Producer defends casting Chris Pratt as Mario

Producer defends casting Chris Pratt as Mario

The producer of the new 'Super Mario Bros.' movie has defended the decision to cast Chris Pratt as Mario.

The 42-year-old actor will lead the cast of the upcoming animated flick by playing the iconic video game character – although the decision not to cast an Italian for the role was met with a backlash, something that Illumination founder Chris Meledandri accepts.

The producer told TooFab: "Well, as an Italian American myself, I understand. You know, I understand the comments."

Meledandri added that the movie does include a "nod" to Mario's homeland as Charlie Day, who will play the role of Luigi, "actually comes from Italian heritage".

The producer also praised Pratt's version of Mario and suggested that the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' star has put in a "phenomenal" performance as the Nintendo plumber in the film, which is slated for release in 2022.

Meledandri said: "All I can tell you is the voice that he's doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal... Yeah I can't wait for people to hear it."

The producer also revealed that Chris would not be uttering the character's 'It's a-me, Mario' catchphrase during the movie.

Meledandri explained: "That's not the tenor of the performance throughout the film."

He also hinted that the accent issue will be referred to with a joke in the movie, that will also feature Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach.

Chris said: "We cover it in the movie. So you'll see we definitely nod to that."

The producer insists that critics will not be coming to cancel Mario when they watch the flick.

He remarked: "I don't think so. I think they'll have to (see it). I don't think so."