Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is quite recognizable, mostly because it’s just Rogen’s normal voice. And that was on purpose, according to the actor.
Rogen told Comic Book that he has just one voice — his own — as he’s shown in other animated films like Sausage Party, Kung Fu Panda 3, and Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the latter of which seemed to poke fun at Rogen’s similar performances. So if the team wanted another impression from him, they were going to have to go to someone else. However, he said he made that clear from the jump.
“I was very clear, I don’t do voices,” said Rogen. “And if you want me to be in this movie, it’s gonna sound like me and that’s it. And that was the beginning and end of that conversation. I was like, ‘If you want Donkey Kong to sound a lot like me, I’m your guy.’ But it did seem to work.”
Rogen went on, talking about how he dove into how the gorilla just doesn’t like Mario that much and how that relationship affected his performance.
“I think in the film and in the game I think all you really know about Donkey Kong is that he throws barrels and he does not like Mario very much,” said Rogen. “That’s honestly kind of what I ran with was this idea that he hates Mario, that they are kind have like an adversarial relationship, that he’s annoyed by him, that he doesn’t want to be stuck with him, that he wishes he was on this adventure without him. To me that was, that was funny and that was kind of the root of the character and it was kind of born of the mythology of the games.”
Chris Pratt has come under similar scrutiny, as his Mario voice isn’t too far from his own natural speaking voice. However, he recently noted that that traditional Charles Martinet Mario voice wouldn’t play in a feature film.