Making a surprise grand entrance to draw attention to himself and what he’s promoting has become commonplace for ‘Super Mario Bros.’ villain, Bowser, during his reign in Nintendo’s hit video game franchise’s acclaimed legacy since it was launched 40 years ago. Jack Black, who’s voicing the infamous character in the upcoming computer-animated film, ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie,’ which is based on the video game series, also thrives on astounding his fans in grandiose fashion in order to publicize his work.

The comedy is being produced by Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto for Nintendo. The film is being co-financed by Nintendo and Universal Pictures, the latter of which will also release the feature in theaters worldwide on April 7, 2023.

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ was written by Matthew Fogel (‘The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part,’ ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’), and is being directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (collaborators on ‘Teen Titans Go!,’ ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’). Besides Black, the comedy also stars Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.

Black generously took the time this past Thursday, October 6 to talk about lending his voice as Bowser for ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ during a surprise Q&A at the presentation panel at New York Comic Con 2022. During the presentation, Nintendo and Illumination also premiered the film’s official teaser trailer.

The Q&A began with Black sharing what his experience was like of voicing Bowser for ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie.’ “It was a lot of pressure because Bowser is known and loved by millions around the world for years. He’s one of the greatest video game villains of all time. So there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that built-in fanbase,” he noted. “But with great responsibility comes great power!”

The actor, who’s also a dedicated gamer, then delved into what his first interaction with his character was like when the game was initially released when he was a child. “One of my earliest video games memories is playing Donkey Kong at the mini-mart on the corner in Culver City, where I grew up. I would just play it for hours, as I love me some Donkey Kong and Mario!,” he revealed. “I was there in the beginning of Nintendo, so I remember when it was born!”

When then asked how much Mario has changed since it was first released, Black noted that the franchise’s evolution has been “crazy. It started with that one little game, which (has since created) an entire universe. Mario has become one of the most beloved characters in the universe, so it’s pretty rad to be a part of it now!”

Once the performer joined the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ franchise, one of the most surprising things he discovered was how versatile Bowser has become. “I thought he was just going to be this fire-blazing monster, but I realized that he also has this sensitive side. He’s got a little vulnerability and sensitivity, and that’s why he’s so furious with rage. So it was cool to see that other side of this villain when I was playing this part,” he he shared.

“One of the great things about the villains in the world is that it always seems to come from a deep, dark insecurity, and that’s kind of what I tapped into,” Black added.

While Bowser is contending with his insecurities throughout ‘The Super Mario Bros.’ franchise, like the actor mentioned, Black was able to infuse some of his heavy metal musical roots into the character. “Bowser is kind of like a heavy metal rockstar; he’s big, strong and scary. I did a bit of rocking for the movie, so I think you’ll be surprised to see that Bowser is rocking a musical side,” which garnered applause from the audience.

“I must admit – we had a lot of fun making the movie! We did a little improv, magic and music, and had good times!,” Black concluded.

Jack Black appears a the New York Comic Con 2022 presentation panel for the premiere of the official teaser trailer for ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie.’ Photo cred: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Universal Pictures.

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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