Ever since Chris Pratt was first announced as the voice of nipple-having Nintendo hero Mario in Illumination’s upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie, pundits around the world have gathered to ask one singular, obsessive question: Is the dinosaur man going to do a big, cartoon-y Italian accent?
It’s a question that haunts any effort to bring Mario to the screen, whether it was the aggressive, live-action Brooklynisms of Bob Hoskins and Captain Lou Albano, or the aggressively faux-Mediterranean accent applied to the character by longtime Nintendo voice actor Charles Martinet, of “It’s a me!’ fame. Would Pratt follow in these verbal footsteps? Would he call anyone a “paisano,” or wax nostalgic about mama’s lasagna? Or would he just sound kind of like Chris Pratt, Regular Human Man?
Tragically, we still don’t know; Chris Pratt’s Mario Voice remains a proprietary secret, locked deep within the studio vaults. But Pratt—who’s currently doing promotion for his new Amazon series The Terminal List—has leaked a little more information about this all-important choice, including ominous assertions that his Mario voice is “updated” and “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before.”
Do you feel that, reader? That’s the crinkling, crackling sensation of raw possibility, as your mind expands infinitely at the possibility of a new, “updated” Mario voice, one that pushes the bounds of the Mushroom Kingdom, and will definitely not just be Chris Pratt talking in a slightly higher register as he goes “Hey, back off turtle breath!” to Jack Black’s Bowser. This is Updated Mario. Nu-Mario. Omega Mario. Here’s our guess, apropos of nothing: Maybe a little British? Imagine it.
Anyway, here’s the full quote, courtesy of Variety, in which Pratt also feels moved to note that he’s not going to be physically acting out Mario’s actions or wearing his clothing for this animated movie:
I worked really closely with the directors and trying out a few things and landed on something that I’m really proud of and can’t wait for people to see and hear. It’s an animated voiceover narrative. It’s not a live-action movie. I’m not gonna be wearing a plumber suit running all over. I’m providing a voice for an animated character, and it is updated and unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before.
Do we detect a slight hint of tired defensiveness from Pratt, re: how much shit he’s already getting for taking on this voice role that was probably just supposed to bankroll a few more vacations or a new kitchen? Surely not; that must be the Mario voice leaking through into the real world, the world-weariness of a trained soldier who’s been killing mushrooms and turtles for so long that he doesn’t even know how to be a simple plumber anymore, and also he’s, y’know, maybe a little British. We’re just saying!