Super Mario Bros. Movie Props
“Trust the fungus!” This screen-matched Bob-omb can be seen in the Super Mario Bros. movie when the fungus offers it to Luigi (John Leguizamo).
The mono-filament attached at the top used to be covered in slimy fungus and was used to lower the Bob-omb to Luigi in that particular scene.
“Hey, look at that! What is that?” Luigi asks Mario (Bob Hoskins) as the Bob-omb appears. When Luigi reaches for it, Mario pulls him away and shouts, “Goombas! Let’s go!”
This prop is actually a modified TOMY wind-up toy that has been painted over with a matte gray finish. The gag at the end of the film, when the camera shows the Reebok logo on a Bob-omb’s feet, served to cover up the copyright information.
As for why the winding key is no longer present, Jeff Goodwin, the film’s makeup artist, explained, “The winding keys were all added to the props and were just made of paper so it did not last long on any of the props. In fact, I think it was gone by the time this one was given to me.”
The Bob-ombs, themselves, were also fragile, so it is not known how many of them survived after the production ended.
This faux snakeskin jacket was custom-made for Dennis Hopper to wear in the movie as the evil King Koopa. The wardrobe has scaly textures to evoke Koopa’s true reptilian nature. While appearing black at first glance, the jacket is truly more of a dark blue color. Eerily purchased mere hours before Mr. Hopper’s passing, it is customary to whisper “…Bob-omb!” in memory of the late great actor after viewing this iconic piece. Please pay your respects now.
The creator of the Super Mario series, Shigeru Miyamoto, cites Easy Rider, which was directed by Hopper, as a “great influence” on him. The same cannot be said about this movie.
In his autobiography, John Leguizamo, who played Luigi, wrote, “Oh man that movie sucks. And I suck in it.” Bob Hoskins (Mario) singled out the movie to be “the worst thing I ever did,” calling the experience “a fucking nightmare,” and the film’s directors, “fucking idiots.”
It has been said that much of the turmoil on the set can be linked back to the argumentative and disjointed directing team of Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. An often told story is that Morton once took out his frustrations with the film’s costume designer by pouring scorching hot coffee on a nearby extra. That person received a burn injury as a result of the incident.
On a late night talk show, Hopper recounted a conversation that he had when one of his children asked why he had agreed to do the Super Mario movie. “I did that so you could have shoes,” Hopper told his son. To which the child replied, “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.”
This jacket was acquired from Eastern Costume Co., which obtained it directly from the movie’s costume house.
This original hand-painted maquette stands 8 inches tall and was used as a scale model to create the full-size Goombas. Super Mario Bros. was nominated for two Saturn Awards in 1993 for Best Costumes and Best Makeup.
There is no denying that the movie was a technological and artistic feat for its time. I think the film’s met with so much contempt because of disappointed fans of the game series. (When they marketed the movie with the tag line, “This Ain’t No Game,” they weren’t just being cute.) That, and because of the directors’ insistence on adding sex scenes to a Nintendo film adaptation. That, and because of the screenplay. Okay, so the hatred may be understandable.
But if you forget about the loose ties with its source material, and take the film all by itself, and then mute the television, there is some enjoyment to be found in the over-the-top Blade Runner set pieces, in this strange subterranean world where creatures roam an alternate-dimensional Manhattan called Dinohattan.
The maquette comes from Patrick Tatopoulos Studios. Tatopoulos is credited for working as a conceptual artist on the film.
This is the chair back that Dennis Hopper used on the set of Super Mario Bros. If Nintendo Power is to be believed, the movie’s stars sat and played the Game Boy and the Super Nintendo during breaks in filming. John Leguizamo’s autobiography tells another tale, however, one in which they drank bottles of scotch. To get through the making of the movie, Bob Hoskins and Leguizamo would routinely get drunk on the set. With enough effort, one can still smell the lingering tinge of hard liquor (and even harder regrets) embedded in the embroidery of this chair back.
The next time you sit down to the film, if there is a next time, keep in mind that all of the principal actors that you’re watching were most likely inebriated during their scenes. Doing this makes the acting appear that much more credible.
The chair back was obtained from David E. Harshbarger, a Hollywood prop master who worked with Dennis Hopper on several occasions.