"Anti-Italian": Chris Pratt to voice Mario in Super Mario Bros. and the internet is not amused

Fans are unhappy about Chris Pratt is set to voice Mario (Image via Nintedo/Illumination Studios)
Fans are unhappy about Chris Pratt voicing Mario (Image via Nintedo/Illumination Studios)

On September 24, Illumination studios announced that Chris Pratt would voice Mario in their upcoming film with Nintendo based on the titular video game character. Charlie Day and Anya-Taylor Joy are set to voice Mario's brother Luigi and Princess Peach respectively.

However, after Nintendo and Illumination announced the casting news, several iconic video game character fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure. Many Italians also expressed their chagrin over Pratt, who has no Italian ancestry, voicing the character. Multiple tweets also showcased grief over Mario not being voiced by someone of Italian descent, like Danny DeVito.

Why is Chris Pratt voicing Mario proving controversial?

"Whitewashing" is a term coined for Hollywood's tendency to give white actors roles of characters belonging to other ethnicities. The most prominent recent example of this being Ghost in the Shell (2016), where the iconic character of Major was played by Scarlett Johansson, who is not of Japanese descent.

According to reports, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt has Norwegian ancestry from his mother's side, while his father is of English, German, Swiss, and French-Canadian descent.

When is the new film about Mario set to be released?

While the film's title has yet to be confirmed, it's slated for release on December 21, 2022. According to IMDb, though, the title of the animated movie is expected to be Super Mario Bros: The Movie.

Other characters include Bowser (Jack Black), Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen). The voice cast also includes Kevin Michael Richardson, Sebastian Maniscalco, and a cameo from Charles Martinet, who voiced Mario in the original Super Mario video games series since the nineties.

The movie is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, both of Emmy-nominated Teen Titans Go! fame. Super Mario Bros: The Movie will be produced by Christopher Meledandri (Despicable Me) and Shigeru Miyamoto, the game director at Nintendo renowned for creating iconic characters such as Mario and Zelda.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee