Years ago, Chris Pratt went in for a commercial audition that didn’t go so well. “I introduced myself and he looked up at me and said, ‘Do you think you’re attractive?’” Pratt recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Thank you.’ And that was it.”
Pratt can laugh now, as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World” have turned him into one of the world’s most bankable action stars and sex symbols. And through it all, Pratt still manages to keep his reputation as one of the nicest guys in the business.
“I had good parents that raised me right,” he says, when asked how he keeps a clear head in the business. “And maybe it had something to do with the fact I’m 37 and moved here when I was 20, and in those 17 years saw the benefits and cost of being an a—— play out in front of me with other people.”
In fact, Pratt admits there was a point early on where he saw stars on set being less than agreeable and worried he didn’t have what it takes. “I thought if these are the people who make it out here, I’m kind of screwed. Then I saw, over time, they didn’t end up having the best careers after all.”
This nice guy will finish first when he’s honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 21. Two weeks later, his “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” hits theaters, continuing the adventures of Star-Lord and his misfit group of space heroes.
When the first film premiered in 2014, it was a lesser-known Marvel property that caught audiences and critics off guard with just how good it was. That sets expectations high for the sequel, but Pratt isn’t worried.
|“It put a buzz on me. The fact that I resonated with (James L. Brooks) convinced other people maybe I had something special.”|
“There’s certainly a pressure now that there wasn’t before,” he notes. “But I think we’ll surpass expectations and still surprise them. The ideas and concepts and themes are so beautiful. We got to heighten the comedy and drama and adventure. I think it’s an even bigger and better movie than the first one.”
Pratt credits writer-director James Gunn, but can’t resist pointing out that Gunn didn’t originally want him to read for Star-Lord. “The casting director, Sarah Finn, actually snuck me in and from how I understand it, he said, ‘The chubby guy from “Parks and Rec?” I thought I said I didn’t want to see him.’ And she said, ‘Well, he’s outside.’”
Pratt calls casting directors the “unsung heroes” of the business and adds that he owes his career to prominent CDs and filmmakers. Francine Maisler auditioned him for the role of a baseball player in James L. Brooks 2010 film “How Do You Know.”
The part went to Owen Wilson, but, Pratt says it “put a buzz on me.” He adds of Brooks, “The fact that I resonated with him convinced other people maybe I had something special.”
Even better, when Maisler was looking to cast ballplayer Scott Hatteberg in “Moneyball,” she remembered his audition. From there, Pratt says, it was a domino effect. “Bennett Miller cast me in ‘Moneyball’ and Kathryn Bigelow saw me in that and put me in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ Then Spike Jonze put me in ‘Her,’” he says. “These were small but important roles in big, dramatic movies that all were nominated for Oscars. That’s when my career started moving away from being the big, dumb guy on ‘Parks and Rec.’”
And there are other movies that are important as well; he cites the 2011 comedy “Take Me Home Tonight” as a personal favorite, as he met his wife, Anna Faris, at the 2007 table read. The two have been married since 2009 and have one child together.
“Choosing films for me is the right combination of story and filmmaker,” he says. “And having a good team to advise you on those decisions. But part of it is a crapshoot, too. And I do feel like one of the luckiest men alive.”
What: Chris Pratt receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
When: 11:30 a.m. April 21
Where: 6834 Hollywood Blvd.