'Super Mario' Producer Defends Casting Chris Pratt in the Movie

Addressing fans' worry over the 'Jurassic World' actor's take on the plumber's Italian accent, Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri says he understands the criticism but claims that Pratt's Mario voice 'is phenomenal.'

AceShowbiz - One of "Super Mario Bros: The Movie" producers has spoken up to assure fans that they did the right thing by casting Chris Pratt in the lead role for the feature film adaptation. Addressing fans' worry over the actor's take on the fictional plumber's Italian accent, Chris Meledandri claimed that the "Parks and Recreation" alum's Mario voice "is phenomenal."

"All I can tell you is the voice that he's doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal," Meledandri told TooFab when met upon a recent return to LAX. "Yeah I can't wait for people to hear it."

As an Italian-American himself, the founder and CEO of Illumination said he understands the fear. "Well, as an Italian American myself, I understand," he conceded. "You know, I understand the comments."

Meledandri added that the accent issue would be a self-referential joke within the film, teasing, "We cover it in the movie. So you'll see we definitely nod to that." He also pointed out, "Charlie Day, who's playing Luigi, actually comes from Italian heritage. Yeah so that's our nod."

The 62-year-old, who produced hit animated film franchises such as "Despicable Me", "Ice Age", "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Sing", went on promising that Pratt would not be leaning too heavily into the "It's a-me, Mario!" He explained, "That's not the tenor of the performance throughout the film."

Telling people to give it a chance, Meledandri believes critics will not be coming to cancel the movie once they actually see it. "I don't think so. I think they'll have to [see it]," he stated. "I don't think so."

Pratt's casting in the "Super Mario" movie was announced back in September. In addition to him and Day who will be voicing the titular siblings, Mario and Luigi, respectively, the voice cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as supervillain Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Keegan-Michael Key as tiny sidekick Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.

Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic are on board as directors, with the script provided by Matthew Fogel. The movie is set for a December 21, 2022 release in the United States.

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