John Leguizamo, who starred as Luigi in the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film, has criticised the upcoming reboot for its ‘all white’ casting.
Mario and Luigi’s return to the big screen was announced by Nintendo last week during its Nintendo Direct presentation, where it was revealed Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt would be in the starring role of Mario.
Set to be released in the US in December 2022, Pratt will be joined in an all-star cast made up of Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike).
According to BBC News, the producers of the film have said each voice actor was ‘cast for their ability to capture the unique spirit’ of each of the iconic Nintendo characters, however, Leguizamo has expressed his disappointment in the choices.
In a post shared on Twitter this week, the actor noted he was ‘so glad’ the ‘iconic’ film was getting a reboot but said it was ‘too bad [the creators] went all white’.
He continued: ‘No Latinx in the leads! Groundbreaking color-blind casting in original! Plus I’m the only one who knows how to make this movie work script wise!’
Leguizamo starred alongside Bob Hoskins in the 1993 live-action film which saw Mario and Luigi, two Brooklyn plumbers, have to travel to another dimension to rescue a princess from the evil dictator King Koopa.
Despite its inspiration coming from some of the world’s most beloved video game characters, sadly the film did not prove to be a hit with viewers and currently has an audience score of just 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, who created Mario and who will produce the new film, said in a statement the creators hope to deliver ‘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.’
Following the announcement of the reboot, Pratt expressed his delight at taking on the role of Mario as he recalled playing the original Super Mario Bros. game as a child, saying: ‘dreams come true’.
Day, the voice of Luigi, does not appear to have spoken publicly about the casting at the time of writing, but is known for his roles in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Horrible Bosses.
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