Mamma Mia! It's the voice of Mario


He's made a living jumping down pipes, hopping on mushrooms, and collecting coins.

Charles Martinet's face might not be instantly recognisable.

But when he lets out an 'uh-hoo', or 'mamma mia!', you exactly who he is.

For 20 years, this American actor has provided the voice of Mario, as well as Luigi, Wario, and a host of other Nintendo characters.

Newsbeat caught-up with him ahead of the launch of Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Newsbeat: How did you start doing video game voices?

I was an actor in theatre and started doing corporate videos.

You have an agent, and you get a call 'go do this thing', or you know someone at a studio who says 'we've got this thing going, it's like a video game'.

Twenty five years ago, when I first did voice in video games it was like, ok 'die' in 25-thousand different ways, because we only have that much memory for that much sound.

With the advent of Mario 64 and the N64, there was room for sound, and music, and three dimensions.

I've done maybe a hundred other video games over the years, but Mario is by far my favourite.

Ella via Facebook: Have you considered changing to real-life acting rather than cartoon/video games?

I've done a few films and television things.

I don't have that much time to do all those other things, but it is possible.

I'm always open to new, fun adventures.

But doing Mario's voice is such a profound joy.

What a tremendous joy in life when you do something that you love and you can see people visibly enjoying it. That's great.

Nick via Facebook: Does Mario in Japan have a different voice?

No, it's the same.

We do the recordings, usually in Seattle, Washington.

I fly up, we have a wonderful sushi lunch, then hop into the booth and start recording.

It's from a script, but we also do improvisation.

Ben via Facebook: Do you know anything about boilers? Mine needs fixing.

Image source, Other
Image caption,
Charles lacks the plumbing skills of Mario and Luigi

I don't know anything about those things.

I had some real-estate that I was trying to fix up.

As I fixed some running toilets, I thought, I'm not bad at this.

Then I met one that was my match.

I never got it to work, and ended-up having to get a real plumber in.

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