John Leguizamo claims people are not feeling the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. movie and even goes as far as praising his outing.
Yes, for those who don’t remember, Leguizamo starred as Luigi in the 1993 live-action film opposite Bob Hoskins’ Mario. While it was a bomb at the time of release, some fans have come around to its madness and appreciate it.
The actor spoke to IndieWire and said people are coming up to him and saying they aren’t “feeling the new one” and miss his original wacky film.
“I’m O.G. A lot of people love the original. I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone’s like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ They’re not feeling the new one,” Leguizamo tells IndieWire in a recent interview. “I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”
Leguizamo stresses the importance of representation in films and calls out the ‘backward’ approach the film takes to handling its roles.
“The directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to be the lead. The actor said they fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. He adds, “For them to go backward and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks.”
Charlie Day will voice Luigi in the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. film. Neither Day nor Leguizamo are Italian.
There’s also been much discussion about Chris Pratt’s voice acting for Mario, with some fans upset about his performance’s lack of an authentic accent or creative choices. Some have even gone as far as it says it could be deemed offensive not to do an Italian accent.
Speaking to Deadline, Producer and Illumination Studios founder and CEO Chris Meledandri says he’s not worried about backlash.
“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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You can see Leguizamo starring alongside another Super Mario Bros. voice actor Anya Taylor-Joy in The Menu [read our review], and he’s also appearing as the main villain in the upcoming Christmas action film Violent Night.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is set for release next April. You can watch the latest trailer here.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) and written by Matthew Fogel (Minions: The Rise of Gru).
Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie bounces off mushrooms and into cinemas on April 7th, 2023.