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Super Mario Bros. Movie: Pratt & Day's Voices Were Initially Too 'Sopranos'

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" almost took a page out of Tony Soprano's playbook.

After months of anticipation, audiences finally got to hear Chris Pratt and Charlie Day's voices for Mario and Luigi, respectively. Prior to the release of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," many were skeptical that Pratt and Day would fail to live up to the sky-high expectations set by original voice actor Charles Martinet, who has voiced the brothers since the '90s. Fans were also curious to know what direction Pratt and Day would go in, especially after the former teased that his voice would be "unlike anything [we've] heard in the Mario world before" in an interview with Variety.

Perhaps the most obvious direction that defines their voices is how they didn't play up the Italian-American stereotypes that audiences expected. Instead of going full "gabagool," they went more measured and realistic. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Pratt recalled how he initially channeled the voice notes of the iconic Italian-American character Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). "For a minute, I walked in and they were like, 'That's a little New Jersey. You're doing a Tony Soprano thing,'" Pratt recalled. Those uninitiated with the work of Mr. Soprano should know that the character boasts an authentic, Tri-State area-influenced Italian-American voice. 

Chris Pratt tried to figure how to bring Mario to life

While a rage-fueled, Tony Soprano-influenced Mario would have been something worth seeing, the voice audiences got was a lot more measured. Instead, it's Mario and Luigi's family who lean into the Italian-American stereotypes. As for Charlie Day, he was told that his initial voice sounded like something out of Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas," another film dominated with Italian-American characters. "Every now and then they would say, 'Charlie, maybe a little less 'Goodfellas' in this one' — I'm like, 'Alright! I think you're wrong, but fine!' — until they landed on something they liked," Day told EW. It's interesting to see how Day wanted his rendition of Luigi to be more in line with Italian-Americans that audiences already know. 

Before they signed onto the film, the duo were curious about which aspects of the characters would be front and center. "And then we had to really dig in and figure out, are they Italian? Are they American?" Pratt questioned. While they were familiar with Charles Martinet's voice and his iconic Mario quirks, they didn't know how they could breathe life into two distinct characters.

Ultimately, Pratt and Day did justice in giving Mario and Luigi their own special voices. In Looper's review of the "Super Mario Bros. Movie," critic Reuben Baron had no qualms with the direction Pratt went in. "If Pratt's Mario sounds gruff one minute and like Linda Belcher the next, It's because there's no clear direction for how he's supposed to play this non-character," Baron wrote, pointing out how Pratt's shuffling voice is a reflection of the film's lack of depth. So, in short: Pratt and Day got the job done. It still would have been nice to have heard Pratt's Soprano-influenced take on Mario, however.