[Opinion] - Should Nick Offerman Play Super Mario?

A couple weeks ago, I was enjoying my annual viewing of Super Mario Bros, starring Bob Hoskins. You really shouldn't watch that movie more than once a year, otherwise your brain might start leaking out your ears. It... is not good. Yet, I think it is perhaps my favourite utterly terrible film. There is an undeniable car wreck to the film, plus Denis Hopper is having a pretty fun time as Koopa. As I'm watching it, two thoughts strayed across my mind, as they always do. One) it was a shame that the film sucked as hard as it did, because a good Mario movie would probably be a lot of fun. And B) Bob Hoskins looks like Mario climbed himself out of a cartridge and came to life. He is the spitting image, and the best possible actor to play him. Then I went about my life.

But then, twist of twists, came some unexpected news: Nintendo was open to the possibility of adapting their franchises to film. This represents a huge turnaround in policy, a 22 year old policy that has been in place since Super Mario Bros was released. The movie was so horrible, and did so horribly, that the Nintendo corporation was scared from allowing any of their other properties to be adapted, less they diminish the brand that Nintendo has cultivated (of endlessly recycling the same nine titles over and over in minorly variate ways). In the modern era of nostalgia drive reboots, the absence of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, even Kirby from the big screen is somewhat glaring. These are titles that seem like they should be thrown into the meat grinder of modern cinema, in one form or another.

One of the pieces of information released during the Sony Hack was that Avi Arad, the man who essentially killed Spider-man at that studio, was courting Nintendo about the potential for a series of animated films based on their properties. This more recent and official announcement sees Nintendo partnering with Universal to bring their properties to theme parks, which might be a prelude to making films, either animated or live action. Personally, I think Mario has a lot of potential as a film. It could be done as a straight forward, Beowulf-style epic. Or it could take a Lego Movie-esque irreverent bend. Animation certainly seems the safer way to go, considering the previous foyer into live action, but live action might be the more exciting of the two. And when thinking about who might possibly have the right stuff to replace Hoskins' perfect portrayal (in an imperfect film), it seems that there is only one reasonable option: Nick Offerman.

Hit the jump as I run down the evidence in favour of Offerman being the man we need to save the mushroom kingdom.

So let's get the most obvious out of the way straight off, shall we...

Mario's defining attribute is his upper lip foliage. Well, that and his hat. Putting Mario on screen without his mustache would be like... doing something utterly ridiculous. Offerman has perhaps the most prestigious soup strainer of his generation of actors. He has in fact been proven proficient in all forms of facial hair growth, leading some to believe that he is in fact part Sasquatch*.

Historically, Mario is a plumber. This vocation was really a side effect of the fact that the original Mario game took place in a sewer, and featured turtles crawling out of pipes. His plumbing background hasn't really played a role in the series since, but Nintendo has never played it down. Has Offerman shown his ability to adequately portray a plumber before?

Hey did you know that before Mario was a plumber, he was a carpenter? It's true. Plumbing was added to the character because of all the pipes in Super Mario Bros., but the original Donkey Kong series took place in a construction yard, and Mario used a hammer as a defensive tool. Now, I don't quite know if Offerman would be able to convincingly portray a carpenter but...

Right... Sorry.

Moving on. Sure he has the mustache, but Mario also wears very specific workman's garb: cap and overalls. Will Offerman look natural in such an outfit?

Check and check (also, the video from which that image comes from is more than worth a look).

So, let's move away from the aesthetic, which Offerman has clearly nailed, and move on to the environment that Mario often finds himself in. The Mushroom kingdom is a varied wilderness of climate regions. So... in the woods, how does he fair?

On or near water?

How about winter?

Is there any way to speed this up?

Well, that settles that. Shifting gears, the Mushroom Kingdom is a treacherous place. Mario needs to be able to conquer his enemies by shrewdly eliminating all manner of sentient fungus, flying turtles and cloud-riding bomb droppers. Any idea how he might handle himself in such a situation?

Ah ha. Hmm... Perhaps the most iconic of Mario's associated images is the mushrooms that he uses to give himself power. How might Offerman fair with that requirement?

Less than positive, but not a deal breaker. OK, stars! Mario famously collects stars. They protect him, and occasionally save the galaxy. Does he have any experience with stars?

Well... those aren't stars... But at least he as experience with cartoonish avatars. And any of those could easily be used as a discus to hurl at approaching turtles. Soooo... I guess we'll count that one.

Let's shift focus to his friends and family. Mario was originally a silent protagonist, and while he occasionally speaks, he is still mostly stoic. Any problems foreseen there?

Mario shares the majority of his adventures with his brother, Luigi (for who the only person that springs to mind as a natural fit would be Sam Elliot). Any chance he'd have a problem keeping a brother around, in a lesser role of course.

For years, Mario has been ever faithful to Peach, his one true love and source of constant encouragement (in that, she keeps getting kidnapped, thus forcing Mario to better himself by facing the challenges that result in retrieving her). Offerman's affection for his wife, Megan Mullally is well know, but is love something he could adequately convey?

Yoshi is Mario's faithful steed - or best friend, that much has never really been clear - but riding around on the back of a dinosaur is perhaps the most unnatural position Offerman could be put in, when taking on the role. Surely he has no experience gracing the back of a prehistoric creature?

Truly, Nick Offerman is a renaissance man...

As final evidence towards the entirely reasonable belief that Nick Offerman is the only valid choice for playing Super Mario, I give you the fact that I am not the first one this has occurred to. As artist Average J demonstrates, even at his most ridiculous, Offerman would still bring a quite dignity to Nintendo's most cherished creation:

That's all the proof I need. How about you? Anything you want to add?

* I've been informed that no one believes this.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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