Mario Movie Producer Responds To 'Offensive' Chris Pratt Casting
It's the casting that rocked the video game world - seriously, how hard would it have been to get Charles Martinet to voice Mario? Still, we're now stuck with Chris Pratt playing the portly plumber in the upcoming Super Mario movie, with a casting that could make even Bob Hoskins' version look great.
Hoping to "coin" the success of Detective Pikachu and Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog movies, the Super Mario movie is already being teased as the start of a Mario Cinematic Universe with Pratt at the centre. If you're still rattled by that thought, the movie's producer has spoken out about the "offensive" casting of Pratt and assured even its harshest critics that he's the right man for the job.
Why Is Chris Pratt's Casting So Divisive?
Despite Pratt's A-list status thanks to the likes of the Jurassic World franchise and playing Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pratt reminds a divisive part of Hollywood due to the anti-LGBTQ+ views of his church. If that wasn't enough, his Mario casting has caused a stir because he'll be using his normal accent and not Mario's signature Italian lilt.
While an Italian accent would've undoubtedly had problems of its own in terms of stereotypes and the fact Martinet's own impression raises a few eyebrows, fandom can't seem to agree on how Illumination should've handled Mario's voice. Speaking out against the whole debacle, Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri told Deadline everyone will love Pratt's Mario. Well, we'll believe it when we see it.
"When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely," said Meledandri. "People love to voice opinions, as they should. I’m not sure this is the smartest defence, 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."
Chris Pratt's Casting Is Wrong In Every Way
Meledandri seems to miss the point. Pratt putting on a dodgy accent of aged stereotypes is just a small part of the controversy. Although it's not quite the same as Eddie Redmayne playing a trans character in The Danish Girl, we've got to ask why Pratt over the many accomplished Italian characters out there. It's easy to see the dollar signs ringing in Illumination and Universal's eyes - once again chucking fandom out of the window in favour of a quick buck.
You only have to look at how viewers seem to be okay with Charlie Day playing Luigi to see the issue clearly lies with the casting of Pratt. Aside from the whole LGBTQ+ issues, some are sick of seeing Pratt's face everywhere and are asking him to leave some roles for the rest of Tinsel Town. Still, Meledandri's tone-deaf musings don't end here. The producer previously told TooFab, "Charlie Day, who's playing Luigi, actually comes from Italian heritage. Yeah so that's our nod." There you go, for those calling for Italian representation, you've got Day's distant family history - talk about a big win for representation. In case you can't tell, we're being sarcastic with that one.