Seth Rogen Fought to Put The Donkey Kong Rap in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Seth Rogen pushed to include the “DK Rap” in The Super Mario Bros. Movie—and got to take his love for Rainbow Road to the big screen.

Seth Rogen's Donkey Kong in The Super Mario Bros Movie
Photo: Illumination / Universal

“He’s the leader of the bunch, you know him well, he’s finally back to kick some tail.” That’s right, Seth Rogen is lending his voice to Donkey Kong to this week’s The Super Mario Bros Movie animated feature from Illumination Entertainment, and he’s brought with him a famous (of sorts) ‘90s rap. The actor confirms as much when we ask if there was an iconic line or catchphrase he got to say as Donkey Kong.

“I pushed hard for the [“DK Rap”] to be in the movie,” Rogen reveals to Den of Geek. The rap that Rogen refers to is the one from the Donkey Kong 64, a 1999 N64 release and DK’s first solo game as a 3D platformer. The song, which was written for that game and was featured heavily in the marketing, is about Donkey Kong and his friends, and it would play each time the game boots up. Later, the rap was re-recorded for Super Smash Mario Bros. Melee, the second Smash Bros. game released on the GameCube in 2001.

“I remember literally pulling it up on YouTube on my phone during one of the first recording sessions and demanding they allow me to sing it,” the actor recounts. What he didn’t expect was for it to end up in the movie. 

When it came to voicing Donkey Kong, the actor utilized his natural voice and adds that it is really more about the character than anything else. “To me, the character, the dynamic is separate from the voice. And the idea of the character being someone who kind of was this cocky kind of guy who’s secretly really self-conscious that his dad doesn’t like him,”. Seth goes on to talk about the rivalry between DK and Mario (played by Chris Pratt), which is inspired by the lore of video games, “[Donkey Kong] is annoyed by Mario, and really doesn’t like that he’s stuck with Mario.”

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As has been confirmed by early reviews, the film will have plenty of easter eggs for fans of the games. On the final movie poster, the iconic Mario Kart course, Rainbow Road, was prominently featured along with Mario, Princess Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong, and Cranky Kong racing down the course in their respective vehicles. Rogen, who’s a longtime player of the game says he’s always been a fan of the prismatic roadway.

“My favorite course was always Rainbow Road,” says Rogen, “which is why that sequence in the movie was so exciting to me.” The actor continues, “Honestly, that was a selling point to me.” When talking to directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic for the first time about the project, they mentioned the course would be a major set piece to Rogen. In that instant, Rogen realized, “That sounds like something I’d like to be a part of.”

The cast got to play in a game of Mario Kart against each other, too, and castmate Jack Black (who plays Bowser) “beat us all handily,” Rogen reveals. When it comes to Rogen’s top choice of Mario Kart items, his picks are the triple red shells and the lightning (also known as the storm, shock, or thunderbolt). “Mario Kart is to stop your friends from winning.” says Rogen.

It was a treat to see the Mushroom Kingdom come to life on the big screen. The Super Mario Bros Movie is a delightful film, great for all ages with plenty of easter eggs to satisfy the fans. Paired with the cinematic soundtrack by Brian Tyler, there’s no video game curse holding back this movie. Or as Rogen would put it: “It’s so much better than that other one from 1993.” 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is in theaters now.