bowser, and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad.
Day, who was also present for the interview, weighed in to say that he understood why fans "don't want the franchise messed up at all" as the game has "taken care of people."
"I think 'Super Mario Bros.,' really, when you think about what a video game does for people, it is a place to escape to," Day said.
"So people would go, after maybe having a tough day at school or in your work life, whatever it is, you put on 'Super Mario Bros.,' you play for an hour and you just disappear into that land and that world."
Day added that he thinks fans will "be really happy when they see the movie two, three, maybe four times in the theater."
In September 2021, producer Chris Meledandri responded to critics who had doubts about Pratt playing Mario due to his lack of Italian ethnicity.
"When people hear Chris Pratt's performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely — people love to voice opinions, as they should," he said during the CineEurope convention, via Deadline.
"I'm not sure this is the smartest defense, but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans," he continued. "I think we're going to be just fine."
Meanwhile, John Leguizamo, who played Luigi opposite Bob Hoskins' Mario in the live-action "Super Mario Bros." (1993), called the decision to have two white actors voice the fictional sibling plumbers in the new version "unfortunate."
"For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks," he told IndieWire in November.
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