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Super Mario Bros. movie originally a "personal, emotional story" between Mario and Luigi

Director reveals chaos caused by last-minute script rewrite.

The universally-panned Super Mario Bros. movie was originally intended to feature a much darker and less comedic story - until it was hit by a last-minute script rewrites.

The changes came after production had already begun, when it emerged that the film had run over budget.

It was at this point that director Rocky Morton decided to shop the film around Hollywood in an attempt to interest a larger production company and secure more funding.

"We went into production, started casting, I started building these huge sets and all the prosthetic creatures and everything. And we were spending so much money," Morton explained to Nintendo Life, in a new interview timed to coincide with the film's release on Blu-Ray.

"The reaction from the studios was that the script that was written was too dark and too adult, and it should be rewritten - or dewritten, as I called it - to a lower level, adding stupid gags and making it more childlike, which is what happened.

"The new script was so different that it didn't apply to a lot of the sets and the characters. Also, it was kind of flawed, it didn't work because it was rushed so fast. I had to sort of defend the script - and I didn't like it either - and encourage [the cast] to carry on. And it was very awkward, and uneasy, and difficult."

The film's original script was written by Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, who together worked on The Likely Lads, Porridge, Lovejoy and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

"They were really sensitive to this story of the two brothers, and the love story between the two brothers, and the fact that they had lost their parents," Morton said. "Mario had to bring up Luigi on his own.

"He became this mother figure to Luigi, and what Luigi really wanted from Mario was an elder brother figure - you know, a male model - and it frustrated him, and he disrespected Mario because of that. It was about how they reconciled that problem and how Luigi fell in love with Daisy along the way. So it was very much a personal, emotional story between the two of them."

Ultimately, Morton recalled having to shoot scenes on unfinished sets, or sets where the paint was still wet.

"I can remember asking [Bowser actor] Dennis Hopper 'Please walk this way, because if I pan the camera this way you're gonna be off the set,' and then we had this argument about it. Things like that, it would just go on and on and on, there were just so many problems. It threw the film into chaos, basically."

Mario actor Bob Hoskins previously described his experience of making the film as "a nightmare", and claimed it was "the worst thing I ever did". Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has also expressed his dislike for the project, and said that it is the cause of "some regrets".

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Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.