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Why 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' has Luigi as the damsel in distress rather than Princess Peach
Sorry, Mario...your brother is in another castle.
Is the princess in another castle? Not this time, folks! Wanting to place a fresh spin on longstanding tradition, the filmmakers behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie — opening in theaters everywhere next month — decided that Princess Peach (voiced by The Menu's Anya Taylor-Joy) would not be a damsel in distress like she is across nearly all of the classic video games.
"The story of Mario saving the princess was too straightforward for the film," co-director Aaron Horvath explained during an interview with Total Film (the magazine's latest issue is now on sale). Instead, the creative team decided that Luigi (Charlie Day) would be the one in need of rescue from the star-stealing Bowser (Jack Black). It makes a lot of sense when you remember how the green-hatted member of the Mario family was nearly on the verge of peeing his overalls throughout the entire gameplay of Luigi's Mansion.
"He takes the Princess Peach role in our story," Horvath continued. "It's Mario's goal to save his brother from Bowser's clutches. He has to go on this epic adventure to do that. Luigi — who's a famously nervous, anxious character — finds himself in the worst possible predicament: having to survive interrogations with Bowser, and make it through that gauntlet."
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Touching on his love for Super Mario 3D World, which features Peach as a playable character, Horvath stated that Princess Toadstool could not be passive here. As such, Peach became just as integral to the story as the titular Italian plumber (voiced by Chris Pratt).
"She's the monarch who leads this kingdom of hapless, adorable Toads," the director added. "We were thinking of how strong that person would need to be to protect those people. All that informed the idea for Peach's character in our movie."
Also directed by Michael Jelenic (both he and Horvath are alumni of the Teen Titans GO! franchise), the animated project from Universal, Illumination, and Nintendo also features the voices of Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Crankey Kong), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek), Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike), and, in a mystery role, the OG voice of Mario himself, Charles Martinet.
Written by Matthew Fogel (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part), Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri, and living Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of the Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pikmin franchises), The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens on the big screen Wednesday, April 5 — two days earlier than originally planned. A final trailer is scheduled to premiere during the next Nintendo Direct livestream on Thursday, March 9 at 5 p.m. ET.
Pick up tickets for The Super Mario Bros. Movie right here from Fandango.
Want more from Illumination? Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 are now streaming on Peacock.