A-list actors as voice actors: the MCU’s Starlord as Mario and Garfield? 


IB senior and Jack Black enthusiast, Madison Sadaj

With the announcements of new animated movies, controversy has broken out over casting A-list celebrity actors instead of specially trained voice actors. The controversy centers on Chris Pratt, known for his role in Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy, who was cast as the lead in two animated films just a month apart.

When it was announced in September that the lovable and familiar Mario characters would be getting another movie, fans of the franchise were ecstatic. When the official cast list was released less than a month later, however, many fans were unhappy with the actors chosen to voice many of the characters. 

There were some concerns specific with Chris Pratt; because he was cast as Mario, many wondered if his brief (albeit successful) voice acting career would give him enough experience to portray such an iconic and well-known character. This concern was not for just the lead but for almost the entire main cast, which consists of the following: Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan-Michael Key, and Seth Rogan.

Having celebrity actors in voice acting roles can definitely be a good selling point for a film as it adds incentive for viewers to see their favorite actors in action.

“I love Jack Black. He is so funny! I’m in the process of watching every movie Jack Black has ever been in, so I would definitely go see it,” UAIS senior Madison Sadaj said.

However, by having only “big name” actors portray animated characters, opportunities are taken away from specially trained voice actors who are usually lesser known.

UAIS senior Lara Tinawi, infamous for having seen almost any movie one could think of, says that while she can understand the benefits of casting someone like Chris Pratt from an entrepreneurial standpoint, she does not personally agree with it.

“I think it is unfair that people who have dedicated their lives to becoming professional voice actors are being beat out by well-known voices even though they don’t necessarily match the role,” Tinawi said.

Not too long after the cast for the Mario movie was released, it was revealed in November that Chris Pratt would be starring in yet another animated film: Garfield. 

How Garfield fans would have reacted if not for the still-fresh Mario controversy that Chris Pratt was central in, the world will never know; what is known, however, is that many took to the Internet to joke around and bash the celebrity actor and those responsible for the casting. Twitter, a popular platform for publicly sharing or expressing ideas, saw many users tweeting negatively about the situation:

“…it just feels like he only got the role because he’s famous, and not because he fits,” @canadakeroro.

“Chris Pratt was cast as first Mario, then Garfield, proving that all Hollywood executives have about a thimbleful of imagination between them,” @WiCnet.

And even:

“Chris Pratt being cast as Garfield is a hate crime targeting me specifically,” @WeirdMasc.

At some point, the controversy turned into a combination of outrage, confusion, and humor. While some people are excited that Chris Pratt will be playing these characters, others have their own reasons not to be. In any case, fans and movie-goers will only know how well he executes his roles when the movies premiere.