John Leguizamo, who starred as Luigi in the original Super Mario Bros movie, has criticized the “backwards” casting of Chris Pratt and Charlie Day in the new film.
Nearly 30 years ago, Mario and Luigi made their big-screen debut in the form of Bob Hoskins and Leguizamo in the infamous Super Mario Bros, now held affectionately as a bonkers cult classic.
Nintendo’s beloved mascot will return to cinemas next year, marking a collaboration between the gaming studio and Despicable Me’s Illumination, with Pratt playing the iconic plumber alongside Day as Luigi, with neither actor being of Italian descent.
After initially calling out the “all-white” casting, Leguizamo has continued to slam the new movie.
John Leguizamo says Super Mario Bros casting “sucks”
In a new interview with IndieWire ahead of the release of The Menu, in which he stars alongside Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s been cast as Princess Peach in the Super Mario Bros movie, Leguizamo criticized its non-diverse casting.
“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. I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.
“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.
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“They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks.”
In a tweet a few weeks before the first Super Mario Bros trailer was released, Leguizamo wrote: “So glad #superMariobros is getting a reboot! Obviously it’s iconic enuff.
“But too bad they went all white! 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!”
You can find out more about the Super Mario Bros movie here. The Menu hits cinemas tomorrow, November 18.