Star Bob Hoskins Didn’t Understand That the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Movie Was Based on a Video Game

He just thought it was a gritty plumber-makes-good story
Star Bob Hoskins Didn’t Understand That the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Movie Was Based on a Video Game

With all these Method actors diving deep into the minutiae of character backstories, you’d think at some point before signing to star in the original Super Mario Bros. movie, Bob Hoskins could have figured out that Mario was not exactly based on a real person. But you’d be wrong — his kids had to clue him in. “I saw this thing jumping up and down,” he boggled upon seeing his 16-bit namesake. “I used to play King Lear.”

And after Hoskins figured it out? “My 7-year-old son is quite depressed about my playing Mario,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “He knows I can’t even program a VCR, let alone play the game.”

Co-star John Leguizamo, who played Luigi in the original, has been slamming the new version of The Super Mario Bros. Movie for its lack of diverse casting, spitting “Hell, no!” when asked if he’s going to catch it this weekend in theaters. “Like I was groundbreaking,” he told Variety, “and then they stopped the groundbreaking.”

In addition to being groundbreaking, Mr. Leguizamo also was great at throwing back whiskey on set with Hoskins — and that’s according to his autobiography. The 1993 production was famous for its many mishaps, and drunken actors were near the top of the list. In fact, Leguizamo was reportedly soused when he hit the accelerator on the Super Mario Bros. van, causing a door to slide shut on Hoskins’ hand and break his finger. 

That was the least of Hoskins’ potential injuries. As he told Entertainment Tonight about production in 1993, “I got stabbed four times. Electrocuted. Broke a finger. Nearly got drowned.” Most of which rarely happens when you’re playing King Lear.

There were script rewrites that the actors hated. Director Rocky Morton, according to Leguizamo, poured hot coffee on an extra. And Nintendo took a hands-off approach to the movie that it regretted for decades. “If I’d have had a relationship with (Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru) Miyamoto and brought him onboard, he wouldn’t have let certain things happen,” Morton told Variety without explaining why he let the bad stuff happen himself. “We would have been a team, and it would have been a different film.” 

While the new film is set to blow up at the box office, everyone knew the original Super Mario Bros. was going to bomb big-time. “The directors won’t give interviews?” star Dennis Hopper asked The Los Angeles Times while “promoting” the film. “That’s the smartest thing I’ve heard from them. That’s the only intelligent thing I’ve heard that they’ve really actually done.”

As for Hoskins? He didn’t bother learning much more about Mario even after he learned of his character’s video game origins. “All these rewrites get frustrating so I don’t do too much research,” he said on set.

 “The basic premise of all this business is that everybody’s totally insane,” he concluded. “They are. They are completely insane.”

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