John Leguizamo is a talented actor, writer, and producer known for his roles in iconic movies like "Super Mario Bros (1993)", Carlito's Way," "Moulin Rouge," and "Ice Age." However, despite his success and popularity, he remains a vocal advocate for greater representation of Puerto Ricans in Hollywood. Recently, Leguizamo made headlines when he announced that he would not be watching the new Super Mario Bros movie due to the lack of Puerto Rican representation in the film.
The newly released Super Mario Bros (2023) movie features a star-studded voice cast, including Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser.
Despite the impressive cast, Leguizamo expressed his disappointment that no Puerto Rican actors were included in the film. In an interview with The Root, Leguizamo said, "They can't find one Puerto Rican to be in 'Super Mario Bros?' It's not like we're not out there."
Leguizamo's frustration is not unwarranted. According to a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only 4.5% of all speaking roles in Hollywood movies from 2007 to 2019 went to Latinx actors. Furthermore, a 2020 report by the National Hispanic Media Coalition found that Latinx actors were severely underrepresented in the animation industry.
Leguizamo has been a longtime advocate for greater representation of Puerto Ricans and Latinx people in Hollywood. In 2018, he wrote, directed, and starred in the one-man show "Latin History for Morons," which explored the contributions of Latinx people throughout history. The show was critically acclaimed and won a Tony Award for Best Play.
Leguizamo's refusal to watch the Super Mario Bros movie is a reminder that representation matters. It is essential that Hollywood recognizes the diversity of its audience and works to include all voices and perspectives in its films and television shows. As Leguizamo has shown, it only takes one person to make a difference and create change in Hollywood.
Though this may initially seem like a strange stance to take, given that the main characters in the fantasy universe of Super Mario Bros. are Italian plumbers, Chris Pratt isn't Italian, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.