The Super Mario Bros. Movie – With Super Mario, From Nintendo Console to the Big Screen!

Preview – The story in a nutshell: Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi are working to repair an underground water main when they fall into a magical new world through a mysterious conduit. After they get lost, Mario goes on an adventure to find Luigi.


With the help of a mushroom named Toad and basic martial arts training given to him by the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, the warrior Princess Peach, Mario discovers how much strength and endurance he can summon within himself, and becomes certain that as long as he and Luigi fight shoulder to shoulder, anything is possible.



This is how the film was created


Nintendo’s legendary Super Mario Bros. characters have been a favorite of fierce gamers and art-loving gamers for decades, so it was obvious that the patina video game production company would ask Illuminations to bring the heroes to the screen, since the animated studio boasts audience favorites such as Sing! and The Secret Life of Pets and Gru and the Minions, one of the most successful animated franchises in film history.

“Illumination is first and foremost a character studio,” says Chris Meledandri, Illumination’s founding CEO. – We like to make productions that stir up stagnant water, and this is the story we want to tell with Nintendo in Super Mario Bros.: The Movie, exactly like that. We thought about the fans when we made this movie. We wanted to pay tribute to the amazing game and the popular heroes.”

According to Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the directors of Nintendo, the designer of the Super Mario games and one of the producers of Super Mario Bros.: The Movie, Super Mario is able to engage millions of people worldwide because it has been constantly evolving since its inception. “I wanted to be a manga artist since I was a child,” says Miyamoto. – When I was in high school, I wanted to populate my manga with my own characters. I later switched to video games, and if my first game wasn’t fun enough, the characters wouldn’t be memorable to this day. Fortunately, the main character of my very first game, Donkey Kong, was liked by many, thanks to which I was able to make several other series of games. The players saw the character on the screen as their alter ego. Mario has evolved with technology. I kept coming up with new Mario games every time the technology took a step forward, and that made him a really unique character.”

Miyamoto and Meledandri immediately found common ground because they had the same creative vision for the project. “Whenever I meet with a Hollywood producer, they usually talk about how our intellectual product will be able to take shape as a successful film,” continues Miyamoto. – On the other hand, Chris and I mainly talked about how similarly we think about the creative process. As a result, our film was made in the same way as I develop the games, and thanks to this, this work was very pleasant for me. We chewed through a lot of questions. What should this story tell about Mario? What scenes do fans want to see? Who should appear in the movie from the long list of characters in the game?”

After countless conversations between the two creative creators, the story crystallized, on the basis of which Matthew Fogel wrote the screenplay. “Mario and Luigi are two guys from the suburbs, they come from an Italian family,” explains Meledandri. – Mario is a little insecure about himself, so he wants to stand out. He and his brother want to prevent a colossal pipe break, so they go underground. Luigi disappears, Mario goes looking for him, and it turns out that his brother is in the Spatial Warp Zone, which connects worlds, allowing one to teleport from one to another. Mario ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom, but Luigi ends up in the dark land where Bowser rules. Mario has only one goal: to find his brother.”

It was crucial for Illumination and Nintendo to find directors who were passionate about the game and respected the expectations of the audience, and they found them in Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic.

The Super Mario Bros. games were a defining experience for both directors in their childhood. “It was my favorite pastime,” says Jelenic. – I came home from school and already sat on them, because they were full of adventure, excitement and emotions. When I was able to start this project with an adult head, the main goal was to transform these childhood emotions into a cinema experience.”

“We wanted to create an authentic and fascinating cinematic version of the characters and their worlds,” says Horvath. – We analyzed the toys to capture the most characteristic design elements found in each piece of the series. When we had everything we were looking for, we turned these elements into something completely realistic, so detailed that you almost wanted to touch them. The biggest task was to make the audience believe that these are real heroes, with real emotions, family members, desires and hopes.”

Horvath and Jelenic have been working together for a long time, but Super Mario Bros.: The Movie was the first production they directed together.

“We were the screenwriters and producers of Teen Titans: The Movie, and now we directed together, which was a new role for me, because I came from screenwriting,” says Jelenic. – Until now, we invented stories, weaved plots and put together characters, but now we had to oversee the creation of the entire film. Although we have had a special working relationship for a long time, this was a completely new assignment and it felt like getting to know each other all over again. We also have a lot of TV experience, where we are used to writing a script and what is written in it is produced. When we started working on a movie, it turned out that even though we have a perfect script, it will still change a lot during the making of the film. It was a lot of fun working out different versions with Matt Fogel. We have made this film several times and we have always concluded that it is the best cinema in the world, but we said we can do better. That’s the nature of full-length animated films. We massage big ideas until they become even bigger ideas.”

During the fine-tuning, the directors worked out what theme they wanted to emphasize the most. “The central theme of our film is endurance,” explains Horvath. “You should never give up.” The only way to lose in a Super Mario Bros. game is to give up, but if you keep going, you’ll get better and better and eventually defeat Bowser. That’s what this movie is mostly about.”

In preparation, the directors called on their childhood selves and played various Mario games. “I also played the side-by-side versions, and I pushed Super Mario 3D World a lot because it was my favorite,” the director continues. “I was very inspired by the design of this game.”



The characters


“When we announced who would voice the characters, the people of the Internet threw a punch, we put together such a super team,” says Jelenic. – Today’s biggest movie stars were on the list, all of whom came to the film with joy, we don’t even understand. The characters of the video game are basically avatars, so it was no small task to shape them into real, flesh-and-blood people. Everyone felt the taste of the task perfectly.”


CINEMA NEWS - Chris Pratt's casting as Mario in the Super Mario Bros. movie caused a minor storm, but according to producer Chris Meledandri, it will eventually win over fans.



Chris Pratt


Mario is a short Brooklynite with big dreams. He is voiced by Chris Pratt in the film, who himself was a die-hard fan of the game as a child. “What I found most exciting about the task was bringing the character to life so that he was much more than just a few pixelated characters in the game. After all, the protagonist of Mario games is always someone who controls the console or the keyboard, so in the movie the character had to be individualized so that he was not just an avatar. We didn’t know much about him other than he was a mustachioed Italian plumber who yelled “sheep!” and “pressure!”. Therefore, in order to spin an exciting story that draws the audience in, we had to dig deep to find the complex character that the game only outlines. This is how we were able to show what lies behind Mario’s apparent self-confidence, what desires fuel him and where his unshakable perseverance comes from.”

According to the creator of the film, Pratt was the perfect choice because he can portray the character of the everyday hero with amazing naturalness. “The audience has to believe that the character is an average person, who then saves everyone and defeats a huge gorilla in the next moment,” explains Jelenic. – In addition, this character must also be funny, capable of conveying emotions. It’s very difficult to put this together like this, but Chris managed it easily.”


Princess Peach

Mother Taylor-Joy


The princess is the capable ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom and a determined protector of the Toads to the end. As a master of magical Superpowers, Princess Peach becomes Mario’s mentor: she helps him defeat Browser and track down Luigi. When Bowser attacks his empire, there’s no stopping Princess Peach.

“Princess Peach redefines what it means to be a princess because she is the creator of her own destiny,” says Anya Taylor-Jones, who voices the character. “Not a pale maiden with long blond curls, whom the valiant tailor must rescue from the dragon’s clutches.” He doesn’t wait for someone to come and help him out of trouble. An extremely motivated leader, he does not know fear or the impossible. He is terribly worried about the future of the Mushroom Kingdom – he wants everyone to live in prosperity and peace. When I saw the movie, I thought, I want to be like him.”

“It was important to us that Princess Peach be a tough character to look up to,” explains director Aaron Horvath. – Since he guides our hero on his journey, he also serves as a specific compass for the story. He is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, which is constantly at war with King Kuppa, and someone who holds such an important role must be really tough and capable.”

Taylor-Joy was completely blown away by the artistry of the film. “This is the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen. Illumination really knows exactly how to appeal to a wide audience of all ages. And Nintendo created adorable characters. The exciting tale has been transformed into 3D, and fans of The Super Mario Bros. will be amazed at how many references Aaron and Michael were able to squeeze into the film. You can watch it again and again to discover more and more elements that come from the video game.”



Charlie Day


Luigi, voiced by Charlie Day in the American version of the film, is Mario’s devoted and overly concerned little brother. In situations where Mario is calm and confident, Luigi… well, he’s not. After the brothers fall into the Warp Zone, Luigi is captured by Bowser. With the world in danger, Luigi must face his fears and find the courage to finally step out of his brother’s shadow. “I remember when Nintendo was taking over the world,” says Day. – My initiation was with Super Mario. As a small child, I felt that my life had changed! Of course, my sister was smarter than me. It’s strange that such things come to mind. I also remember that since he was older, I could only play second fiddle. Because of that, I was almost always Luigi.”

“It’s cool to be part of a project that has such a huge fan base. We experimented a lot with Luigi’s voice and accent. In the end, we ended up with the version that was close to my own speaking voice. I think that’s exactly why they chose me.”



Jack Black


Bowser is the most depraved power-hungry arch-villain in existence. This huge demented turtle is the king of the koopas and the lord of the Dark Country. The entire world is in danger when Bowser steals the Superstar and tries to take control of the Mushroom Kingdom forever. “He is one of the most interesting characters in the film, because his character is highly layered,” says Jelenic. “When we meet him, he’s evil incarnate, and he’s pretty terrifying.” But as the plot unfolds, we discover other qualities. It has both fall and seleburd features.”

Jack Black took great pleasure in voicing Mario’s legendary archenemy. “Bowser is one of the coolest villains in video game history! he declares firmly. “Who wouldn’t want to be their voice in a movie?” He is a terrifying monster, he has enormous power, but at the same time he is tormented by insecurity, it is a dream to build such a character. When I was a little kid in the eighties, I loved Donkey Kong. I only got to know Bowser when my own children came.”

In the film, Bowser boasts considerable musical training, which was not included in the first version of the script. Bowser sings a song called Peaches, with Black adding his own. “Bowser sings his love for Princess Peach with his amazing piano song,” says Horvath. “We wanted to kind of emphasize the tender feelings Bowser has for the princess, and it seemed like the most fun and endearing way to say it in song.” Jack Black is an excellent singer and musician, and after writing the song in one night, we sent him the demo. A few days later, Jack sent the finished version. He made it a little crazy according to his own taste, and his pianist played it all over, it turned out incredibly well.”



Keegan-Michael Key


Toad is a kind and cheerful subject of the Mushroom Kingdom, who can’t wait for the first big adventure of his life to begin. Toad is the first creature Mario encounters after being transferred to the new world, and Toad immediately offers his help in helping Mario free Luigi from Bowser’s captivity. Although he’s wildly cheerful, Toad’s mind is sharp as hell, and he doesn’t hesitate to go into battle for those dear to his heart.

The character is voiced by Keegan-Michael Key. “Every sentence of this high-energy character sounds like the most important revelation in the world,” says the actor. – I tried to find the tone that is characteristic of a creature that spins a thousand times at a time. He is in a state of self-absorbed fandom, because he cannot get enough of who he is, where he came from, and what limitless possibilities are in front of him.”

Key can claim serious success in the world of dubbing, so he was very happy to stand behind the microphone again. “There’s something about this job that makes you go crazy. You can forget about everything when you use your voice to try to compete with the supercharged visuals and movements that characterize animated films. The best fun is when you figure out how to bring the character to life and suddenly everything clicks into place.”



Donkey Kong

Seth Rogen


Donkey Kong is the son and heir of Cranky Kong, the lord of the Jungle Kingdom and the Kong Army. Donkey Kong is an almost invincible fighter – but he’s actually a grown-up kid. He’s not too keen when Mario asks him to help him protect the Mushroom Kingdom.

Seth Rogen lends his hair to Donky. The actor grew up a rabid Mario Bros. fan himself. “I vividly remember the big day when my dad brought me home with the first Nintendo Entertainment System. This marked the beginning of a defining period of my childhood. The role of Donkey Kong in the movie was so much fun, I was able to relive my childhood through him.”

Rogen’s performance is one of the funniest in the film. “This is no accident, because we managed to win one of Hollywood’s best comedians for the role,” says Jelenic. “It was amazing to me how cleverly Seth approached the task.” I always thought he had a razor sharp mind, but apparently he’s very careful not to flaunt it. He understands the process of filmmaking and always thinks in terms of all possible factors while playing. Every single sentence that comes out of the character’s mouth is striking.”

Source: UIP

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