Chris Pratt playing Super Mario may prove the Nintendo character is not Japanese after all

Mario film

Nintendo game director Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the “Super Mario Bros.” games, made a surprise appearance during the Nintendo Direct on Thursday to give details on an upcoming animated Mario movie.

It’s-a movie: Actor Chris Pratt, star of blockbuster franchises “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” has been tapped to voice Mario in the still-untitled project from Nintendo and animation studio Illumination, which animated “Despicable Me” and “Minions,” Kotaku reported.

  • Set to hit theaters in the U.S. on Dec. 21, 2022, the film also stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong. 
  • Kevin Michael Richardson and Sebastian Maniscalco will be joining the star-studded cast as Kamek and Spike, respectively.
  • Miyamoto revealed that Charles Martinet, who has been voicing Mario in Nintendo’s video games for over 30 years, will make a surprise cameo in the film.
  • Miyamoto will serve as a producer, while Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (“Teen Titans Go!” and “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies”) will direct the film with a script penned by Matthew Fogel (“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru”), according to The Verge.

Mario’s ethnicity: In a 2010 interview with USA Today, Miyamoto said he designed characters with Western-type features because he liked foreign comics as a child.

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  • “With Mario, I think with Mario Bros., we had a setting… that was underground, so I just decided Mario is a plumber,” he was quoted as saying. “Let’s put him in New York and he can be Italian. There was really no other deep thought other than that.”
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) engineer Masayuki Uemura would later claim that Mario’s ethnicity is Japanese but was intentionally made ambiguous when the character was created, NextShark previously reported.
  • “‘Super Mario Bros.’ isn’t set in Japan, but the character’s Japanese. The name Mario sounds Italian, but he isn’t Italian. They were really able to capture that ambiguity,” Uemura said.
  • In the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” film, loosely based on the video game series, actors Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo played Mario and Luigi, respectively.

The new film, which was originally announced back in 2018, has reportedly been in development for years. Details about the film’s plot have not yet been revealed.

Featured Image via The Graham Norton Show (left), ProsafiaGaming (right)

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