‘Super Mario’ Director Defends Casting Chris Pratt Amid Backlash: ‘Really Good At Playing A Blue Collar Hero’

One of the directors of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” defended the decision to cast Chris Pratt in the lead role during an interview published Wednesday as fans continue to argue over it.

The debate has been going strong since the teaser trailer debuted in October, with viewers wondering why Pratt, who is not Italian and appears to make no effort to sound that way, would be picked to voice one of the most iconic video game characters in existence.

“It’s a bit of an origin tale. It’s the story of Mario becoming Super Mario,” director Aaron Horvath told TotalFilm of the project during an interview. He noted how the casting agents were looking for someone to realistically portray “a blue-collar guy from a family of Italian immigrants” in Brooklyn.

“For us, it made total sense,” Horvath said of them landing on Pratt as the ideal choice. “He’s really good at playing a blue-collar hero with a ton of heart. For the way that Mario is characterized in our film, he’s perfect for it.”

Pratt also discussed how focused he was on getting the voice right during an interview with Variety last year, explaining how he “worked really closely” with directors to find the best way to portray Mario.

“I tried out a few things and landed on something that I’m really proud of and can’t wait for people to see and hear,” Pratt said. “It’s an animated voiceover narrative. It’s not a live-action movie. I’m not gonna be wearing a plumber suit running all over. I’m providing a voice for an animated character, and it is updated and unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before.”

Fans don’t have much to evaluate as Pratt only spoke two lines in the original teaser trailer, saying, “What is this place?” and “Mushroom Kingdom, here we come!” But that was enough to send Twitter into a frenzy when the trailer dropped in October. Viewers said it sounded like the actor didn’t do anything to alter his normal voice.

“Chris Pratt saying he worked so hard on the Mario voice only for it to sound like Chris Pratt is the funniest thing,” one person responded.


When a longer version of the trailer was released shortly after with more dialogue, Illumination Studios turned off commenting on YouTube. 

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” lands in theaters on April 5, 2023.

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