Criticism of Chris Pratt's casting as Mario in Nintendo's upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie will likely "evaporate" once people hear his performance for themselves, it's been claimed.
The choice of Hollywood hunk Pratt - star of Marvel, Jurassic World - as Mario raised eyebrows among many fans when it was first announced.
Now, Chris Meledandri, boss of Mario and Minions animation studio Illumination, has responded.
"When people hear Chris Pratt's performance," Meledandri told Deadline, "the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely - people love to voice opinions, as they should."
Fans have questioned why long-term Mario voice actor was not used instead, and also criticised the fact the character is Italian-American, while Pratt is not.
"I'm not sure this is the smartest defense," Meledandri continued, "but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans... I think we're going to be just fine."
In April, Nintendo announced the upcoming film had been delayed, and will now launch in cinemas next April. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto himself announced the holdup, via Nintendo's Twitter account.
The film's new launch dates are 7th April (in North America) and 28th April (in Japan).
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