Actor John Leguizamo, who starred as Luigi in the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros., slammed the casting of the upcoming adaptation of the film, starring Chris Pratt.
The Emmy-winning actor, 62, said he doesn’t understand the reasons for not having diversity in the cast and called the decision “backwards”.
“I’m OG. A lot of people love the original,” he told Indiewire Tuesday. “I was at Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore and everyone was like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ You don’t feel the new. I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”
The animated film The Super Mario Bros will also star Charlie Day as Luigi; Anya Taylor-Joy as “Princess Peach”; Jack Black as Bowser and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad.
“Directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard to get me to do the lead because I’m Latino and they are [the studio] didn’t want me to star,” Leguizamo told the outlet. “They fought really hard and it was such a breakthrough.”
“So that they go backwards and don’t throw another one [actor of color] kinda sucks,” he added.
Fans of the iconic video game series were upset after 43-year-old Pratt was announced as the voice of the title character.
The film’s producer, Chris Meledandri, defended the decision to cast the non-Italian Pratt as the voice of stereotypically Italian Nintendo plumber Mario.
Meledandri wanted to reassure fans that Pratt has done an excellent job as a cult figure and that skepticism will “vanish” when fans hear his voice.
“When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism evaporates. Maybe not quite — people love to speak their minds like they should,” he said.
“I’m not sure that’s the smartest defense, but as a person of Italian-American heritage, I feel like I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans… I think.” , we will be fine .”
The film was originally scheduled to hit theaters on December 1, 2022, but Nintendo’s chief designer Shigeru Miyamoto said the film will now open in spring 2023.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/17/former-luigi-star-john-leguizamo-slams-chris-pratts-super-mario-movie-casting/ Ex-Luigi star John Leguizamo slams Chris Pratt’s ‘Super Mario Movie’ casting