Aaron Horvath, co-director of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” stands by actor Chris Pratt Mario despite criticism over his voice in the upcoming animated film.
Horvath told Total Film this week that casting Pratt as Mario “made perfect sense” to him.
Since his casting announcement two years ago, Pratt has been the focus of both fan concern and humor on social media platforms.
Horvath, who directs the Nintendo-themed flick alongside Michael Jelenic, said of Horvath: “He’s really good at playing a blue-collar hero with lots of heart.”
“Mario is perfectly portrayed in our film”
Horvath, who described the film as a “bit of an origin tale,” explained that the plot follows how Mario becomes “Super Mario.” He and his brother Luigi are blue-collar plumbers from Brooklyn from Italian immigrant families, according to Horvath.
“When playing the game, if you keep trying until victory,” Horvath noted, “that player experience is transferred into something that [movie Mario] would possess.”
Horvath’s remarks follow on the heels of Pratt’s suggestion that his voice was “unique in the Mario world” during an interview with Variety last year.
Chris Pratt Mario Meledandri, CEO of Illumination, previously confirmed that the film will address Pratt’s non-Italian accent and that any criticism “may evaporate, maybe not entirely” after audiences hear him speak.
“People enjoy sharing their opinions,” Meledandri told Deadline in 2022.
“I’m not sure this is the smartest strategy,” he said, “but as someone with Italian-American heritage, I feel free to make that decision without offending Italians or Italian-Americans… I think we’ll do just fine.”