I caught up with the voice actors for Princess Peach and Bowser, Samantha Kelly and Kenny James, during their appearance at the Big Texas Comic Con in San Antonio, Texas. Samantha debuted as the voice of Peach in 2007’s Mario Strikers Charged while Kenny started a few years earlier providing voice-overs for Bowser starting with 2005’s Super Mario Strikers.
Of course, Nintendo voice actors are a hot topic right now with the recent announcement that Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Seth Rogan, and more will be providing voices for Illumination’s as of yet untitled Super Mario Bros. movie. The casting created a lot of controversy, so I had to see what these two veteran voice actors had to say about it.
Both Kenny and Samantha confirmed that they have not recorded new material for the film nor have they been approached about it, but they did give their honest reactions to the casting announcement.
Samantha Kelly on the Mario Movie
Retro Informer: What do you think of the choice for the Super Mario Bros. Movie’s voice actors?
Samantha Kelly: I’m kinda excited. I think it’s going to be fun, and in some ways, like because they picked such big name people, it means people who maybe haven’t even played the game or who aren’t interested in it, may be interested in the actors, and then they come. So to me it’s like just more people getting interested.
Retro Informer: It was mentioned that Charles Martinet is going to make some kind of a cameo, will you be making one as well?
Samantha Kelly: I haven’t been invited yet so I don’t know, I doubt it, or I think they would have already… you know, but I guess you never know. I’m going to love it anyway. I mean I know all of the games so I’d just like to go to the movie. It will be fun.
Retro Informer: How many games have you been on so far? Your list goes pretty deep!
Samantha Kelly: It is! It’s so long. I don’t even know how many. I was telling someone today that a lot of times I’ll go into Nintendo and they’ll record several games at a time so I don’t have any clue. I don’t know how many games I’ve done. I think I’ve been doing it since 2007 so it’s a lot. Though, I think it’s like 17 or something games.
Retro Informer: I think that’s an underestimate of how many you’ve actually done.
Samantha Kelly: It surprises me, because I know I haven’t gone in specifically for each one of those, but I love Nintendo because “we’ll use this, we’ll do this”, and the characters, you know, they have that same energy anyways.
Retro Informer: You voice Peach and Toad?
Samantha Kelly: I always record Peach first because Toad is Toad and after a Toad it’s very hard to do Peach.
Kenny James on the Mario Movie
Retro Informer: So I have to ask you too, any opinions on the voice actors for the new Mario movie they announced?
Kenny James: You know, at first I was like “hmm…” and then I was like “well good for Jack [Black]”. I look forward to seeing it I just hope that it doesn’t turn out like the 80’s… only animated, because it could be bad.
Retro Informer: Yeah there’s that potential for sure.
Kenny James: All the A-listers though, it’s like, “oh all the A-listers they got for this”. I mean Chris Pratt for Mario? I’m like “what just happened”? But, I’ve also been attached as additional voices so I think they’re going to wind up using some of my stuff for the reel *makes Bowser laugh*.
Retro Informer: Yeah, Charles is supposed to be doing an cameo.
Kenny James: Yeah, so I think I’m going to be in the same boat and he’s gotta feel worse than I do because he’s been Mario since the beginning. I’ve only been [Bowser] 17 years. He has like 32 years. He’s the only Mario. So he has to be going “wait, what just happened?”. So I’m just like everybody else, I’m like “I’m just waiting to see what happens”.
Live Action Super Mario Bros. Movies and Shows
If you’re wondering about what Kenny was referring to when he said ” I just hope that it doesn’t turn out like the 80’s”, you should check out the two previous attempts at turning the Mario Bros. video games characters into live action ones. While the Super Mario Bros. Super Show was an animated series, each episode did start off with a live action sequence. I interviewed Nicole Eggert about her experience on set for the series’ debut episode.
Of course, the other attempt at a live-action Mario, and probably what Kenny was referring to specifically, which was the 1993 film Super Mario Bros. It was notoriously bad, but still worth a watch just for the head scratching experience alone.