"It's-a me, Mario," says Chris Pratt, the voice of Mario in Nintendo and Illumination's Super Mario Bros. movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy and The LEGO Movie star will voice the plucky plumber and Nintendo mascot in the animated feature film co-produced by Universal Pictures and Nintendo, a role that Pratt says is a "dream come true" in a video breaking his silence on the star-studded voice cast first announced during a Nintendo Direct livestream. See Pratt's reaction to the Super Mario Bros. cast reveal in the video below.
"There was this coin-operated laundromat near my house, and it had Super Mario Bros., the original arcade game. I loved that game," Pratt says in the video published to Instagram. Because he "never had a quarter, it felt like," Pratt would steal quarters out of a wishing fountain.
"The quarter I stole out of the wishing well to play Super Mario Bros. has come true that I get to be the voice of Mario, but I clearly stole someone else's wish. So just waiting for that row of karma dominoes to come crashing down on me," quipped Pratt, "but as it is right now, it's-a me, Mario."
After doing an impression of the character's catchphrase and Italian accent, Pratt said, "That's not the voice. You'll have to wait to hear the voice."
"We've been working hard at it," continued Pratt of Illumination and Nintendo, "and I'm really excited to announce that I'm going to be the voice of that video game that I dreamed about playing as a kid. Dreams come true."
Actors joining Pratt include Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen's Gambit) as Princess Peach, Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Mario's brother Luigi, Jack Black (Jumanji: The Next Level) as bad guy Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele) as Toad, Seth Rogen (Kung Fu Panda) as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson (The Simpsons) as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco (The Irishman) as Spike.
Mario's primary voice actor Charles Martinet, who has voiced the iconic video game character more than 100 times since the early 1990s, will make "surprise cameos" in the movie now set to release in theaters on December 21, 2022. Each actor announced Thursday was cast "for their ability to capture the unique spirit of their character," the two companies said in a press release.
Chris Meledandri of Illumination and Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo produce the film from directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies) and screenwriter Matthew Fogel (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Illumination's upcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru).
"Mario and Luigi are two of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture, and we are honored to have the unique opportunity to work so closely with Shigeru Miyamoto and the widely imaginative team at Nintendo to bring these characters to life in an animated movie, unlike any film Illumination has made to date," Meledandri said in a statement.
Said Miyamoto, "We are collaborating with Chris and his experienced team to not just create a character licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings Super Mario Bros. to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game."
Illumination and Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. opens on December 21, 2022.