Nintendo’s mascot, the lovable plumber-slash-adventurer Mario, has been portrayed by a handful of faces over the years. His most enduring voice actor is Charles Martinet, who has portrayed him in nearly all of his video game appearances. However, Mario has also been played by late professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano for The Super Mario Bros. Super Show animated series, as well as late actor Bob Hoskins in the 1993 live-action film. As of yesterday, though, we have the identity of Mario’s newest actor, and to say it’s a bit of a surprise would be an understatement.
During Nintendo’s Direct presentation on Thursday, Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto appeared to formally announce the theatrical premier date of the Super Mario Bros. animated film in production by Despicable Me studio Illumination. The film will hit theaters on December 21, 2022, just in time for the holiday season. Along with the release date, Miyamoto also divulged the primary cast.
In the role of Mario, we have Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. In a post on Instagram, Pratt said that it has always been a dream of his to portray Mario, ever since he was a kid playing arcade games in a coin-op laundromat. Alongside Pratt will be Anya Taylor-Joy from The Queen’s Gambit as Princess Peach, Charlie Day of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Luigi, and in possibly the best casting choice ever, beloved celebrity and musician Jack Black as King Bowser. For supporting roles, we have Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, among others. While Charles Martinet won’t be playing Mario for this production, he will be appearing in cameo roles through the film.
The Super Mario Bros. Animated Film movie is heading to theaters in North America on 12/21/22!
Check out the voice cast for the upcoming movie below ? pic.twitter.com/Xj31P6hk6y
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 23, 2021
The casting choices have drawn a spot of controversy, as neither Pratt nor Day are of Italian heritage. However, just to give some perspective, the only Italian person to ever play either Mario or Luigi is Lou Albano; Charles Martinet, despite being Mario’s most enduring voice, is of French descent. Just saying, nobody’s ever raised a stink about this before.