Chris Pratt‘s Italian accent for the upcoming Super Mario film will not be offensive, producer Chris Meledandri has claimed.
The casting of Pratt as Mario and Charlie Day as Luigi was instantly met by criticism from fans, given that neither actor is Italian. But Meledandri has since attempted to quell those concerns.
“We are collaborating with Chris and his experienced team to not just create a character-licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings Super Mario Bros. to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game,” the producer said during the CineEurope convention in Barcelona [via Deadline].
“When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely – people love to voice opinions, as they should.”
“I’m not sure this is the smartest defence, but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans…I think we’re going to be just fine.”
Meledandri went on to say that the upcoming Nintendo game adaptation is “unlike any film Illumination has made to date.”
This isn’t the first time the producer has defended Pratt’s casting in the film, having previously described his voice for the character as “phenomenal”.
On working with Universal and Illumination, Nintendo representative director Shigeru Miyamoto stated: “The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other.
“We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen.”
The animation, which also stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, recently had its release date pushed back to April 7, 2023, having originally aimed for a December 2022 premiere.