Nolen Kelly, Staff
On Thursday, Sept. 23, Nintendo Co. announced in the middle of their Nintendo Direct, a showcase of upcoming Nintendo products, they were partnering with Illumination Studios (The same people who gave us “Despicable Me,” and “Sing”) to make an animated film adaptation of their most successful franchise, The Super Mario Bros., along with a notable cast to portray their beloved characters. Since the announcement you, specifically you, have taken personal offense to the casting and it has derailed any momentum you had as a human so now you spend your days in disarray and chaos. I’m here today to offer my alternative casting solutions, as well as my own thoughts on the casting in general, to get you back to being a stable and productive human. Spoiler alert, Danny DeVito will not be in this. Just because a certain Sunshiney and Philadelphian actor is cast as a certain green hat enjoyer/plumber/ghost hunter, that doesn’t mean Danny needs to follow him.
The first place to start is Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation,” “’The Lego Movie”) as the lead, Mario, which stirred up some chatter as one of the most controversial casting choices of the past five years. I enjoy the works of Chris Pratt not named “The Tomorrow War,” but I’m just not feeling it. As of now the voice has not been released, so there is a possibility it is just his voice. Although he has a good voice, he has not really had to change his voice for any other role. Why not give the voice to someone who has an entire career of controlling a whole scene’s comedic tone just by talking in different tones, Nick Kroll (“The League” “Big Mouth”). Watch any episode of “The League ” and I dare you to tell me that Nick Kroll would not be able to take any moment from fun and silly into a chaotically manic situation. Kroll’s voice already sounds high pitched enough to match Mario’s, voiced by Charles Martinet in the video games, and his fantastic comedic timing would make this a much funnier movie than it is shaping up to be.
Speaking of high pitched comedians, Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Horrible Bosses”) as Luigi is perfect. I’m not kidding. I joked on my Instagram story, @nolenkelly, that I think Charlie’s casting is perfect and I stand by it. My favorite TV character voicing my main character in “Super Smash Ultimate” is a dream I didn’t think would be possible. Imagine the Nightman episode of “Sunny” where Charlie is in a world of darkness playing a keyboard while high on paint fumes but replace the keyboard with a vacuum sucking up ghosts in a haunted Mansion and he isn’t high. If I was forced to choose an alternative I would go with the actor who voiced Benny in “The Lego Movie.” I can’t remember what his name is. Next is Anya Taylor-Joy (“The VVitch,” “The Queen’s Gambit”) as Princess Peach. I don’t really have any complaints for her either. I think ATJ is very talented and she would, hopefully, make Princess Peach, again hopefully, feel like the least “in-distress” damsel ever, see her performance in “Split,” although “Split” is not at all comparable to an animated Princess Peach from “Super Mario Bros.” I hope they don’t actually feature ATJ as just a kidnapped princess. Alternatives? No clue, but I have been liking this recent spike of Zoë Kravitz (“Mad Max; Fury Road,” “Big Little Lies”).
Moving on from there are the villains with the big baddie daddy casting of them all, Jack Black, I mean Bowser, I mean Jack Black as Bowser. I don’t really have any complaints here either, I’m sorry. I’m not really, but if “Kung-Fu Panda,” “School of Rock” and my personal favorite, “Nacho Libre,” have taught us anything, it is that Jack is a master of his voice, his comedy and just being the most rad dude on the planet. If I had to recast him I would want to see Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad,” “Do the Right Thing”). He almost killed Walter White and now he’s voicing a dragon, must be a good life being Giancarlo. Another big bad, but good, casted name was Seth Rogen as the tie-wearing and going-on-adventures-with-his-son enthusiast, Donkey Kong. This should be interesting since Seth usually voices below average intelligence characters like B.O.B from “Monsters vs Aliens” or Allen the Alien from “Invincible.” The whole concept of “Monkey Seth Rogen” just feels so strange I can’t imagine any sane human wanting to take on the role so, I don’t know, let’s just say we all agree on Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Hangover”). That new trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” as well as his time as Rocket in the Marvel movies gives me some good ideas of what a raging monkey version of Bradley Cooper would look like.
Rounding out the smaller characters casting list are Keegan Micheal-Key (“Key and Peele,” “Keanu”) as Toad, Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” “Saturday Night Live”) as Cranky Kong, Kevin Micheal Richardson (“The Batman,” “Invincible”) as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco (“The Irishman,” “Sebastian Maniscalco; Stay Hungry”) as Foreman Spike. I am strongly in favor of KMK as Toad, solely based off the second “Substitute Teacher” skit from “Key and Peele” in which Peele says the phrase “Pray tell what is the reason for this premature exodus” and I need to hear Toad say big words like that. Fred Armisen is one of the funniest people today and will be hilarious no matter where he goes, so Cranky Kong will be a character to keep an eye out for. Kevin Micheal Richardson may not be so familiar to many people, but he is an incredibly talented voice actor that appears in almost everything ever, however his casting as Kamek is a weird one considering Kamek is a woman. As I’m writing this I’m finding out Kamek is a woman so I will be hoping for the best for KMR. Sebastian Maniscalco is a fantastic standup comedian and is maybe the most facially expressive comedian since Jim Carrey in his prime so I look forward to his time on the screen.
I think this casting so far is a really strange array of celebrities that all feel like they are from different corners of Hollywood, but I just hope it is good. Nintendo makes some top notch games, so now all they have to do is translate their flair into another form of media and make it better than passable. “Super Mario Bros.; The Movie” has been announced to hit theaters in December 2022.