'Super Mario Bros. Movie' Co-Director Backs Chris Pratt Following Fan Criticism

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie” co-director is standing by actor Chris Pratt after criticism over how he sounds in the upcoming animated film.

Aaron Horvath told Total Film this week that casting Pratt, who voices Mario, “made total sense” to him.

Pratt has been the subject of concerns and jokes from fans on social media since the cast’s announcement two years ago.

“He’s really good at playing a blue-collar hero with a ton of heart,” said Horvath, who directs the Nintendo-themed flick along with Michael Jelenic.

“For the way that Mario is characterized in our film, he’s perfect for it.”

Horvath, who described the film as a “bit of an origin tale,” said the story examines how Mario becomes “Super Mario.” He – along with his brother Luigi – are blue-collar, Brooklyn-based plumbers from a family of Italian immigrants, according to Horvath.

“When you play the game, if you don’t give up, Mario will succeed,” Horvath explained.

“So we transferred that player experience from the game to a characteristic that [movie] Mario would have.”

Horvath’s comments come after Pratt teased that his voice was “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world” during an interview with Variety last year.

Chris Meledandri, a producer of the film and CEO of Illumination, has previously said that the film will tackle the topic of Pratt’s non-Italian accent in the movie and remarked that criticism “will evaporate, maybe not entirely” after audiences hear him.

“People love to voice opinions, as they should,” Meledandri told Deadline in 2022.

“I’m not sure this is the smartest defense, but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans... I think we’re going to be just fine.”

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