Chris Pratt doesn't care if you have an awful haircut. If you just so happen to find yourself victim to your barber's malfeasance prior to sitting down with Pratt for a one-on-one interview, the star of Jurassic World will assure you your damaged cut looks fine. He'll tell you there's no need to hide it with the dinosaur-ladened cap you swiped from the press junket merch table. And when one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive gives you hair pointers, you take them.
After that icebreaker (and after downing a shot of the Fireball contraband I smuggled into the Universal Studios lot), I was comforted by the fact that I was sitting across from an amalgamation of Chris Pratt's most familiar characters: the affable nature of Andy Dwyer, Star Lord's audiophile sensibilities, Scott Hatteberg's commitment to craft and excellence. Pratt still exudes "regular guy" vibes even though his last two movies (Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy) alone have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. And with Jurassic World opening today, Pratt continues his streak of transcending his network comedy roots and becoming a bonafide action hero. But still, he's just down for a good chat.
Jurassic World was a blast. It brought back those feelings I had as a six-year-old watching the original for the first time. How much did Jurassic Park mean to you as a kid?
You know, it meant a lot. I was a big fan of the franchise. I was 13 when I saw it for the first time in theaters, and that’s a very impressionable age. It definitely left a major impression on me.
Was it that nostalgia that attracted to you to the script?
The nostalgia was actually what gave me a little bit of apprehension to approach this project. I was like, "Dude, don’t fuck this up!" But then it was [director Colin Trevorrow’s] idea, his script and his whole vision that really got me excited. The idea that the park has re-opened was so cool. You got to look at all these dinosaurs you didn’t get to see in the first movie. It was a doorway into telling this story and making it relevant to today and I think that’s exactly what it needed.
There’s a great audition story of yours that involves you cursing at Moneyball director Bennett Miller while getting into character to prove how much you owned the role. Anything like that go down while auditioning for Jurassic World?
I actually didn’t audition for this movie. They just offered it to me, which was kind of great.
Well that's nice.
I am working with Antoine Fuqua right now on The Magnificent Seven though. I just happened to have auditioned for him about 8 or 9 years ago for a movie called Tears of the Sun, which was a big Bruce Willis action movie. I auditioned to play one of the military scouts which didn’t have a lot of talking parts—it was purely a physical scene. And I remember being so into it. I was pretty new to Hollywood so I was really enthusiastic and wanted to dig really deep into this role. I was very earnest. I came in chewing gum. That was the little tick I wanted to bring to the character.
Antoine was watching me, so I was watching him watch me, and he was taking me very seriously. It made me feel really good. And with the same type of hubris—I didn’t even ask—I took all of the furniture in the room and flipped it upside down. I didn’t just flip it over, I picked it up and set it upside down to not only show I was physically strong, because I was in great shape at the time, but to set up this scene as an obstacle course to tunnel my way through. So I did this whole bit. My character had no dialogue. It was all physical. And when I finished they were just like, “Thanks, Chris.” So I put all the furniture back and just walked out [Laughs]. I didn’t get the role but I talked to Antoine about it and he was like, “Oh shit that was you!” At least it made an impression on him.
Your broad, physical comedy on Parks and Recreation made you a household name. But you’ve also been a part of some heavy films like Her, Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. Do you have a preference?
I think those dramatic roles allowed me to dive deeper into a character. Those men I was playing in Zero Dark Thirty and Moneyball were both experts in something I’m not. It was foreign to me. Both of those roles allowed me to dig deep into the behavior of these guys. Playing baseball everyday for six weeks or doing military shit everyday. All the O-course training, marching cadences, working out, swimming and hanging out with Navy Seals, going down to San Diego and shooting guns, really immersing myself in that world. You get to do that in a drama. I guess you could do that in a comedy but its not really required. Also, comedy comes naturally to me.
You’ve become a huge advocate for physical fitness and healthy eating. Now that we know your weight lifting regimen, I ‘m curious what your cheat day is like. Stacks of brownies and pizzas like The Rock?
[Laughs] I give myself a three-hour window and just do as much damage as I can. I’ll plan for it. Usually it’ll be something real sweet and carb-y: pancakes, pizza, cheese—because I try to stay away from dairy—ice cream Drumsticks, fried chicken, all the good comfort food. And of course whiskey and wine and beer and vodka. I’ll just get fucking hammered and eat my face off and wake up the next day like, “Ugh, now I got three days to get rid of that!”
You and fellow superhero Chris Evans famously bet on the Super Bowl last year. Got anything riding on the NBA Finals this year? Who do you got winning?
Warriors, man. Definitely the Warriors. My friend Erica is a huge, huge, crazy Golden State fan and she got diagnosed with breast cancer this year. So at the beginning of the season I reached out to my peeps and got her a whole box of Warrior’s shwag: signed balls, signed jerseys, a whole bunch of stuff. And now they’re about to win the title, which is amazing. They’re looking pretty good. Steph Curry is unreal.
I also love that it’s a California team. Not the Clippers—which would’ve been cool, too—and not the Lakers. It’s like the youngest brother. They’re like the youngest Hemsworth kid or something. Not Chris, not Liam, but the undiscovered Hemsworth. Now they’re that dude. It’s Golden State’s time.
The world knows you’re a huge hip-hop head after that clip of you rapping Eminem’s “Forgot About Dre” verse went viral. What hip-hop albums or songs have you been digging this year?
I’m actually more of an old school cat. You know what I was listening to on this press tour? Jurassic Five. Because I was like…. Jurassic Park! [Laughs]. It’s funny because I’ve actually been a big country music fan for the past few years, and I would go to these photo shoots and put country on and the look on my face in the photo was always the same. Then my publicist was like, “Fuck this shit, dude! You gotta put on some good music.” And when she put on some good music—I think it was Michael Jackson for my latest GQ shoot—the next you thing you know, it totally changed my whole mood.
We definitely play some Kanye West but it’s definitely nothing new or cutting edge. Just the old school shit I have on my phone. You should tell me what I need to be listening to.
You can never go wrong with some Future or Drake.
Future and Drake? I’m on it!
What’s on your gym playlist then?
I got the Chronic 2001 that I listen to over and over again. Eminem, of course. Tupac. I even got some Foxy Brown on there. She’s so badass. I was listening to some Trick Daddy the other day, some old Wu-Tang. Some 50 Cent. But the 50 I have on my phone is all fucked up because it’ll start playing then it cuts out. That might be a sign it’s time I start listening to the newer guys. Like, okay Chris, it’s 2015.