This weekend (Sep 22–24) the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo will give fans the opportunity to get their geek on and meet and listen to some of the stars and creators of their favourite films, TV shows, and comics. One of the guests we are delighted to welcome is Charles Martinet, who is best known as the voice of Mario and his work with Nintendo. WHERE Edmonton recently interviewed the talented and delightful Martinet about his work and upcoming visit to Edmonton.
WHERE Edmonton (W): What do you love about being a voice actor?
Charles Martinet (CM): It’s what I absolutely love to do. You get to do all these characters and create them off the top of your head and just have fun. When you actually do the character, like my favourite character in the world like Mario, you get to become that character when you’re doing the job. To me, Mario is so full of happiness and fun. He’s got a sense of adventure and this positivity, facing adversity with a (imitates Mario) “Here we gooo!” Every bit of acting is always exploring dimensions of yourself, so I hope I have that level of optimism.
W: You’ve always stipulated that your main principles in life are to be happy and kind and to have fun. How do you continue to maintain and promote these principles after so many years in the industry?
CM: It’s so easy. Because when someone says, “Hey, would you do the Mario voice?” and I go, “Here we gooo!” and I see them smile, that makes me just absolutely joyful and excited about it. It keeps the character fresh and young and alive in me. (Mario voice) “It’s-a me, Mario!” At the Edmonton Expo, I’ll be giving autographs and taking pictures with people, and I don’t just stand there to take the picture. I say, “Let’s make Mario poses and go ‘Whoopeeeee!’ together.” I sometimes look up when I’m autographing and I’ll do the voices, and I see the smiles on people’s faces and that keeps the character forever new and fun.
W: Is that your favourite part about attending conventions and expos?
CM: I love everything about it, to tell you the truth. I love seeing people in costumes that they’ve designed. Some of these people spend a whole year making the perfect Princess Peach or Princess Daisy or Rosalinda or Mario, Luigi, Waluigi—their favourite character or some character from an anime, or some people are hopping around in a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume. It’s so spectacular—I love that. It’s people having fun. And being immersed in this place of total joy and fun, it’s really just the greatest experience. It’s my favourite way to have a weekend.
W: You have a spotlight panel scheduled for the Saturday. Do you know what sorts of topics or content fans can expect to hear discussed?
CM: I will talk about my life and getting the job of Mario and the joy of doing it. I always like to start by saying thank you, because, really, it is the enthusiasm of the people who love Mario games, anime, and sci-fi that allow us the opportunity to connect with you and to go around the world. To be appreciated for what you love to do is just such an amazing pleasure. And of course, I’ll take any questions about my career and my life. It’s always so fun to connect with people.
W: What’s your favourite game that you’ve created?
CM: (imitates Mario) “Super Mario Odyssey!” I’m so in love with that game. I can’t wait until it comes out! Although, I will warn you, every time I see a game for the first time or play it for the first time, it becomes my favourite of all time… But Super Mario Odyssey is a very marvelous, hallmark game. It’s amazing. If you think in terms of the longevity of Mario games and Zelda games, the passion and fun of Nintendo comes out… The way that the game is put together, it has a level of integrity that’s just magnificent.
W: If you weren’t a voice actor, what do you think you’d be doing, to bring you this level of joy that you’ve found?
CM: This summer, I was in London, and there was this Eastern European guy who was outside one of the museums. He had a bucket and two poles and this string tied between the poles with little loops in it, and he would dip that into his bucket and, as he pulled it up, hundreds of bubbles would go flying over London to the absolute elation and squeals of joy of all these beautiful children who were watching. Everybody was so happy and would stop and watch. Even the most stodgy adults couldn’t resist the temptation of poking the bubbles… I would want to find a way to bring that kind of joy, and I would definitely go out and get a bucket and two poles to do that. To do what you love to do in your life and to bring some sense of happiness to people is such an amazing and unique privilege. It’s something I just fell into—I didn’t know anything about Mario or Nintendo. I only knew that I wanted to be happy and to bring smiles to people.
W: What’s one thing that fans would be surprised to learn about you?
CM: I’m pretty much an open book! My passion for travel? I love stepping on a plane. If I’m not doing a show or a video game, I get on a plane and I go somewhere because I love food, art, culture, and architecture… I have a passion for food. I will definitely be hunting for great food in Edmonton, I’ll tell you that much.
W: Where’s your favourite place that you’ve traveled?
CM: That is the impossible question. That’s like asking about my favourite Mario game—I love them all. Everywhere I go is just magnificent. It’s such an adventure, such an exploration. I love places in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, in Eastern Europe. And there’s still so much of the world I haven’t seen. So I’ll get back to you on that in 20 years!
W: Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to in Edmonton?
CM: I can’t wait to explore the restaurants! And I can’t wait, most of all, to meet Mario fans, because I am a Mario fan, too. And to hang out, take pictures, do autographs, and hear their stories and adventures is just really great. I love seeing the cosplay and seeing people having a great time. This group [The Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo] in particular really puts on a great show. They’re so caring about the fans and so energetically enthusiastic about making the experience the best it can be for everyone who comes.
Mr. Martinet’s panel, “Spotlight on Charles Martinet,” is on Saturday, September 23 at 11 am and is included with general admission. He will also be signing autographs at designated times each day. Visit the Edmonton Expo website for scheduled times and more information.