Cheech Marin Almost Played Mario In The Super Mario Bros Movie

Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Super Mario Bros. movie is one of the most infamous attempts to adapt a video game for the screen. Over 20 years after the fact, we learn that the movie almost had a very different leading actor. It turns out that instead of casting Bob Hoskins in the lead role, the part of classic video game plumber Mario could have gone to Cheech Marin. In a discussion of all of the various roles that Marin and his longtime partner Tommy Chong said "no" to over the years, Marin revealed he almost played the popular video game character. According to the actor...

I turned down a few video games when they were first starting out. They wanted me to be this character and it turned out the character they were asking me to be was Mario of the Mario Bros.

At first glance, it may seem slightly bizarre to cast Cheech Marin as a character named Mario, who has always been portrayed to be as Italian as his name implies. Then, of course, one realizes that the actual Super Mario Bros. movie ended up casting John Leguizamo as Mario's brother Luigi, and all of the sudden casting Marin makes a lot more sense, at least for that movie. Cheech tells Forbes that the reason the studio was apparently interested in casting him was that Mario 's most iconic feature was his mustache, and Marin, it must be admitted, is capable of one impressive mustache himself.

Cheech Marin

Cheech Marin doesn't go into detail about why he turned the role down, though odds are he's glad he did. The movie is utterly terrible and Bob Hoskins, who was the man who eventually took the role that Cheech Marin passed on, called it the worst thing he ever did. It has little to do with the actual Super Mario Bros. video game beyond the names of the characters and everything about it is just ridiculous, especially Dennis Hopper as King Koopa. Somehow the idea that Cheech Marin could have been cast solely because of a mustache doesn't seem like the craziest thing that could have happened during the production of this movie.

We all hope the second time will be the charm as Nintendo recently closed a deal with Illumination Entertainment to make an animated Mario Bros. movie at some point down the road. At least with an animated movie over the top performances will feel more at home and roles don't need to be cast solely based on facial hair.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.