Home Entertainment Chris Pratt’s first Super Mario Bros. Movie accent was rejected over ‘Tony Soprano’ similarities

Chris Pratt’s first Super Mario Bros. Movie accent was rejected over ‘Tony Soprano’ similarities

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Chris Pratt said he had some difficulty finding the voice for Mario in The Super Mario Bros Movie, which opened Wednesday ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.

The 43-year-old actor, whose casting in the animated adventure has created some controversy, had his first attempt at an accent rejected after it hued too closely to James Gandolfini’s accent for Tony Soprano on HBO’s iconic crime drama The Sopranos

Pratt explained that he had very few clues to go on in creating the character in a Zoom chat with costars Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan-Michael Key and Jack Black for Entertainment Weekly.

‘Are they Italian? Are they American? We know a little bit about Charles Martinet’s voice that he’s sprinkled in there with the “Wahoo!” and “It’s-a me!” and these Mario things, but how do you craft a 90-minute narrative with an emotional through-line and create a living, breathing person about whom you’ll care?’ the action star explained. 

‘If you strip away the jokes and the magic and the mushrooms and the power ups and the color and the amazing music, it should be, like, a pretty good drama, which really is the key to a great story.’

Voice: Chris Pratt, 43,had some difficulty finding the voice for Mario in The Super Mario Bros Movie

Voice: 'For a minute when I walked in they said, "That's a little Tony Soprano, that's a little New Jersey, you're doing a Tony Soprano thing,"' Chris revealed

Voice: Chris Pratt, 43, had some difficulty finding the voice for Mario in The Super Mario Bros Movie. For a minute when I walked in they said, “That’s a little Tony Soprano, that’s a little New Jersey, you’re doing a Tony Soprano thing.”‘

Straight out of Jersey: James Gandolfini (R) played the New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO's iconic crime drama The Sopranos; pictured with Steve Schirripa (L)

Straight out of Jersey: James Gandolfini (R) played the New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s iconic crime drama The Sopranos; pictured with Steve Schirripa (L)

When first tackling the part, Chris said he sounded a little too much like a mob boss. 

‘For a minute when I walked in they said, “That’s a little Tony Soprano, that’s a little New Jersey, you’re doing a Tony Soprano thing.”‘

Charlie Day, 47, who provided the voice for Luigi said he too had trouble finding the right tone. 

‘Every now and then they would say, “Charlie, maybe a little less Goodfellas in this one.”‘

‘I’m like, ‘”All right! I think you’re wrong, but fine!” — until they landed on something they liked,’ the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star said.

For Chris, repetition was the key. 

‘I would have one of the lines. I wouldn’t say it only once,’ he explained.’  

‘After doing it over and over again, 15 different options, colloquial options, put it in my own words, different tones, and then by the end, they would be so exhausted having heard all of them, that I’m like, “Well, that’s everything. I just emptied out every possibility, so can we move on?”‘ 

When it came to creating the voice for Toad, Keegan-Michael Key, 52, had some help.

Repetition: For Chris, repetition was the key to finding Mario's voice. 'After doing it over and over again, 15 different options, colloquial options, put it in my own words, (using) different tones,' he said

Repetition: For Chris, repetition was the key to finding Mario’s voice. ‘After doing it over and over again, 15 different options, colloquial options, put it in my own words, (using) different tones,’ he said 

Goodfellas:  Charlie Day, 47, who provided the voice for Luigi said he too had trouble finding the right tone. 'Every now and then they would say, "Charlie, maybe a little less Goodfellas in this one"'

Goodfellas:  Charlie Day, 47, who provided the voice for Luigi said he too had trouble finding the right tone. ‘Every now and then they would say, “Charlie, maybe a little less Goodfellas in this one”‘

‘What I really did, is, I based him on a friend of mine,’ he contended

‘I based his vocal rhythms and vocal syntax on a friend of mine and then when I brought it to the director he’s like, “that’s cool, I like that stuff, but can we get the voice higher because we want to make sure we’re referencing all of those exclamations that he’s making during the games.’

The actor said the high pitched tones put a strain on his vocal chords. 

‘For me, it was gallons of Earl Gray and honey and really tight pants.’

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