Speed Reads

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Nintendo unveils a wild cast list for the Super Mario Bros. movie — including Chris Pratt as Mario

It's-a-me, Chris Pratt — believe it or not. 

Nintendo on Thursday announced the cast for its upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. movie, and to say there were some unexpected choices in the mix would be an understatement. For one, Pratt was cast in the lead role of the titular Italian plumber, and YouTuber Ted Nivison summed up the general reaction by dubbing this the "strangest thing I've ever heard in my entire life." During a live stream, Nintendo game director Shigeru Miyamoto described Pratt as "so cool" and "very talented," promising, "Mario will be talking a lot in the movie." 

Anya Taylor-Joy will also be voicing Peach, while Charlie Day will voice Luigi, Jack Black will voice Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key will voice Toad, Seth Rogen will voice Donkey Kong, and Fred Armisen will voice Cranky Kong. Kevin Michael Richardson is also voicing Kamek, Sebastian Maniscalco is voicing Spike, and Nintendo also announced there will be "surprise cameos from" Charles Martinet, who voices Mario in the games — meaning, well, it's no longer exactly a surprise. The movie, which comes from the studio behind Despicable Me, is hitting theaters in December 2022, nearly 30 years after the widely-panned 1993 live-action film starring Bob Hoskins as Mario. 

The reactions to the cast list were, let's just say, quite strong, particularly over the surprising pick of Pratt as Mario. "This is discrimination against Italian-Americans," tweeted The Atlantic writer Amanda Mull, while Thrillist's Esther Zuckerman asked the question on everyone's mind: "Is Chris Pratt gonna ... do the voice????" 

Based on the online reception, the film's teaser poster consisting of nothing but the cast list followed by a question mark block was certainly appropriate.