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SYFY WIRE super mario bros. movie

Keegan-Michael Key's secret to his Toad voice in the 'Mario' movie? 'Earl Grey tea and really tight pants'

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now playing in theaters everywhere.

By Josh Weiss
The Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday night's episode of NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Keegan-Michael Key pointed out an interesting fact about his entertainment career: the world of animation typecast him as a bird. Since breaking into the voiceover game, the comedian/actor has lent his pipes to winged characters in three separate projects: Storks, The Angry Birds Movie, and Toy Story 4.

"I was so shocked when they said, 'Do you wanna do a mushroom?'" he said of his turn as living mushroom man Toad in The Super Mario Bros. Movie (now playing in theaters everywhere). "And I was like, 'Let's do a mushroom! Mushroom sounds great!' So I'm really expanding my repertoire, my range. I'm now going from aviary characters to fungus."

RELATED: Watch Chris Pratt hilariously put his ‘Mario' knowledge to the test with Jimmy Fallon pop quiz

When asked about how he developed the voice for Mario's mycelium companion, Key cited one of his friends, who "does this thing with his vocal patterns, where he'll emphasize the wrong word in a sentence. Or if he's saying a word, it's always not in the right place."

Being able to replicate Toad's high-pitched cadence on a regular basis presented its own set of challenges. "I had no idea I could do it," Key added, providing a live demonstration of the different vocal ranges he offered the filmmakers. "I just kept on going higher and higher and then it's just like, 'How are we going to maintain this?' I'm thinking, 'I don't know...just gallons of Earl Grey tea and really tight pants, I guess.'"

Keegan-Michael Key on playing Toad in the 'Mario' movie:

Directed by Teen Titans GO! alumni Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, the animated blockbuster also features the voice talents of Chris Pratt (Mario), Charlie Day (Luigi), Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Crankey Kong), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek), and Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike) co-star.  

Matthew Fogel (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Minions: The Rise of Gru) penned the screenplay with Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri serving as a producer alongside Nintendo visionary Shigeru Miyamoto.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are on sale here!

New episodes of The Tonight Show air weekdays at 11:35/10:35c on NBC and stream next day on PeacockWant more Illumination goodness in your life? Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 are now streaming on the platform.