Movies based on video games have had a difficult time with success and that was only more true decades ago. The first time Hollywood tried to make a movie about the most famous video game character ever, Nintendo's Mario, it did not go well. Nintendo has been especially gun-shy about letting its characters become movies since then. However, back in 2017 it was announced that Illumination Entertainment had entered into a new deal with Nintendo to turn the Super Mario Bros. into an animated film, and yesterday we learned who the primary voice cast will be. It includes Chris Pratt as the title character, but fans are already looking to recast him with Danny DeVito.
The choice of Chris Pratt to voice a character who usually has a heavy Italian accent, when he speaks at all, is an obviously unusual choice. It's just not the sort of voice one expects from Pratt. On the flip side, one could imagine say, Danny DeVito voicing the Italian plumber from Brooklyn, with DeVito himself being an actor of Italian decent from New Jersey. And while the movie will be animated, and so the actor's look is hardly important, DeVito could clearly play Mario in a live-action movie, which makes him feel even more right for the role.
But there are other reasons why Danny DeVito could have been the perfect choice to play Mario in a Super Mario Bros. movie. Among the other cast announcements for the new film is that Charlie Day will voice Mario's brother Luigi, and so many fans felt that it would only make sense to cast Day's It's Always Sunny co-star opposite him. The two clearly have great chemistry and would likely be great together.
What makes this apparent miscasting all the more frustrating is that it is at least the second time that fans have felt Danny DeVito was overlooked to voice a video game character. Back when the Detective Pikachu video game was being localized for the English language market, there was a fan campaign to get Danny DeVito to voice the tiny yellow Pokemon. The fan campaign failed, though it seemed to succeed in getting DeVito considered as a potential voice for the character when the game was translated into the Detective Pikachu movie, though ultimately the gig went to Ryan Reynolds.
But maybe there's still hope? While Danny DeVito may not be voicing Mario, there's still the possibility he could become part of the franchise. Mario does have an evil opposite character, Wario, and whether Wario is going to appear in the new movie, or some potential sequel, maybe DeVito could be cast then?
While I'll agree with many that Chris Pratt feels like an odd choice to voice Mario, since we haven't seen a frame of the film, it's clearly too early to tell. I'll wait and see how it all turns out. Maybe Chris Pratt is actually the perfect choice. But I think we can all agree that Danny DeVito could have been great as well.
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