Original Super Mario Bros. Movie Actor John Leguizamo Has A Specific Issue With The Animated Reboot

After a nearly three-decade absence from the big screen, the Super Mario Bros. franchise is finally getting another shot at cinematic glory. Last week, the cast of Illumination’s upcoming animated reboot was announced, with the lineup including Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach and Charlie Day as Luigi. However, John Leguizamo, who starred as Luigi opposite Bob Hoskins’ Mario in 1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, isn’t impressed with the cast that’s been assembled.

While John Leguizamo is happy that Super Mario Bros. is getting a film reboot, he criticized the upcoming movie for going “all white” and not having any Latinx leads, something which its live-action predecessor had. You can read Leguizamo’s full statement from Twitter below:

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It’s worth noting that the main cast of the animated Super Mario Bros. movie isn’t actually all white, as Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armisen and Kevin Michael Richardson are on board to play Toad, Cranky Kong and Kamek, respectively. That being said, perhaps Leguizamo takes more issue with Chris Pratt and Charlie Day playing Mario in Luigi, feeling that one or both of those roles could have been filled by a Latinx actor. As for his claim about being the “only one” who can make a Super Mario Bros. script work, now I’m curious to learn what kind of story he’d bring to life if he was in charge of the reboot, even if it’s too late to include those elements in Illumination’s take on the Super Mario Bros. mythology.

1993’s Super Mario Bros. was the first full-length movie based on a video game, and while it was primarily met with negative critical reception when it was originally released, it’s gained a cult following in the years since then. Clearly John Leguizamo feels the movie deserves a warmer status judging by those pictures in his tweet. Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins were joined in Super Mario Bros. by Dennis Hooper as King Koopa, Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy, Fisher Stevens as Iggy and Richard Edson as Spike, among others.

Along with the previously-mentioned actors, the animated Super Mario Bros. movie’s cast also includes Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Sebastian Maniscalco as Foreman Spike, while Charles Martinet, who’s voiced Mario, Luigi, Wario and various other characters in this Nintendo franchise for decades, will appear in “surprise cameos.” Behind the scenes, Teen Titans! Go To the Movies duo Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic are directing Super Mario Bros. off a script written by Minions: The Rise of Gru’s Matthew Fogel. The reboot was officially announced back in late 2017, and production began in September 2020.

Super Mario Bros. is slated to hit North American theaters on December 21, 2022, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on how it’s coming along. You can discover what other movies will arrive next year with our 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.