Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
This week I decided to do something a little different, and adapt a classic video game rather than a comic book, specifically Super Mario Bros, Nintendo's flagship franchise. Of course there have been Super Mario Bros comics too, but that's never been their primary medium. For my adaptation though, I'm looking primarily at the premise of the first game. Mario and Luigi are NYC plumbers who happen upon a portal into the Mushroom Kingdom, and then join the fight against Bowser and his Koopas. I threw in a couple of Bowser's kids from the third game, just so there would be more villains with personalities.
There was of course a Super Mario Bros movie in 1993, which was the first feature film based on a video game, and a massive failure. But I'd argue that's because in 1993 they couldn't full commit to the premise. Now, with advances in special effects and a broader idea of what a blockbuster can look like, the Mushroom Kingdom can be fully realized in a faithful way that it never has been before.
For the Koopa characters, I cast them imagining that they'd be wearing makeup that allows them to give expressive performances. But these days, motion capture would probably be the best option. Either way, just keep in mind that I'm casting for more than voices here.
Jack Black as Mario
There was a time when I found Jack Black pretty annoying, but as he's gotten older he's moved away from his High Fidelity/Tenacious D persona and become a reliable comedic character actor. He also moves with a speed and grace that's surprising for a stocky guy like him, and that's definitely a skill Mario needs.
Adrien Brody as Luigi
Luigi should contrast with Mario, and Brody's long limbs will certainly differentiate him from Black. He's also got a bit of that sad sack quality that Luigi sometimes displays.
Naomie Harris as Princess Peach
Peach is a figure of warmth and patience, but also strength. Harris can easily handle all of that.
Ron Perlman as Bowser
He's big, he has a scary voice, and he's used to working under monster makeup. Perlman will be a fantastic Bowser.
Toby Jones as Toad
In the interest of making the Mushroom People more human, I'm envisioning a toad who's less infantile and more of a meticulous and slightly harried "mushroom retainer." But he'll still be a little round-faced bald guy.
Evan Peters as Ludwig Koopa
Ludwig is Bowser's son, who fancies himself a mad genius. Peters can absolutely do that.
Aubrey Plaza as Wendy Koopa
Plaza will get the most out of every hateful glance and sarcastic line from Bowser's spoiled daughter Wendy.
Bob Balaban as Lakitu
Lakitu works for Bowser, but he likes staying up in the clouds, where he can keep his hands clean. Balaban can certainly pull off that kind of soft-spoken villainy, in addition to looking exactly like the character.
Jimmy and Jey Uso as the Hammer Bros
The Usos are far from my favorite wrestlers (although they got more interesting when they turned heel), but they'd definitely be great just jumping around throwing boomerang-hammers and chanting.