Side by side image of Chris Pratt and Mario
Image Credits: Chris Pratt | Getty Images (left), ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ trailer | Illumination (right)

Looks like Chris Pratt is going to need a Super Mushroom power-up or two to make it through the press cycle for The Super Mario Bros. Movie because the animated film’s still a month away from release and Nintendo fans are not letting him off easy.

It all started back in September 2021 when the gaming company announced the voice cast for the big-screen adaptation of their beloved characters.

As far as animated blockbusters go, it’s a typically star-studded ensemble, featuring a mix of buzzy names (everyone from Jack Black to Anya Taylor-Joy) designed to excite the broadest audience possible.

Notably, these characters—who have appeared in countless Super Mario games, as well as Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and many more franchises—all have pretty iconic voices already, despite largely communicating through catchphrases and brief exclamations during gameplay.

In other words, there were always going to be some creative liberties taken in bringing them to a narrative feature.

But folks were especially heated when it was revealed that Pratt would be voicing Mario, the mustachioed Italian plumber and hero to the Mushroom Kingdom.

Sure, Pratt’s not Italian, but it’s more that he doesn’t sound anything like the Mario we’ve all come to know and love. Fans took umbrage with that, especially because another actor—by the name of Charles Martinet—has been voicing the character in various games and spin-offs for 30 years now. Surely he was available!

Things only got worse when the first trailers and clips for The Super Mario Bros. Movie dropped and this version of Mario sounded an awful lot like… well, he sounds just like Chris Pratt, funny enough.

But it’s not just video game sticklers obsessed with sticking to the canon upset with the casting. There’s also a pretty vocal sub-section of the internet that could be considered “anti-Chris Pratt”—and for good reason, too!

The actor has famously been a member of the Hillsong Church, a celebrity-courting megachurch known for being anti-LGBTQ+. And, no matter how much he may try to publicly preach about love and acceptance, there’s the fact that Pratt follows (or at least has previously followed) right-wing extremists like Ben Shapiro, Tucker Carlson, and even the antigay hate group Turning Points USA on social media.

It’s no wonder he has been dubbed “The least favorite Chris in Hollywood.”

So, as press for The Super Mario Bros. Movie ramps up in advance of its April 5 release, the amount of folks speaking out against Pratt has reached a fever pitch. So much so that the filmmakers felt compelled to step in and say something.

In conversation with Total Film magazine, co-directors Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath defended the decision to cast Pratt: “For us, it made total sense,” says Horvath.

As the directing duo explains, the movie’s idea was to tell the “origin tale” of how an everyman—who happens to be a Brooklyn plumber forma family of Italian immigrants—becomes “Super Mario,” the guy would go on to save the Mushroom Kingdom countless times over.

So, therefore, they wanted Pratt because, “he’s really good at playing a blue-collar hero with a ton of heart,” Horvath adds. “For the way that Mario is characterized in our film, he’s perfect for it.”

But the thing is, to a lot of people, Pratt’s not that hero with a ton of heart—far from it, actually, especially if you consider all of the hate-spewing conservatives he chooses to follow online. That doesn’t feel very heroic to us!

Of course, there’s nothing that can be done now—the movie’s in the can and will be hitting theaters before you know it. In the meantime, leave it to the internet to continue pointing out why Pratt should not have this role.

We’ll leave you with this fan edit of Pratt and his Super Mario co-stars’ recent visit to The Kelly Clarkson show, which dutifully underlines just how little the actor seems to understand about this iconic character and these beloved games:

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