‘Super Mario Bros.’ Director Originally Wanted Danny DeVito as Mario

Detective Pikachu isn’t the only Nintendo character people have hoped DeVito would be. 

[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he 1993 film Super Mario Bros. – starring the late Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the famous plumber brothers – was considered a pretty big flop in its day. Even now the film is panned as being one of the poorer films based on a game, and whilst some defend the film, the majority see it as a rather strange take on one of the biggest game franchises around. 

But recent news has revealed we could have gotten very different version of the film. Super Mario Bros.‘ director Rocky Morton brought to light the (in an interview with SciFiNow) that Hoskins was not their first choice to play Mario, and they had originally set their sights on the ever lovable Danny DeVito.

So why did Hoskins end up in the role? Well, as Morton explains, availability was a big factor: 

Well, Danny DeVito turned us down. Mario was the main character in the cast, and Bob was available. It was basically about availability. There are all these stories about the way people are cast but it’s normally about availability … Then we saw lots of different Luigis and John stood out because of his comic timing, his ability to be real but also be funny at the same time. Bob had that ability too. We wanted it to have a reality to it, especially the relationship, and we wanted it to be funny but not just a series of gags.

It was no secret even back in the day that the film company behind the movie was seeking out DeVito for the movie, in which they hoped he would play Mario. A great example of this is the below newspaper clipping from 1991 – which surfaced back in 2014 – that helpfully backs up Morton (via nintendolife): 

It’s very easy to imagine Danny in the role, and he would have no doubt suited being the famous moustached plumber. Given the outcome of the movie however, it was probably for the best that DeVito decided to give the project a miss. 

Hoskins did have the right look for Mario, and really, it was the script that let the film down – something which Morton was all too aware of. Be sure to read the rest of the interview, where Morton talks about the script he tried to push, which could have been a very different, decidedly darker Super Mario Bros. movie altogether. It certainly seems like Morton didn’t have the best of times making the movie. 

We can’t help but wonder what could have been had Morton got the script he wanted, with DeVito as Mario. But it just wasn’t meant to be, and instead we got what we got. Dinosaurs, meteorites and a whole lot of weirdness.  

It feels right to finish this off with the trailer, which is an experience in and of itself. 




Just your friendly neighbourhood tea addict. Nerf Herder by day, galaxy saver by night. Xbox Live: LadyTeacup|PSN: Ladyteacup_

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