A new movie featuring the Nintendo video game character Mario has been in the works for a few years now. The yet to be released movie is already making headlines. And not just because people want to see Nintendo’s beloved Mario character on the big screen.
There have been some rumblings on social media about the decision to cast Chris Pratt in the role of Mario. As is pointed out by those who have an issue with Pratt, he isn’t Italian. The Mario character is a stereotypical Italian plumber.
Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri is out getting in front of the potential controversy.
The ‘Despicable Me’ producer was onstage at the opening day of CineEurope
Earlier this week, the Despicable Me producer was onstage at the opening day of CineEurope in Barcelona. Prior to discussing Pratt’s role as Mario, he spoke about social media and the creative process.
“The minute you start using the point of view of Twitter or the point of view of every single culture, no matter how intolerant they are, to guide your creative expression, I think you’re on a very slippery slope — not only morally but creatively. It’s impossible to protect the creative process and still be trying to figure out how to thread a needle that’s never going to offend anybody.”
Meledandri thinks Pratt’s performance will speak for itself
Meledandri seemed to then tie in his comments on social media with Pratt being cast as Mario. He thinks Pratt’s performance will speak for itself. Given his own heritage he’s not worried about offending Italians.
“When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely — people love to voice opinions, as they should.”
He continued, “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.”
According to Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the upcoming Super Mario movie, will be released in early Spring 2023. He is a Nintendo representative director, who is working closely with the animation studio as a producer on the movie.