It's weird to listen to Chris Pratt talk about roles he didn't get, because it's hard to imagine anyone not wanting Chris Pratt in a movie right now. Pratt has become so popular that he's starting to tread into "national treasure"-type territory. He's also right on the cusp of shedding his sidekick/co-star status (a role he tackles in this weekend's "Delivery Man") for a spot that's a little bit higher on the marquee: He's the lead of next August's Marvel movie, "Guardians of the Galaxy," and is rumored as the possible male lead in "Jurassic World." It's a transition Pratt seems aware of, though he says he's not taking anything for granted.
Speaking of shedding, it's almost alarming to see just how big Pratt was while filming "Delivery Man" (he had gained weight for the role) as opposed to the sleek version we have seen recently on "Parks & Recreation." In "Delivery Man," Pratt is the comic relief for what isn't a typical "Vince Vaughn Movie": Vaughn plays a man who, through sperm donation, is now the father of more than 500 children. The movie mostly tries to tug at heartstrings, though, and not aim for laughs.
When I first saw you on screen I was taken aback. You don't look like the guy I've been seeing lately...
[Laughs] Thanks, man.
I've heard you actually gained weight for this role.
That's the truth.
And then you lost it all for "Guardians of the Galaxy"?
All that, plus more.
Is it weird looking at yourself on screen since you look drastically different right now?
Yeah. It's sort of weird. I look a lot different now, but, you know, I saw some stills recently of me in a bathrobe and, I mean, I was rocking like a 44-inch waist. I got to almost 300 pounds. I was like 295 at my highest. So that is a lot for me. That's about 50 pounds higher than my median average. And I've been sort of gaining and losing weight over the past few years for different roles, but this was the fattest I ever got. So, I'm just glad that I'm not that big anymore -- so then I can enjoy watching it. But, if I felt like I was still that big, I'd probably be self-conscious to watch it. Knowing I got there and was able to get back down makes me proud of it.
Why did Brett need to be bigger?
I felt like, you know, people tend to wear their insides on their outsides. This was a character who is pretty brash about parenting and talking about "don't have kids" and "kids suck the life out of you and they take all of your time and they take all of your energy and they take all of your money" and "don't be a father, don't do it."
He's a sad sack.
Yeah, he's a sad sack. And I think if that character is played by someone cut with six-pack abs, you're like, "That guy is an asshole." [Laughs] You know? And it's really important for the comedy and for the tone of this movie that the character be really likable. And I think the way you make someone ultra-confident and brash and really likable, is by making them have outsides that give them away as liars.
And I was already coming off of a march toward being a little bigger because I was coming off of "Zero Dark Thirty" where I crashed and had gotten in really good shape on this crash diet. And now I was back on "Parks & Rec" and was eating a whole bunch, going in the opposite swing on that sort of diet pendulum. And this role came along and I had three months out and I just said, "I'm going to get to 300 pounds!" And everyone in my life was like, "Don't do it! Don't do it!"
That sounds dangerous.
I think it was dangerous. I don't think it's healthy at all to do that. I don't imagine I'll do it anytime soon.
This movie is a lot different than I expected. Your character is funny, but the movie as a whole isn't a traditional comedy. It's a sweeter movie than I expected.
Yeah. I agree with you. I think people will have certain expectations coming into this movie because Vince Vaughn has created a comedic brand. There's "A Vince Vaughn Movie," you know what I mean?
Well, the same can be said for you in the respect that people expect you to be in funny movies for the most part.
It's definitely not that kind of movie -- but much more so with Vince, just because I don't have as many credits as he does. And I've done different things and he has as well, but I think like from "Old School" and "Four Christmases"...
"Wedding Crashers" and all of these crazy comedic hits have a certain tone and people expect them with just him being kind of like crazy and wild and a laugh-a-minute motormouth character -- and this has more heart. It's just a different tone and it catches you off guard.
Are you enjoying your last days of playing a supporting character as opposed to the lead? Those days seem to be dwindling.
Oh, man, I don't know. Yes, I'm definitely enjoying these days, whether they're the last days of my supporting career or not, I'm absolutely enjoying myself. That is for sure.
Speaking of, I saw the "Guardians of the Galaxy" footage at Comic-Con. That went over like gangbusters...
I really think that's the movie we made, too. That's so representative of the movie we made. It's one of those things: You don't want to get too excited as an actor -- because it's happened before where I'm auditioning for something and I go in and I kill it and I know it's mine. And I get excited and I start imagining what it's going to be like to be on set and to be doing this thing and I tell my mom about it -- and they're like, "Oh, they went in a different direction." And I'm like, "You have to be kidding me! Everything was so lined up for this to be mine." And I'm heartbroken.
What's an example of that?
Oh, man, I don't know. I don't even want to say because other people got the roles and did a great job with them and stuff -- or not. Or, at the time, it seems like you'd be great and then they did it and they fucking blew it and I wish it had been me because I wouldn't have blown it. [Starts laughing] But, there have been situations like that. Or, maybe I would have and not been good in that way -- you know, I'm protected from doing movies that would have been terrible. But, anyway, the point I'm getting at is that you learn pretty quickly -- and I learned this from door-to-door sales and every other shitty job I've had -- is that you have to protect yourself from heartbreak.
You learn to deal with rejection by being indifferent to the results, whether you're a door-to-door salesman, or whether you're auditioning for something, or whether you're in a high-budget Marvel movie. If this movie comes out -- in any movie I'm in comes out -- and doesn't do well, I have to be OK with it. Because my happiness and my life is on the line -- how I feel about myself can't be determined by whether or not a movie comes out and does really well. It might be representative of your value or your work as an actor but it's not representative of your value or your worth as a person. You have to be careful about that because you can really get hurt.
Going back to your point about auditioning and feeling that you nailed a role, did you feel that way with "Guardians of the Galaxy" as Peter Quill/Star-Lord?
For me it felt like a perfect fit right off the bat. I felt like at my very first audition that I nailed it, but, I was afraid that I wasn't physically right for it because I was still pretty big from this movie. And so I just thought, If they could just believe in me, then I can lose this weight, then I'll get this role. But I had a feeling it was a little too much weight to expect any person to lose -- I was determined at that point. I was like, Well, you know what, if I'm not going to get this, that's fine. But no one is ever going to tell me that I'm too fat for a role again. I'm going to start getting in shape. So I started getting in shape right away. We wrapped "Delivery Man" right around this time last year -- oh my gosh, what a year -- and I had gotten heavy, heavy, heavy and I went through the holidays and I continued to gain weight. Then, right at Jan 1st, I started working out. Then around the 15th, this audition came up. So I had lost probably 10 pounds ... but I was still around 280 and that's too big to be a Marvel character. But, it was in the audition. I mean, I knew he had my spirit -- I knew that my spirit was right. And I knew it sounded right, I just didn't look right yet.
The tone of the footage was great in the respect that it starts out serious, but we quickly learn from your character that it's a lot more lighthearted and funny and weird than what we've seen so far from Marvel movies.
Yeah, that's just right. It should be really fun. I think it should be really fun. But, that being said, it takes the dramatic beats seriously. I mean, it takes itself seriously when it needs to. Just as a whole it doesn't take itself too seriously. But, it definitely takes it's dramatic moments seriously. And the dramatic arcs and the bits of emotion that you're supposed to feel something that you're supposed to feel something that I think you really will. But, hopefully, it will be because it's anchored to this comedy. Like, to the comedy that lives in it. If you tie comedy and drama together, than you don't have to go as big to get laughs and you don't have to go as big to get a real emotional response.
I am curious, did you sign for multiple movies?
I think that's how it works for everyone. Yeah, they pretty much own me for as long as they want. [Laughs] Which, hopefully, will be a really long time.
I've missed you on "Parks & Rec."
Thanks, man. Well, I'm back and we've got some great stuff coming up. Really, really funny stuff. I've missed it, too. I've missed it, too. It's nice to come back.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.