There’s not much time for daydreaming when you’re as busy as Chris Pratt. In less than three years, he has gone from underdog to full-fledged movie star, with perfectly timed leading roles in three of Hollywood’s most promising franchises,Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, and The Lego Movie. With global box office receipts for the three films approaching around US$3 billion, all wildly surpassed expectations and sparked plans for sequels.
Pratt is currently busy promoting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, finishing up his scenes in Avengers: Infinity War, gearing up for the Jurassic World sequel and eyeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on the horizon.
A big change in life’s priorities
For the 37-year-old actor, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It wasn’t too long ago that Pratt and his wife, Anna Faris – star of the TV series Mom – could be more free with their choices.
“For the first part of our relationship, we put our careers at the top,” Pratt says. “We were like: ‘Honey, if you get a job and you have to go to Istanbul for six months, you’re going. I’ll help you pack. I’ll Skype with you every day. You’re living your dream, I’m living my dream. That’s what we do.’”
Now, they’ve got their four-year-old son Jack to consider, and having a handle on the next few years is helpful. They can actually plan where they will be from month to month and strategise which jobs make sense – a luxury not often afforded in Hollywood’s world of ups and downs. It also means saying no to a lot.
“There’s no one that doesn’t want Chris in their movie because he truly is the biggest movie star in the world right now,” said Guardians franchise director James Gunn. “He’s not going to say that but that’s the truth. He gets to do what he wants.”
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Pratt does have ambitions outside of the blockbuster genre. He’s written a script and would like to eventually direct something he’s written. One of his goals is to tell the stories of blue collar America. This got him into a bit of trouble recently after he told Men’s Fitness magazine that he thinks that segment is underrepresented in Hollywood movies. A barrage of snarky headlines and tweets followed quickly from many wondering why a white man might think that.
Soon after, the social media savvy Pratt tweeted that it was a “pretty stupid thing to say”. He is someone who just wants to make the people around him happy and comfortable, whether it’s on set, or through a tweet.
Before the controversy erupted, the always friendly Pratt said that one of his strengths is being able to come into a situation with “a contagious attitude worth catching”.
Comfortable in the spotlight
Pratt has the easy coolness of someone who is proud of his latest work and is comfortable in the spotlight. The film about Marvel’s intergalactic misfits was also once an underdog. After it turned out to be a hit, instead of lazily coasting on goodwill, it’s come back with just as much heart and emotional strength.
In his 17-year career in film and television, Pratt has dipped into a lot of genres that has allowed him room to hone his craft in different corners of storytelling.
He’s done sitcoms, rom-coms, sports dramas, futuristic indie breakup stories, nail-biting war films, twisted high school horrors, Westerns, space romances, space actioners and dinosaur adventures.
He’s worked with a murderers’ row of directors and writers from Kathryn Bigelow and Spike Jonze to Aaron Sorkin and Diablo Cody.
Even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which could be easily dismissed as just another superhero film, checks off a number of boxes: adventure, space opera, comedy and family melodrama.
And while this particular moment means Pratt is having to say no more than yes, he hasn’t regretted any of his choices thus far.
“I just miss fishing,” Pratt says, laughing.