Makers of the planned Super Mario Bros. movie have made a quick switch in its lead voice actor following a backlash against their original choice.
Gaming and media company Nintendo this week announced plans for an animated movie starring US actors Chris Pratt as Mario, Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach.
Nintendo said the film was expected to be released in 2022.
But the choice of its voice stars soon drew criticism on the grounds that none had Italian heritage.
Criticism of the selections soon went viral on a variety of social media platforms with many posters claiming Pratt and his fellow American stars would be resorting to using fake and ethically insulting Italian accents.
In response Nintendo soon issue a follow-up statement saying Pratt had been dropped from the project and instead 84-year-old former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi would be assuming the lead voice role. (main picture)
My sources in Hollywood tell me Nintendo is also planning other changes and is actively seeking out others with genuine Italian heritage to take over the other lead roles.
“Berlusconi is just the first to be announced as a replacement for the Super Mario movie cast,” an insider told me.
“He’s already very excited about the role and is practising his lines at his villa in Sardinia.
“The ex-PM readily agreed to take on the role with only one condition. He has insisted that Marion’s catchphrase ‘Oh yeah! Mario time!’ be replaced with ‘Oh yea! Bunga bunga time!’.
“Producers are still in negotiations with him over that,” my source said.