Though he may have faced a massive wave of criticism  in recent months towards his take on the Koopa-stomping hero’s iconic voice, The Super Mario Bros. Movie star Chris Pratt is refusing to write off the genuine concern from fans and instead choosing to recognize the passion behind their vocal skepticism.
The Hollywood A-lister broke his silence on the topic during a recent interview with entertainment news outlet Extra given in promotion of the film.
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Asked by host Jenn Lahmer “What do you say to the people who were saying ‘They [the Mario Bros.] needed to sound more Italian?'” – a notably disingenuous attempt to reframe the controversy through the lens of identity politics when in reality the criticism was not against their lack of accents but the fact that Pratt’s Mario didn’t sound like Charles Martinet’s historical take on the digital plumber – Pratt responded, “[I would say to them] Come watch the movie, and then we can talk.”
“I really think that once you see the movie, and you know what, in all honesty, I think you probably need to watch it twice,” he playfully added.
Turning to offer a more serious answer, Pratt then asserted, “In all honesty the answer, though, is that this is a passionate fanbase and it makes sense. I understand, I’m part of it.”
“This is, you know, the soundtrack to your youth,” said the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 star. “You don’t want someone to come along and cynically destroy it as a cash grab with a movie. I fully understand that, you do not want that to happen, and there are so many hearts and souls and minds dedicated to making sure that didn’t happen.”
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“And you saw the movie,” he continued. “It really honors the video game, it honors the world of Mario and it’s very promising as to what we could expect over the next 10 years, like an entire universe of these types of movies.”
Further hyping the film, Pratt conclucded, “They’re super nostalgic, they’re really fun, it’s Illumination so they know what they’re doing, and it’s great because – especially for me, now that I have kids, I have to see every animated movie whether it’s good or not, so I’m really grateful when a great animated movie comes out, and that’s what this is thankfully. And hopefully there’ll be more.”
Pratt’s respect for fans comes as a breath of fresh air in an industry where the self-importance and pretension of those put in charge of any given established property view its core fanbase as somehow ‘beneath them’.
Notably, one of the few other major actors to take this stance was former Superman and The Witcher actor Henry Cavill, who in 2019 notably refused to buy into this narrative.
Speaking with Cavill ahead of the then-upcoming series premiere of The Witcher, YouTuber Jake’s Takes asserted to the actor, “There’s something really interesting with [Geralt] that I find fascinating, which is that he genuinely really does just want to do the right thing, but everywhere he goes, whether its a new town or a new bar, people just kind of give him a hard time and they rag on him despite the fact that he has great intentions. I’m curious if that’s comparable to this sort of world, this culture of toxic fandom, where like if you make a movie especially if you make a superhero movie, you have great intentions, but there are always going to be a small, yet vocal group of people that can kind of just be toxic.”
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Refusing to take the bait, Cavill calmly replied, “I understand what you are saying, but when it comes to fans, it is a fan’s right to have whatever opinion they want to have.”
“People are going to be upset especially when you are talking about books or games because you are never going to be the exact person who they had in their head or who they played in The Witcher 3 for example,” he explained. “I don’t necessarily consider that toxic; I just consider that passionate and it’s something that which I obviously had to come to terms with over the years.”
The Super Mario Bros. Movie warps into theaters on April 5th.