Behind the scenes there were lots of problems.
Mario’s Film Folly: The True Story Behind Hollywood’s Biggest Gaming Blunder
Directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel’s vision for the film was much darker than the Nintendo game series.
- Nintendo let us do whatever we wanted. They just put a crushing deadline on the project. The movie had to be made by a certain date, otherwise there were all these financial penalties, which added a lot of extra stress to the project.
As the production rushed toward principal photography, the directors and producers struggled to agree on a script to match the movie’s new direction. More rewrites were issued.
Not everyone shared Morton and Jankel’s vision for the film. The studio was expecting a lighthearted kids film, and most of the cast and crew had signed on with similar expectations.
The tensions between these two visions began to tear apart the production. The studio felt that the movie was too dark, pressuring Morton and Jankel to lighten the tone. Lightmotive brought in the writer from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to write yet another version of the script.
By this point, at least nine writers had worked on the film, and rewrites would continue long after the cameras started rolling. The script ballooned into a rainbow of confusion as the production crew was continually handed new color-coded daily edits.
According to a 1992 Chicago Tribune article, the crew began calling the directors derogatory names behind their back. One of their favorites was “Rocky and Annabel, the Flying Squirrel Show.”
Everyone had different ways of dealing with the frustrating production schedule. John Leguizamo [...] started drinking. [He...] started doing shots of scotch with Hoskins between scenes.
During a scene in which Leguizamo was driving a van, the actor was reportedly drunk and braked too hard, causing the sliding door to smash shut on Hoskins’ hand. During certain sequences of the film, Hoskins can briefly be seen wearing a pink cast.
Over budget, behind schedule, and managing a cast and crew that was either drunk, working off-script, or completely belligerent, Super Mario Bros. had run completely off rails.
After principle photography ended, the film’s producers tried to cut Morton and Jankel out of the picture.
Click the link to read the full article. It has much more details.
Bob Hoskins (Mario) regrets doing the film:
The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers. It was a fuckin' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! Fuckin' nightmare. Fuckin' idiots.
From John Leguizamo's (Luigi) autobiography Pimps, Hos, Playas, And the Rest of my Hollywood Friends:
But [the directors] kept trying to insert new material. They shot scenes with strippers and with other sexually-explicit content, which all got edited out anyway.