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Seth Rogen Joins a Varied Voice Cast as Donkey Kong in Upcoming Super Mario Adaptation

It’s-a here! Following the initial 2017 announcement that the studio responsible for the Despicable Me franchise, Illumination Entertainment, are making an animated adaptation of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros., the voice cast has finally been announced.

While it is certainly a hodgepodge of talent that might initially raise some eyebrows, upon reflection each actor cleverly fits their respective role…for the most part, anyway.

To begin with, Seth Rogen and Jack Black will be playing Mario’s long standing rivals Donkey Kong and Bowser respectively, which, if anything, makes too much sense. Rogen, who has voiced several animated characters and is not far removed from his impressive work as Pumba in the live action adaptation of The Lion King, has that signature raspiness that would fit Donkey Kong so well I can already picture it. Black, then, possesses a manic energy that, whether it be in his acting or general vocal delivery, can put a new and intriguing spin on the menacing Bowser.

Anya Taylor-Joy, then, one of the most sought-after actresses in the business after her breakout role in The Queen’s Gambit, will voice Mario’s love interest Princess Peach, which, given her talent, particularly with accents, makes her another sharp casting decision.

Perhaps the two most inspired casting decisions for the upcoming Super Mario adaptation, though, is Charlie Day as Luigi and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad. 

Day is not quite the box office behemoth as some of the other actors cast in the movie, but much like Rogen as Donkey Kong, it makes immediate sense, given that Luigi is the more cowardly counterpart to Mario, which the video game franchise often plays off to comedic effect, even spawning his own haunted house spinoff, Luigi’s Mansion. Anyone who has seen Day in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia knows the type of comic pedigree he possesses, and his distinctively high-pitched voice can strike just the right balance between side-splitting levity and sobering moments of humanism, oddly enough.

Regarding Key, his loud and brash performance style is exactly what is needed to bring the anthropomorphic Toad to life for his first feature length role. His casting makes so much sense that there is little left to say when we are all so aware of what his immense talent brings to the table. If you disagree, then you clearly know nothing of him nor Toad!

The most notable casting choice for this Super Mario adaptation, however, is Chris Pratt as the title character. Honestly, when news first broke of Pratt’s casting as arguably the most famous character in the history of video games, I had to do a double take. It didn’t quite make sense to me then, and I am still somewhat hesitant about it now, as unlike many of the other cast members, I can’t quite see it. Of course, that’s not to say that the talented Pratt won’t knock the role out of the park. Like Day, we’ve seen him in The Lego Movie franchise and know what he can do. I just need to see the trailer before I am sold!

Other actors cast in Super Mario Bros. include Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike and Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, while the voice of Super Mario himself, Charles Martinet, will feature in an undisclosed cameo role. The movie is slated for release on December 21st, 2022.

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