John Leguizamo Says ‘It Sucks’ Super Mario Isn’t Voiced By Actor Of Color

'For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks,' says the actor.

'For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks,' says the actor.

John Leguizamo Says 'It Sucks' Super Mario Isn't Voiced By Actor Of Color

John Leguizamo, who played the live-action version of Luigi in the 1993 movie, isn’t happy at all that Chris Pratt is voicing Mario in the new Super Mario Bros. movie.

The actor spoke with Indie Wire and said they are going backward with the casting of Pratt.

“I’m O.G. A lot of people love the original. I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone’s like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ They’re not feeling the new one,” Leguizamo said. “I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”

 Leguizamo continued, “The directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to be the lead. They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks.”

It probably should be said that Mario and Luigi are actually Italian – Italian-Americans from Brooklyn, I believe – and that neither John Leguizamo nor Chris Pratt is Italian.

Super Mario Bros. Movie poster

Illumination founder not worried about offending Italian-Americans

This isn’t the first time the voice-casting of Pratt has seen controversy, as Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandr was asked why they went that route.

“We are collaborating with Chris and his experienced team to not just create a character-licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings ‘Super Mario Bros.’ to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game,” Meledandri said during the CineEurope convention via Deadline. “When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely — people love to voice opinions, as they should.”

Meledandri added, “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…I think we’re going to be just fine.”

In addition to voicing Super Mario, Chris Pratt also voiced characters in The LEGO Movie franchise, Disney/Pixar’s Onward, and he is also providing the voice of Garfield in the upcoming movie of the same name.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie gets released on April 7, 2023, directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic and also stars Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.

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