Chris Pratt is Mario and Jack Black is Bowser in the Super Mario movie

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Nintendo has announced the star-studded cast of the upcoming animated Super Mario movie, with quite a few surprises in the mix. The film is set to release in cinemas in late 2022.

The biggest surprise might be that Chris Pratt is in line to play Mario, immediately showing the budget that the film is working with by signing the star of Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World and (perhaps most relevant for an animated production) The LEGO Movie.

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Alongside him, Anya Taylor-Joy of Queen’s Gambit fame will be Princess Peach, while Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Charlie Day will be Luigi, Jack Black will be Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key will play Toad and Seth Rogen with be thumping his chest as Donkey Kong.

Chris Pratt Mario Movie

The film will also branch out from this core set of characters to also feature Kamek played by Kevin Michael Richardson, Spike by Sebastian Maniscalco and Cranky Kong by Fred Armisen.

In a nice touch, Charles Martinet, the iconic voice of Mario in the video games, will get some cameos in the film, but the production will likely be quite a few steps removed from the kind of barely voiced action you find in the Mario video games. Expect to hear Chris Pratt’s voice a lot.

The Super Mario movie was first announced all the way back in 2018, and is in production at Illumination, the animation house most famous for the Despicable Me and Minions movie franchise. Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto is a co-producer on the film, saying that he’s enjoying the rather different creative process behind making movies.

It’s the first time in a long, long while that Nintendo has sought to bring their properties to non-gaming screens, with the company often seen as being very protective of their IPs – understandable after the frankly bizarre Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993 that starred Bob Hoskins as Mario in a live action… adaptation. Perhaps more accurately, they’re secretive and demand absolute control, with rumours that they had green lit some works with Netflix, but backed out as soon as they were leaked.

The Super Mario movie will hope to follow in the footsteps of the hit Detective Pikachu movie that delighted fans of the Pokémon franchise when it released in 2019. It was a huge box office hit and showed Nintendo (via The Pokémon company) what modern animations and adaptations can achieve.

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