Pratt and a collection of comedy icons star in Nintendo’s return to movie screens.

Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment have kept a pretty tight lid on the production of their upcoming Super Mario Bros. CG animated movie, but the simple fact that Nintendo is willing to let its brightest video star return to the cinematic world after the disastrous 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film is a big deal in and of itself. During the latest Nintendo Direct online announcement event, though, Nintendo gave its first details regarding the cast of characters and their voice actors, and it turns out the new Mario movie is going to have some legitimate star power behind it.

The details came courtesy of Mario creator and game designer Shigeuru Miyamoto. While it was a given that Mario himself if going to be the protagonist, Miyamoto revealed that the leading man will be voiced by Chris Pratt.

While no clips of Pratt’s performance for the film have been made available, it feels like a safe bet that he’ll be speaking in a lower register than the squeaky voice Mario has in his video games. Miyamoto says, though, that “Mario will be talking a lot in the movie,” and while the character’s high-pitched whoops and wails make for great punctuation to on-screen video game action, they probably wouldn’t be as charming to listen to for the long stretches of dialogue required for a narrative movie (when Mario does speak in the games, it’s rare for him to say sentences even as long as “So long, Bowser!”). There’s a risk that Pratt’s fame as a major Hollywood star will outshine the character he’s playing, but on the other hand, he’s proven himself skilled at bringing a sense of warmth to both comedic and action roles, and a fun, positive-attitude adventure is no doubt what Mario fans are hoping for in the movie, so there’s a lot to like about the choice.

The appearance of Peach, Luigi, and Bowser in the movie was also a forgone conclusion, and those roles will be played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, and Jack Black. Miyamoto makes a point of describing Luigi as Mario’s “timid sibling,” so anyone dissatisfied with his slacker characterization from the 1993 movie can put their mind at ease.

Members of the supporting cast will include Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, Bowser’s sorcerer henchman. In addition, the movie will be drawing from Nintendo’s Donkey Kong and Wrecking Crew franchises, with Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike (but you already knew about that last one, right?).

And for any source material-loyalists who are sad to hear that Mario’s in-game voice actor, Charles Martinet, won’t be reprising his role, Miyamoto mentioned that he still will be making “surprise cameos” in the movie.

▼ In addition to Mario and Luigi, Martinet has voiced Wario, Waluigi, and Baby Mario in the games, so maybe we’ll see them in the movie too.

▼ Miyamoto making the announcements

As for how heavily involved Miyamoto is in the movie-making process, he describes it as “a very collaborative project between Illumination and Nintendo” and says that he’s “enjoying a creative process that is a little bit different from making games.” Fans will get to see the results of that teamwork on December 21, 2022, when the Super Mario movie debuts in North America.

Source: YouTube/Nintendo via Hachima Kiko
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