Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo were so drunk while filming the 1993 box office flop that Hoskins broke his finger
Film adaptations of video game franchises have long had a bad rap, and Super Mario Bros. : the film is the main reason. The 1993 film exists as a cautionary tale of how not to handle universally beloved intellectual property.
Sometimes these kinds of disasters sneak up on filmmakers, but in the case of Super Mario Bros., the movie took such a bumpy road to theaters that no one had the slightest confidence the final version would be worth it. The way actors Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo handled being part of this instant calamity backfired so dramatically that they ended up hurting themselves.
The Super Mario Bros movie production was doomed from the start
The rights to the project were bought by Roland Joffé for two million dollars, a promising pitch and a promise to Nintendo to give them all of the merchandising from the film.
Joffé was an acclaimed director thanks to The Killing Fields and The mission, and wanted to get into film production. His idea for the film was that it would not be a “sweet little love story”, hoping to appeal to a wider audience than children or hardcore fans. Joffe’s quest was much easier said than done.
At different times, Harold Ramis, Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Hanks have all agreed to be in Super Mario Bros., but they all dropped out in part due to script concerns.
The first writer to try it is rain man scribe Barry Morrow, then it was passed on to Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker, who had worked together on The Flintstones and Richie Rich.
There was also the matter of finding someone to steer this increasingly unsightly vehicle. The job eventually went to British couple Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, who were innovative with music videos and commercials, but had only one film to their name, a little-known Dennis Quaid vehicle called DO A.
Their vision was decidedly more cyberpunk and just plain weird (Bowser is the president in an alternate dimension where humans evolved from dinosaurs) than the games or the script ever were, which worried the producers. “I wanted to make a movie that would open it up and get parents interested in video games,” Morton told Game Informer in 2011, according to The Guardian.
Joffé had no interest in this and hired Ed Solomon to rewrite the script again – without telling the directors. The script became an amalgamation of several different viewpoints, and the directors lacked the experience and fluency to keep the production on a cohesive track.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that it was a tough shoot,” says Samantha Mathis, who played Princess Daisy.
“I would say Bob couldn’t stand fools willingly – he was an artist, he could see the chaos swirling around the set and the lack of clarity. I think it’s a rare thing to have two people do a movie well together – I certainly haven’t experienced that. The production just took on a life of its own.
Hoskins and Leguizamo’s attempt to drink away the pain only made things worse
The cast and crew were very aware that they were working on a bad movie. John Leguizamo, who played Luigi, admitted in his autobiography that he and Hoskins drank whiskey between takes as a coping mechanism.
They’ve learned the hard way that drinking at work is never a good idea. Hoskins broke his finger during filming, apparently after a drunken Leguizamo accelerated a van too quickly, causing the sliding door to close on Hoskins’ hand.
Amid all the chaos on set, keeping people safe stopped being a priority. In a 1993 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hoskins revealed that he was stabbed four times, electrocuted and nearly drowned during production, according to Screening.
Can Nintendo replicate its gaming success in the movie world?
The process and consequences of Super Mario Bros. : the film dissuade Nintendo from adapting one of its franchises for obvious reasons.
They return to the cinema 26 years later with Detective Pikachu. The success of this film and live action sonic the hedgehog The series convinced Nintendo to adapt Mario again in hopes of much better results.
The film has been delayed to next year and no footage has been shown publicly yet, so it’s hard to get excited about the project at this time.
All the information we have is the eyebrow-raising cast list led by Chris Pratt and Anya Taylor-Joy. We’ll have to wait and see if this version of Super Mario Bros. will be better than the first. It couldn’t be worse.
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