x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

With Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt has gone from supporting cast member to superhero leading man

The American actor used to specialise in second-banana roles but has emerged as the star of a blockbuster action film.

Chris Pratt at the European premiere of Guardians Of The Galaxy at The Empire Leicester Square in London. Dave J Hogan / Getty Images
Chris Pratt at the European premiere of Guardians Of The Galaxy at The Empire Leicester Square in London. Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

The unexpectedly massive success of Guardians of the Galaxy has turned Chris Pratt into one of Hollywood’s biggest action-movie stars.

It is an incredible transformation – in more ways than one – for the 35-year-old actor, who was previously best-known for his humorous roles as a loveable sidekick.

With a buffed-up physique far removed from that of his cuddly character Andy Dwyer on TV’s Parks and Recreation, Pratt is both cocky and dorky as Peter Quill, who is also known as Star-Lord, the unlikely leader of a band of outcasts who find themselves landed with the job of saving the galaxy.

Ahead of today’s release of the film, he talks about trusting his fanboy director, the humiliation of auditioning for action roles and the ability to provide for his wife, the actress Anna Faris, and their two-year-old son, now that he’s a leading man.

How did you deal with the big responsibility of establishing a franchise for Marvel?

Most of the responsibility falls on James Gunn, as our director and trusted leader. James was the perfect guy to do it because he is a huge fanboy himself. He was able to guide us in terms of justifying certain things. He will say, ‘You can’t do that, that wouldn’t make sense’. And I say, ‘There’s a talking raccoon standing next to me. Why does that make sense?’ And he’s like, ‘Trust me!’ – and so I did.

Did you have any doubts about taking on this role?

Yes I did. The casting director contacted my manager a couple of times before I was willing to go in and read for it. At the time, it was a little cloudy in terms of defining myself as an actor. I didn’t know who I was and what I was capable of doing. I had done a lot of sidekick characters. I had put on a lot of weight over the eight years I had been with my wife. We’d been in love and eating fabulous food and I was getting more work than before by playing the schlubby sidekick characters. I had been embarrassed doing auditions where I was 35 or 30 pounds overweight and I wasn’t mentally or physically sharp. Like GI Joe – I could see their eyes glaze over halfway through the audition, and that hurts your feelings.

You were born in 1979, so what do you think about the film’s 1970s soundtrack?

This movie has a great soundtrack. It definitely sets a tone and creates a sentimental feeling. Even though I wasn’t around for the 1970s, I feel like I know what the 1970s felt like because it really was defined by its music. Back then, it was really one kind of awesome, progressive music. I think it was a brilliant choice to thread this movie with that great music.

What does this role mean for your career now?

It’s definitely opened the door for me to play a more leading-man character. I got the role in Jurassic World because of the buzz about this character before anything was released about this movie. People were willing to take my phone calls or my agent’s phone calls just because I was in this. It is stability. I have a family – a wife and a child – and I think there is a likelihood that I’ll be working for this company for maybe a decade. That is nice because in this business, you don’t always know what your next job is going to be. I think it really works and it is a new kind of tone that I think a lot of people are going to attempt. So maybe that means that if this tone is something people were hungry for, I’ll be able to do more movies that are similar to it. But then again, it probably means nothing.

* Reuters