John Leguizamo gives his verdict on Chris Pratt and Charlie Day’s casting in Super Mario Bros

John Leguizamo has criticised Chris Pratt and Charlie Day’s casting in the new Super Mario Bros film.

The Latin actor, who plated Luigi in a 1993 live-action film based on the video game, described the move as “backwards”.

Speaking about his former role, Leguizamo said: “A lot of people love the original. I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone’s like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ They’re not feeling the new one.’ I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”

Addressing American actors Pratt and Day’s casting as the characters, Leguizamo highlighted the lengths the 1993 film’s directors, Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, went to in order to get him cast in the role.

“They fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to be the lead. They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough.

He continued: “For them to go backwards and not cast another [Latin actor] kind of sucks.”

This isn’t the first time Leguizamo, who starred in his Super Mario Bros film opposite Bob Hoskins, has called out Pratt and Day’s casting in the forthcoming release.

In October, he wrote on Twitter: “Too bad they went all white! No Latinx in the leads! Groundbreaking color-blind casting in original! Plus I’m the only one who knows how to make this movie work script-wise!’

Charlioe Day will play Luigi 30 years after John Leguizamo did (Getty Images)
Charlioe Day will play Luigi 30 years after John Leguizamo did (Getty Images)

After Pratt’s casting as the character was announced, Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri, who is producing the film, promised that Pratt’s role as the character would not offend Italians.

The actor also told Variey that his voice for the character was “unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before”.

However, when the trailer arrived, those who viewed it were left confused as his voice sounded exactly like his own.

The Super Mario Bros Movie will be released on 7 April 2023.