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The producer of the new 'Super Mario Bros.' movie has defended the decision to cast Chris Pratt as Mario. © Bang Showbiz The decision to cast Chris Pratt in the new 'Super Mario Bros.' movie has been defended by producer Chris Meledandri
The 42-year-old actor will lead the cast of the upcoming animated flick by playing the iconic video game character – although the decision not to cast an Italian for the role was met with a backlash, something that Illumination founder Chris Meledandri accepts.
The producer told TooFab: "Well, as an Italian American myself, I understand. You know, I understand the comments."
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Meledandri added that the movie does include a "nod" to Mario's homeland as Charlie Day, who will play the role of Luigi, "actually comes from Italian heritage".
The producer also praised Pratt's version of Mario and suggested that the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' star has put in a "phenomenal" performance as the Nintendo plumber in the film, which is slated for release in 2022.
Gallery: Another Australian Bond? Stars who missed out on the role of a lifetime (BANG Showbiz)
Hollywood's missed opportunities
Some of the most iconic roles in films of late were almost played by different actors. Some rejected the roles, some had terrible auditions and others simply had “creative differences” with their directors. Here are 10 stars who missed out on the role of a lifetime.
Jason Statham as Tommy Shelby
Although it is difficult to envisage anyone but Cillian Murphy playing Tommy Shelby in the sensational period crime drama 'Peaky Blinders', creator Steven Knight had his eyes on a different actor for the job. Jason Statham was actually his first choice at the time of casting due to his intimidating physicality. Cillian had to do a fair bit of convincing and ultimately won the casting directors over with his more subtle performance of Tommy.
Eddie Redmayne as Kylo Ren
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne has revealed that he was up for the role of Kylo Ren in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', which ultimately went to Adam Driver. In an interview with Uproxx, Eddie joked about his poor audition and said: “If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on. That was really a hilarious moment. "Because it was Nina Gold, who I have to thank a lot because she’s cast me in several films. And she was just sitting there and I was trying again and again with different versions of my kind of 'koohh paaaah' [Darth Vader breathing sound] voice. "And after like ten shots she’s like, 'You got anything else?' I was like, 'No.' "
Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson
Matthew McConaughey was up for the role of Jack Dawson in the 1997 film 'Titanic' and despite having had a “good” audition, he missed out to Leonardo DiCaprio. Matthew still seems to think he could have done a great job, and he was "confident" after trying out for the part. Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s 'Awards Chatters’ podcast, he said: “I wanted that. I auditioned with Kate Winslet. Walked away from there pretty confident that I had it. I didn’t get it. I never got offered that.”
Hugh Jackman as James Bond
After Pierce Brosnan retired from the role of James Bond in 2004, the hunt was on for the next 007 (sound familiar?). As we all know, it was Daniel Craig who joined the franchise, but it wasn't the easiest process with many other talented actors for the job. In an interview with Variety, Hugh Jackman revealed that he actually turned down and explained: “I was about to do 'X-Men 2' and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real.”
George Clooney as Noah Calhoun
Ryan Gosling’s performance as Noah Calhoun in 'The Notebook' will go down in history and it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. However, George Clooney has revealed both he and Paul Newman were in in talks for the film, but he got cold feet about playing a younger version of Newman. He said: "We were going to do 'The Notebook' together. Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny.”
Robin Williams as The Joker
The late Robin Williams was an exceptional actor and although he was renowned for his comedic brilliance, he was a very versatile performer. He was keen on taking the role of The Joker in 1989's 'Batman', but the studio ultimately went with Jack Nicholson.
Claire Danes as Rose Dawson
Claire Danes has revealed that she was actually meant to star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in 1997 classic 'Titanic' instead of Kate Winslet. In an interview with Dax Shepherd on his ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast, the 'Homeland' star insisted she has “zero regret” about turning down the role, which she felt came too soon after their turn in 'Romeo and Juliet'. She also said she just “wasn’t ready” for the next level type of stardom that she knew would accompany the role.
Emilia Clarke as Anastasia Steele
Emilia Clarke’s breakout role was Daenerys Targaryen on 'Game of Thrones', and she struggled with the attention paid to her character's nudity. This led to her turning down the role of Anastasia Steele in 'Fifty Shades of Grey', which went to Dakota Johnson. Emilia told The Hollywood Reporter: "I did a minimal amount and I’m pigeonholed for life, so me saying yes to ['Fifty Shades'], where the entire thing is about sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff, I was just like, ‘No way am I going to voluntarily walk into that situation and then never be able to look someone in the eye and be like, ‘No, you can’t keep asking me this question.' ”
Meledandri said: "All I can tell you is the voice that he's doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal... Yeah I can't wait for people to hear it."
The producer also revealed that Chris would not be uttering the character's 'It's a-me, Mario' catchphrase during the movie.
Meledandri explained: "That's not the tenor of the performance throughout the film."
He also hinted that the accent issue will be referred to with a joke in the movie, that will also feature Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach.
Chris said: "We cover it in the movie. So you'll see we definitely nod to that."
The producer insists that critics will not be coming to cancel Mario when they watch the flick.
He remarked: "I don't think so. I think they'll have to (see it). I don't think so."
Bill Murray’s best and worst roles .
Bill Murray is the rare sort of actor who has had several periods of success in his career, to the point that he’s now considered a Hollywood legend. With appearances in nearly 100 shows and films since the 1970s, he’s also had plenty of opportunities to shine or bomb. From the regrettable to the unforgettable, we count down from some of Murray’s worst roles to his very best.