When Shigeru Miyamoto walked on screen in the latest Nintendo Direct, I thought that it was finally time to see a brand new entry in the Super Mario franchise. In a way, that’s exactly what happened. However, someone twisted the monkey paw of fate, and what resulted was, depending on your standpoint, perhaps the best or worst casting reveal for a video game movie ever. Would Mario’s long-standing voice actor, Charles Martinet, reprise the role of the Italian plumber on the silver screen? Nope, that honor belongs to the “cool” Chris Pratt. That interesting casting for Illumination’s Super Mario movie made me ponder — what other Nintendo franchises could receive similar casting treatment?
The Legend of Zelda
To think of a cast list for The Legend of Zelda, we need to consider actors with personalities that vaguely resemble the iconic characters — but who also add an essential Hollywood spin to them. Link is a mostly silent hero, but from what we know, his personality is part naivety, part hopeful heroism, and a dash of sassy sarcasm. With that in mind, how about casting current Spider-Man actor, Tom Holland, in the role? A well-mannered princess with an air of naivety must be cast alongside him to play Zelda, and my pick for this role would be Emma Watson, thanks to her regal demeanor and warm mannerisms, as seen in the Harry Potter franchise and Beauty and the Beast.
Ganondorf has to be the fierce and cunning villain we all know him to be from the games, but how would Hollywood interpret that? By casting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson of course. It might result in one too many winks at the camera, but it’s also exactly the kind of casting that Miyamoto would be proud of. Last but not least, Danny Devito as Tingle would be the perfect dose of comic relief for a side character that has always been on the fringes of popularity within the Zelda fandom. The mere idea of a prominent and comedic actor like Danny Devito in the role would take the character to a whole new level, and the group could be rounded out by an actor like Dave Bautista playing the Goron Darunia.
Many people raised an understandable eyebrow at the casting news for the Super Mario movie, in part because the characters of the Nintendo franchise don’t often have much to say, let alone speak in complete sentences. Seth Rogen was confirmed to play Donkey Kong, and Fred Armisen is set to play Cranky Kong. Given that the Kong family already has two high-profile representatives, the rest of the Kong lineage should receive the same Hollywood treatment. With Donkey and Cranky already taken care of, let’s talk about Diddy Kong. The jet-packing young sidekick has a quintessential bad boy energy that resembles that of Bart Simpson. Pete Davidson, who recently started in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, has some of that chaotic vibe.
Filling out the rest of the Kong family proves to be a little trickier, but we can start with Karen Gillan as Dixie Kong. (Sorry, Tiny Kong, but you’re redundant in this movie and get no casting.) Karen’s cheerful personality could bring the right tone of high-pitched enthusiasm to what DK fans have always imagined Dixie to sound like. Elizabeth Banks could voice Candy Kong and provide a sense of refined allure, while David Harbour would lend his gruff vocal cords to King K. Rool. Elsewhere, Joe Manganiello could play Chunky Kong and display both his overwhelming stature and his more naive and innocent side. Finally, Funky Kong could be brought to life by Ben Stiller, who could take on the larger-than-life persona and use his experience in roles like Zoolander to bring Funky’s persona to the forefront.
The Metroid series is increasing in popularity thanks to the success of Metroid Dread, and Hollywood would be wise to capitalize on that. Most Metroid fans have been aware that Brie Larson has been itching to play Samus Aran for a long time, so we would start here by casting Brie in a Nintendo Metroid movie. We know she has the action chops thanks to her role as Captain Marvel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but her comedy skill shouldn’t be underestimated either with roles like Envy Adams from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. As seen in the Ridley reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Samus does have a slight sense of humor to her, making this a perfect fit.
Mother Brain isn’t traditionally thought of as a speaking character (outside of old cartoons and comics), but that could all change with a Hollywood adaption. Larger-than-life disembodied voices are all the rage when it comes to villains, especially stern-sounding and robotic female voices. With that in mind, Sigourney Weaver could fill the role of Mother Brain by bringing a sense of stern gravitas.
Samus’s arch-nemesis Ridley needs an appropriately menacing tone, and my pick for this would be Josh Brolin, who has proven that he can voice the most dangerous of galactic threats. Rounding out the galactic casting would be Jim Carrey as recurring boss character Kraid. His deeper tones would add weight for the more serious scenes, but then the character could also slip into a touch of comedy when Kraid inevitably gets frustrated at losing to Samus repeatedly.
Which actors would you cast if you were casting a Nintendo movie?