Luigi Star John Leguizamo Calls Out Mario Movie For Lack Of Diversity
The Mario movie wasn't expected to be anything special, and with the hilarious casting of Chris Pratt as the titular plumber, fans expected nothing of its teaser trailer. But… it looks pretty good.
Jack Black as Bowser is genius casting, Charlie Day should make for a comedic Luigi, and though we didn't hear much of Pratt's "Mario voice", it seems to be perfectly operable.
But not everyone is happy about the casting of the film - and that includes the original cinematic Luigi. Now, John Leguizamo slammed The Super Mario Bros. Movie for a lack of diversity.
What Has John Leguizamo Said About The Super Mario Bros. Movie?
It looks as though Hollywood legend John Leguizamo has some pretty serious gripes with the casting of Illumination's The Super Mario Bros Movie, and it's not as simple as not liking Chris Pratt.
Speaking to IndieWire on the red carpet for new movie The Menu, Leguizamo commented on the new film and his feelings about it as a one-time Mario brother.
"I'm OG. A lot of people love the original," he says. "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."
Explaining the problem, Leguizamo added, "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." Leguizamo has a point, and even though the movie is animated this time around, it doesn't mean it should be able to get away with having a cast that is predominantly white cast - safe for a few characters.
There is some diversity with Khary Payton's Penguin King, Kevin Michael Richardson's Kamek, and Keegan-Michael Key's Toad, but Leguizamo has called out the casting department.
Illumination Producer Tries To Quell Mario Diversity Concerns
Concerns about the film's diversity were brought up last year (via Deadline) by the founder and producer of Illumination Chris Meledandri. Admittedly, it wasn't particularly well addressed.
"We are collaborating with Chris [Pratt] 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," said Meledandri.
"When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely — people love to voice opinions, as they should." Well, we've heard the voice now, and the criticism is still pretty warranted. Nice try, though.