Former Luigi Actor John Leguizamo Says Chris Pratt’s Super Mario Movie Has ‘Backwards’ Casting: ‘It Kind of Sucks’

John Leguizamo is a bit critical of Universal and Illumination’s upcoming animated film “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which stars Chris Pratt and Charlie Day as Mario and Luigi, respectively. Leguizamo, who brought Luigi to life opposite Bob Hoskins’ Mario in 1993’s live-action “Super Mario Bros.,” told IndieWire the new film went “backwards” by having two white actors voice Mario and Luigi.

“I’m O.G. A lot of people love the original,” Leguizamo said when asked for his thoughts on the Chris Pratt-starring new Mario movie. “I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone’s like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ They’re not feeling the new one.’ I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”

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“The directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to be the lead,” the actor added. “They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks.”

Pratt’s casting as Mario in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been controversial ever since the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World” actor joined the movie. Pratt told Variety ahead of the film’s trailer debut that his Mario voice was “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before,” but the the trailer left many fans baffled as Pratt just sounds like himself, more or less. Pratt said he “worked really closely with the directors” to craft the perfect Mario voice, adding, “[We tried] out a few things and landed on something that I’m really proud of.”

Leguizamo first spoke out against the new movie on Twitter in October, writing that a Mario movie reboot was a good idea but it was “too bad they went all white! No Latinx in the leads! Groundbreaking color-blind casting in original! Plus I’m the only one who knows how to make this movie work script-wise!’

In addition to Pratt and Day, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” also stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” opens in theaters April 7, 2023.

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