Chris Pratt, Charlie Day and Anya Taylor-Joy Share What it’s like to Voice the Iconic Mario Bros.

Nintendo first introduced us to the Mario Bros. in 1983 with a silly little game. I doubt any of us had any idea just how iconic these two little guys would be in 2023. Oh sure, they appeared in the live action 1993 film, Super Mario Bros. which starred, Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper, but that film has only a few fans and only made $21 million on a $48 million budget. That most likely won’t be the case for the new animated film (with the catchy title) The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Although, the gamers’ truest fans will end up being the movie’s greatest critics whether good or bad.

Created with a partnership with Nintendo and Universal’s Illumination, the new Mario Bros. movie has already ruffled some feathers by choosing to use the voices of well-known actors for the cartoon crew instead of the lesser-known voices used in the actual games. However, Universal has been teasing that a “special voice appearance” will be made in the film by Charles Martinet, who has voiced the characters of both Mario and Luigi in the Super Mario games for over 30 years.

As much as he is beloved, Chris Pratt has probably taken the most heat so far for voicing Brooklyn plumber Mario. Gamers have fretted that he sounds nothing like Martinet, but at a recent junket for the film, he described the challenge as “incredibly rewarding.”

“Getting an opportunity to help create that voice with the directors…and rolling up our sleeves and figuring out what this guy sounds like – what the movie version of what this guy sounds like – was a lot of fun. I had a lot of leeway to improvise … and really, that’s sort of the beauty of this medium. They’re just rolling audio. You can just say a million different versions of the same line. You know what the character is trying to say and so you can say what’s written and you can say what’s not written to attempt to get that meaning across. Really, you just throw a million ideas at the wall and see what sticks.”

While Pratt didn’t seem too fazed by voicing an iconic character, Charlie Day, who voices Luigi, had a different take on the task at hand.

“Everyone has a relationship with these characters … for the last 30 odd years that the games have been around. Which I think occurred to me after the fact. I’m glad that it did because I might have gotten nervous, although that would have been fine for the character.”

When it comes to Princess Peach, Anya Taylor-Joy was less concerned about how she sounded but how this movie version of the character would be perceived.

“I feel so grateful that Nintendo and Illumination and the directors – that we were all on the same page. Because when I was first approached to play her, I was so excited and so thrilled but slightly [with trepidation] because I didn’t want to play the damsel in distress. Princess Peach is an incredibly capable and great leader first and foremost. And if you actually think about it, it makes sense that this is how she should have always been played. Because if you’re the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and technically, it’s a flourishing society and you are constantly being kidnapped and being moved from castle to castle, you’re not doing a very good job of leading.”

Good point.

The new film also features the voices of Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike. The film is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (who were also co-collaborators on the TV series Teen Titans Go! and the movie, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel (known for his work on Minions: The Rise of Gru and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part). The movie comes to theaters on April 5, 2023.

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  1. […] that Mario and Luigi are not voiced by Charles Martinet (who voices them in their video games), Pratt and Day do a decent job of creating a character and not just voicing the lines. However, once again, […]


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