The Super Mario Bros Movie: Former Luigi John Leguizamo is disappointed with the casting of new film

Last Updated on November 21, 2022

John Leguizamo, Mario

John Leguizamo is outspoken when it comes to representation in Hollywood. When news broke that actor James Franco was cast as Fidel Castro in an upcoming film, Alina of Cuba, Leguizamo voiced his displeasure with a non-Latin person being put in the role. When it was announced that Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Chris Pratt was cast as Mario, people on Twitter started to post their concerns about it, and Leguizamo joined the legion of critics.

Variety reports on his disappointment with not only Pratt but also Charlie Day portraying Luigi. When Leguizamo was cast as Luigi in 1993’s Super Mario Bros, he felt he at least represented the person-of-color heritage that characterized the Italian plumbers, despite being of Latin descent and his co-star was Bob Hoskins, an Englishman.

Leguizamo explained,

“I’m O.G. A lot of people love the original. 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. 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. 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.”

Once the trailer was released, Pratt was criticized for the fact that he had hyped that his Mario voice was “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before” and, in the little snippet displayed, sounded very close to Pratt’s own voice with very little change. Jack Black was praised for his appropriately hammy but monstrous turn as Bowser; however, the jury is still out on the movie until more footage is shown.

The Super Mario Bros Movie is due to warp to movie theaters on April 7, 2023.

Source: Variety

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.