From Nintendo and Illumination comes a new animated film based on the world of Super Mario Bros.
Starring Chris Pratt (voice of Mario), Charlie Day (voice of Luigi), Jack Black (voice of Bowser), Seth Rogan and many more stars, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is one for fans of the games and all of the family to see.
Thanks to Universal Studios, STG was able to have a virtual chat with Jack Black about the film, games and his character, Bowser.
Shane: Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. is the most popular game in history. What is your connection to it?
Jack: I started playing Nintendo back in the eighties. I think I was 13 years old when I stumbled upon Donkey Kong in the arcade at the corner market. I remember the magic of that game, and thinking, “This game leaves Pac-Man in the dust!” There was something very hypnotic and charismatic about the character of Mario and his battle against Donkey Kong, throwing the barrels down the street, because you had to bounce and jump at the perfect time. Grab that hammer, hit those barrels to get the points and rescue Princess Peach up at the top. And that was it! Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, and Mario were like The Holy Trinity. And I just remember playing it for hours and hours. I put so many quarters into that machine!
Shane: Were you excited to tackle the role of the villain Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie?
Jack: Bowser is one of the most iconic villains in the entire history of video games! Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to bring him to the silver screen? He’s terrifying, powerful, and filled with insecurities; a great character to explore.
Shane: How did you approach the character?
Jack: I approached this character as the most powerful, evil, and also sort of sensitive and insecure monster that he is. You know, it’s really fun to play such a horrible character with no redeemable qualities, who is just vicious. And I think all of us have a little Bowser inside somewhere, hopefully buried deep. That was a cool thing to explore, as I don’t get to play a lot of super evil characters.
Shane: Why would you say it is important to show the softer side of him too?
Jack: Bowser is scary, strong, and a monster; but what’s funny about him is that he’s sensitive and insecure too, and that’s great to play with because they don’t normally go together. You don’t think of this big fire-breathing monster also being kind of romantic, falling in love and wanting a fairy tale wedding with Princess Peach. That juxtaposition is funny.
Shane: He has always been in love with Princess Peach.
Jack: Yes, but it’s unrequited because she never loved him back, which only drives him more insane with love. Maybe he was denied the love of his parents and he thinks if he can find love in Princess Peach, perhaps it will heal the wounds of his fire-breathing childhood. Who knows? Bowser has always loved Princess Peach from afar, but he doesn’t know how to approach her. Anyway, how could she ever love him? He’s such a beast.
Shane: How do you relate to him?
Jack: Well, it would be really embarrassing to admit that I am in any way like Bowser; but I also think everyone has a little Bowser inside them: a little anger, a little rage. Whenever you are driving down the road and you want to yell at someone in traffic, that’s your Bowser coming out. Whenever you are jealous or want something that someone else has, that’s Bowser. Whenever you find the darkest parts of your soul, you find Bowser, because he hides in the shadows. I dug deep to find my inner Bowser.
Shane: They say it’s fun to play the villain because you can go more out of the box with the character. Do you agree?
Jack: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. And let’s face it, many times a movie is only as good as its evil villain. What would Star Wars be without Darth Vader? You’ve got to have them; you’ve got to have the dark. To have the good, you need to have the evil. So, it feels great to flex that evil muscle. It’s a necessary and powerful ingredient in the soup; it’s the spice.
Shane: Why do you think Bowser is so obsessed with Princess Peach?
Jack: Why is anyone obsessed with anything? I mean, obviously he’s taken by her beauty, her tenderness; but also, she’s a badass! She can really hold her own in a fight, and Bowser respects that.
Shane: So, in what way are Bowser and Princess Peach different as rulers of their respective kingdoms?
Jack: Princess Peach rules with love, respect, and compassion; whereas Bowser rules with an iron fist and rage. He controls his population with fear and intimidation. Bowser also enjoys heavy metal music, and he rules with the power of rock. He shall destroy all in his path! When Princess Peach and Bowser face on the battlefield, it will be an explosion of colored lights the likes of which have never been seen.
Shane: Illumination is an animation studio like no other.
Jack: Well, you know, Despicable Me is one of my favorite animated films of all time. Illumination has done it again and again over the years, just cranking it out of the park with incredible creativity and humor. They just get it! I don’t know how they do it or what the secret ingredient over there is, but the brain trust in charge of those projects continues to amaze. I’m super psyched to be part of an Illumination masterpiece.
Shane: And what to you believe makes Nintendo characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach of Bowser so enduring?
Jack: Nintendo has a magic, and their characters all strike a chord. Their games are just fun to play! I think there’s something about the Nintendo world that goes way back, even before video games.
Shane: Nintendo and Illumination just seem like a perfect match then.
Jack: It’s a great collaboration, and I’m glad of it because here we are. I saw the movie and it kicks serious butt, and I’m stoked to unleash it on the world. It’s like when peanut butter and chocolate first came together. Hmm, delicious…
Shane: What was it like to work with directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic on the project?
Jack: Awesome! We got into a good rhythm, always trying to crack each other up and find fresh approaches to every scene.
Shane: So, how would you describe The Super Mario Bros. Movie then?
Jack: As exciting, hilarious, romantic, thrilling, psychedelic, nostalgic… This movie is going to be rad no matter where you see it, but I highly recommend you check it out on the big screen because the worlds you see, like the Mushroom Kingdom, are so beautiful. In any case, it’s going to blow your mind!
You can see The Super Mario Bros. Movie in cinemas from April 5th, 2023.