The internet is bemused by the idea that Chris Pratt might someday go into a soundproofed room with a microphone, lean in, and utter the phrase, “it’sa me, Mario” to play his part in Nintendo’s ridiculously star-studded animated Mario film. This is their right. Now, I’m not too interested in deeply exploring the reasons why. The truth is, Pratt kinda lost the thread on his likeability following his ascension from schlubby Andy Dwyer on Parks & Rec to Star-Lord in the MCU. This is thanks, in part, to a series of rumors and statements over the years.
So, let’s assume we can acknowledge that Pratt is not, at this time, the overwhelming people’s choice to voice the heroic plumber. Let’s also assume that the perfect pick, were he to be replaced (which is never going to happen), would have to be another one of the Chrises, the globally recognized consortium of hot actors that align under the shield of their first name. Why? Well, this article needs buy-in on that logic to justify its existence, but also most importantly, there are many fine Chrises. They dominate the Hollywood landscape. So why not a Chris when looking for a new Mario (again, never going to happen, but hey, we elect Vice Presidents, so why not pick a Vice Mario, informed by this helpful ranking)?
Honorable Mention Chrises
Chris Walken – No real case to make. I just want to hear his voice come out of Mario’s smiling visage while he’s driving a go-kart or dodging fireballs.
Chris Sullivan – Only acceptable if we completely change Mario into his ambulance driver/muscle character from, The Knick. He with a heart of gold and the ability to pummel all comers and pull a wagon like a team of Clydesdales. Sullivan did co-star with Pratt in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, though. Et tu, Taserface?
Core Chris Crew
Chris Hemsworth – Physically, he is the diametric opposite of Mario. And yes, this is voiceover, so what does that matter, but it just feels weird and there’s a certain confidence in your voice when you’re built like a literal God that would be hard to shake.
Chris Evans – Just running through the final Pratt co-star. Evans’ voice is a little too smooth, always ranging from devilish to too good to be true wholesomeness. Not the right range, though we’ve never heard him do an awful Italian/Mario voice. And we never need to. On the plus side, could do for red overalls what he did for chunky vanilla sweaters with Knives Out. On the negative side, the pipe jokes would never ever end.
Chris Pine – Similar issue. Chris Pine just always sounds like he’s winning or like he knows he’s about to talk his way out of a speeding ticket. He is the most likely of this group to be caught in public wearing a full Mario costume for no reason, though. That’s not a judgment, it’s jealousy masquerading as praise.
Super Chrisio Bros.
Chris Elliott – Hear me out. This is a man of the people who has experience living in subterranean places among pipes (from his time as the guy under the seats at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Letterman), he was a handyman on Schitt’s Creek, he practically starred in the adaptation of the Paper Boy games with Get A Life, he sailed the seas looking for adventure in Cabin Boy, and he’d be the weirdest possible choice, which makes him nearly the best.
Chris Meloni – I basically just sold myself on Chris Elliott by way of hyper-obscure references, but we press on. What if, instead of always being happy-go-lucky, Mario was temple-vein throbbingly intense at all times, blowing off warnings from friends and partners (Toad, Luigi) to live in the grey? Maybe there, the ends justify the means if you beat a Koopa Troopa with a phone book to get information on where to find Princess Peach. Maybe I want to experience that version of Mario.
Chris Messina – Italian heritage? Check (even though I guess we’re all ignoring the guy from Nintendo who said Mario is Japanese and not Italian). Looks great with a mustache? Check! I believe Chris Messina could pull off Mario’s happy to be here energy whilst concealing his gritty determination. I believe he is nimble enough to have the life experiences to pull off the voice of a plumber who has to run and jump in and out of tight spaces. And I believe, unlike a lot of the above figures, Chris Messina is more conventionally handsome than model handsome (while still being very very handsome) and a character actor to boot, meaning he matches the Mario aesthetic of someone who wasn’t born to be a hero but who had heroism thrust upon him. Chris Messina is the Chris best equipped to play Mario in this and all future projects. Cut out the drama and take a warp pipe to a time when you have corrected this obvious mistake, Nintendo!