PRE­CIOUS MO­MENTS

Get­ting emo­tional with the Star-Lord him­self.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar - BY SARAH LAING

the last time Chris Pratt cried, it was over the tra­gic end of some­one who doesn’t even ex­ist.

“I’m read­ing the sec­ond book in Ken Fol­lett’s Cen­tury tril­ogy, and I just got very emo­tional about a char­ac­ter that died,” con­fesses Pratt over the phone from Los An­ge­les. Other things that have re­cently moved the 37-yearold? The films Moon­light and Cap­tain Fan­tas­tic.

Pratt has made his rep­u­ta­tion as a nice guy (typ­i­cal re­ac­tion to the name Chris Pratt: “Oh, I love him! He’s so cute”), so it’s no sur­prise that in con­ver­sa­tion he is ge­nial, although he’s a lit­tle less wise­cracky than you’d ex­pect from his goofy In­sta­gram ac­count or con­sis­tently hi­lar­i­ous latenight-show ap­pear­ances. What is sur­pris­ing is how squishy he is: sin­cere, sweet and just a lit­tle bit sen­ti­men­tal. I mean, prac­ti­cally the first words out of his mouth are about the emo­tional res­o­nance of his new ac­tion-ad­ven­ture film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. “This se­quel is far deeper emo­tion­ally,” says Pratt, who re­turns as Peter Quill/Star-Lord—a.k.a. the role that trans­formed him, seem­ingly overnight, from dad-bod adorbs in Parks and Re­cre­ation to a six-pack-flash­ing ac­tion hot­tie. “There are some dra­matic take-aways from this movie: the idea that the thing we’ve al­ways wanted is right in front of us and how re­la­tion­ships can be valu­able in spite of be­ing com­pli­cated.”

His film roles aren’t the only thing Pratt has a sim­ple love for. He has been a coun­try-music fan since high school, and he doesn’t care if you judge him for it. “I gotta be me, you know?” laughs Pratt when ribbed for his down-home taste, which in­cludes Ge­orge Strait and Garth Brooks. “I’m not a con­nois­seur, but music has a pro­found im­pact on me. I’m a guy who, when I find an artist I like, lis­tens to the same al­bum on re­peat for about a year. Right now, it’s every­thing by a band called NEEDTOBREATHE.”

Pratt, who’s mar­ried to ac­tress Anna Faris, is work­ing hard to pass along that love of twan­gin’ chords to his son. Too bad four-year-old Jack is having none of it. “It was a tra­di­tion for me to play coun­try music for him, and he’d po­litely say ‘Yeah, Dad, let’s lis­ten to some coun­try music.’ But re­cently he said that he knew of a band that I didn’t. He said: ‘They’re called the Arc­tic Mon­keys. It’s rock music, so you prob­a­bly haven’t heard of them.’”

In re­sponse to his son’s as­sess­ment, Pratt says that he has worked hard to re­deem his “elec­tric gui­tar” music cred, play­ing the likes of Jimi Hen­drix and Led Zep­pelin in the car for Jack to head­bang to. As for what his son might think of his dad’s own cool sta­tus? “He doesn’t re­ally have an­other per­spec­tive, be­cause this is the re­al­ity he knows,” says Pratt, his na­tive Min­nesota ac­cent still pro­nounced after all these years in Cal­i­for­nia. “It has al­ways been the case that his mom and I work as ac­tors. I’ve heard him say to other kids that his dad is Star-Lord, and I try to dis­cour­age that. But it’s re­ally just Dad be­ing Dad do­ing what Dad does. If any­thing, he’s a lit­tle an­noyed that I have to hit the road so of­ten for my job.”

Pratt de­scribes his ca­reer as a “slow burn, a fairly in­cre­men­tal climb for 15 or 16 years that felt pretty glacial at times.” Over the past four or five years, how­ever, he has had a strato­spheric tran­si­tion from be­ing a well-liked TV funny guy to a le­git­i­mate box-of­fice head­liner. One of the biggest things Pratt has no­ticed, now that he’s a star, is how much nicer peo­ple are, and it’s some­thing he doesn’t take for granted. “Once, I was talk­ing to Jim Car­rey and he said, ‘How for­tu­nate are we that we’re al­ways go­ing to meet the best ver­sion of that per­son?’ And, you know, that’s true. Peo­ple tend to be on their best be­hav­iour when they meet a celebrity. We’re just peo­ple who have ex­tra­or­di­nary jobs.”

There is a flip side to that, how­ever, that makes the af­fa­ble Pratt mad. “From time to time, I’ll catch some­one act­ing like a real jerk with some­one else but act­ing re­ally nice with me. That al­ways both­ers me, when I get treated a cer­tain way by some­one and then one of those peo­ple will treat their waiter like an ass­hole.”

Feel­ing this sort of out­rage on an­other’s be­half started young for Pratt, and, in a cir­cu­lar way, it has a lot to do with why he does the work that he does now. “When I was a kid, I bawled my eyes out watch­ing the minis­eries Roots and peo­ple get­ting beat up in the film Full Me­tal Jacket,” he says. “You learn em­pa­thy with movies like that. You see char­ac­ters go through things and feel emo­tions. That’s a good thing.”

So go ahead: Shed a tear while watch­ing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It’s what Chris would do.

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