"And you know what, in all honestly, I think you probably need to watch it twice," the voice actor behind Nintendo's beloved character shared
Chris Pratt has a message for those upset about his lack of an Italian accent in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie.
In a recent interview with Extra, the man behind the movie's titular role encouraged fans of the franchise to "go watch the movie, and then we can talk."
"I really think that once you see the movie...," Pratt, 43, said before changing his thought. "And you know what, in all honestly, I think you probably need to watch it twice."
Pratt's comments come after complaints from some viewers — as well as actor John Leguizamo, who played Luigi in the 1993 theatrical iteration of the gaming franchise — about the actor's casting in the upcoming film from Illumination. As Pratt now explains, he knows the Super Mario/Nintendo universe has a "passionate fanbase."
"I understand, I'm part of it," he told Extra. "This is the soundtrack to your youth. You don't want someone to come along and cynically kind of destroy it as a cash-grab with the movie. I fully understand that. You do not want that to happen. There were so many hearts and souls in mind dedicated to making sure that didn't happen."
Pratt continued, adding that the film — based on the franchise that launched with the 1983 arcade classic Mario Bros. and later the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System game Super Mario Bros. — "honors the world of Mario."
"[Its] very promising as to what we can expect over the next 10 years — an entire universe of these types of movies. They're super nostalgic, they're really fun," Pratt shared. "It's Illumination, so they know what they're doing. And it's great because, especially for me now that I have kids, I have to see every animated movie whether it's good or not, so I'm really grateful when a great animated movie comes out. And that's what this is, thankfully. And hopefully, there'll be more."
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Back in November, Leguizamo, 62, — who played Luigi opposite of Bob Hoskins in the live-action film — told IndieWire that the casting of Pratt was "unfortunate" after his "breakthrough" representation in the '90s.
"The directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and [the studio] didn't want me to be the lead. They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough," The Menu actor said. "For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks."
He added, "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. I'm not bitter. It's unfortunate."
In recent weeks, The Super Mario Bros. Movie cast has been hot on a promotional run for the forthcoming film. During an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show in March, Jack Black (who voices Bowser in the film) had a hilarious apparent miscommunication with his cast mates.
"I'm not going out there," Black said to Clarkson, who tracked down the actor, after finding him dressed as the villainous Bowser backstage. "Everybody said we're going to get dressed in costumes, and I'm the only stupid guy that got dressed in a costume, and I'm not going out there now."
"I think it was like a really funny trick they played on me, like we're all gonna get dressed in character and then they didn't, and I can't get it off now 'cause like someone put superglue in there," he said.
Black then turned to Key and said: "I am so mad at you!"
While Pratt and Day star as Mario and Luigi, and Key plays Toad, the movie also features Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in theaters Wednesday.
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