TWO OF THE GOOD GUYS

DEN­ZEL WASHINGTON AND CHRIS PRATT JOIN FORCES IN A RE­MAKE OF THE MAG­NIF­I­CENT SEVEN

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY SPENCER • COVER AND OPEN­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY JOHN RUSSO

Mis­fit” is not the word that comes to mind when think­ing about Den­zel Washington, 61, or Chris Pratt, 37. Washington, a two-time Academy Award win­ner, has been play­ing gritty, grip­ping char­ac­ters for four decades in films like

Train­ing Day and Flight. Pratt rose to fame as the goofy guy on TV’s Parks and Re­cre­ation in 2009 be­fore mov­ing into breezy block­buster film roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and Juras­sic World. Now the two head­line The Mag­nif­i­cent

Seven, a Western that hits the­aters Sept. 23, which Pratt de­scribes as “seven mis­fit per­son­al­i­ties all com­ing to­gether to fight for some­thing that’s big­ger than them­selves.”

They are joined by Ethan Hawke, Peter Sars­gaard, Matt Bomer, Vin­cent D’Onofrio and Ha­ley Ben­nett in the re­make of the iconic 1960 film, which it­self was a re­make of the 1954 Ja­panese film Seven Sa­mu­rai.

The movie was filmed just north of Ba­ton Rouge, La., in the scorch­ing summer of 2015. The two “mis­fits” sat down with Pa­rade to talk about their char­ac­ters, their fam­i­lies ( Washington is a fa­ther of four with his wife of 33 years, Pauletta; Pratt has been mar­ried to ac­tress Anna Faris for seven years, and they have one son, 3-yearold Jack) and what it was like to play cowboys in the blaz­ing summer heat.

Did you both grow up watch­ing West­erns?

Washington: Sun­day nights, we watched Ed Sul­li­van, I think at 8, and then we watched Bo­nanza— and I knew when that went off, you had to go to bed. But every week we got to watch this Western fam­ily. It was a cool world, and they had power— they owned the Pon­derosa. Lit­tle Joe had his gun kind of

side­ways, Hoss was knockin’ peo­ple out.

Pratt: My dad was a big fan [of West­erns], and grow­ing up it never con­nected with me. But now that I’m a dad—and I don’t know if it’s a com­bi­na­tion of my dad be­ing gone and me try­ing to get back to find­ing him—but I re­ally em­braced it four or five years ago.

Den­zel, your char­ac­ter Sam Chisolm is a bounty hunter; Chris, your Josh Far­ra­day is a gam­bler—but they both want to fight to help this town. Are Sam and Josh good guys or bad guys?

Pratt: I think my char­ac­ter is some­body who for a long time in his life was con­vinced he was bad. I think when a per­son thinks they’re bad, they let them­selves do things that are bad. And then when they re­al­ize they’re good, they feel guilty for the things they’ve done. That was where I felt this char­ac­ter prob­a­bly lived.

Washington: You ap­pre­ci­ate some­one who knows the dif­fer­ence—who de­cides to do the right thing even know­ing what the con­se­quences are go­ing to be. That’s a hero.

So what’s more fun, play­ing the good guy or the bad guy?

Pratt: There’s a funny thing I heard about act­ing: When you play a vil­lain, you have to imag­ine in your mind that you’re the good guy, and when you’re the good guy, you have to fear in your mind that you may be the vil­lain. A good vil­lain is like, “What I’m do­ing is right. These peo­ple need to die.” That’s what makes a vil­lain com­pli­cated—that in their mind, they’re do­ing the right thing.

Washington: The bad guy is a lot of fun. But these guys are both—they’re good guys that have done bad things.

Pratt: Ooh, that was good: They’re good guys who have done bad things. I don’t think I’ve ever had the op­por­tu­nity to play the bad guy. Hope­fully I’ll play one, one time. [In this film] I think he wants other peo­ple to be­lieve he’s bad. Or . . . oh, God, am I the vil­lain, think­ing I’m a hero? Oh no!

Chris, your Guardians of

the Galaxy char­ac­ter, Peter Quill, was sort of a space cow­boy. Do you think he’s sim­i­lar to your Mag­nif­i­cent

Seven char­ac­ter?

Pratt: I think Peter is stunted emo­tion­ally as a child, and I don’t think that is the case with Far­ra­day. There’s some­thing sim­i­lar in him, but it’s not in­ten­tional—that’s just al­ways go­ing to hap­pen when I play a role, be­cause part of me is go­ing to come through those char­ac­ters. I guess they’re both in­cred­i­bly hand­some.

Washington: [Laughs] And hon­est.

Pratt: And hum­ble—most im­por­tant, hum­ble. I did see this as an option to do some­thing un­like any­thing I’d done be­fore.

Chris, you started out on Parks and Rec as the funny guy, and now you’re play­ing this role, which is about as “man’s man” as it gets. Did you plot that path?

Pratt: No, I did not. I re­ally didn’t. It’s about 16 years I’ve been act­ing, and the first 70, 80 per­cent of that, I was au­di­tion­ing for ev­ery­thing. If they said yes, I did it! That was my rule. [But] this film was some­thing I wanted to do.

What about you, Den­zel? If you could only play the good guy or bad guy for the rest of your ca­reer . . .

Washington: I don’t think I’ve played a goofy, funny man. I gotta work on that.

You both had to de­velop your cow­boy skills for this film. Had ei­ther of you been on horses this much be­fore?

Washington: I never rode this much. There was a whole lot of, “And . . . cut!”

Pratt: [In his “di­rec­tor’s voice”] “All right, Chris, let’s do it again. Is there any way you can not look ter­ri­fied? Re­mem­ber, Far­ra­day is not pet­ri­fied of horses.”

How much prac­tice did you need for the gun­sling­ing and twirling?

Pratt: We have to give credit to a gen­tle­man by the name of Thell Reed, who is a world cham­pion gun­slinger and fast-draw shooter who’s been around so long that at 15 years old, he was on The

Ed Sul­li­van Show. I mean, the guy’s awe­some. Ev­ery­one was prac­tic­ing gun twirling.

Washington: You had the guns a lot, so you were al­ways fid­dling around. They be­come a part of you.

What was the hard­est part about film­ing?

Washington and Pratt: The heat.

Washington: It was 100 every day. And me: black man, black hat, black shirt, black vest, black pants, black socks, black boots, black sad­dle on a black horse. It was mean!

Pratt: “Den­zel! Do you mind stand­ing over there? It’s about 20 de­grees hot­ter around you and your horse right now.” One day we did this bat­tle scene with a big ac­tion se­quence: I sprint, take two shots; sprint 50 yards, take two more shots. I drank maybe 25 bot­tles of wa­ter and sweated them all out! I sweated through three wardrobe

Den­zel Washington and Chris Pratt en­dured scorch­ing Louisiana heat while shoot­ing The Mag­nif­i­cen­tSeven.

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