There are actors and there are movie stars. Chris Pratt is both. But he’s also a really nice guy. Visiting the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 would make for my third chat with the charming actor. And from Delivery Man to the first Guardians to now, as much as things have changed for Chris, one thing hasn’t, his sense of self.
Chris Pratt talks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Chris walks into the room looking like Peter Quill, for this interview wasn’t before a premiere or during a press junket, but rather at the studio where he was shooting the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. that very day. He was as handsome as you’d expect but equally engaged as we chatted about the next chapter in this mega Marvel franchise.
Hi, what’s up mommas?
Not much. How are you, Chris?
I’m good. I’m doing well, seriously.
You’re just having a good day.
Having a good day, it’s hump day, it’s sunny, almost done with the week.
Halfway, I guess that’s what it means.
Just over getting over the hump. Yeah.
So what’s it like being back?
Oh God, it’s great. It really is. I mean that too. This movie is coming at the-the end of a long run of jobs that I’ve had. Fortunate to have three movies back to back. So this is the third one. So I will have been on the road for 13 or 14 months by the time this is over.
So it feels like the perfect movie to have as the third movie. I don’t want to compare them, they’re all different, and I love them all. But it’s just James (Gunn) is so good. He knows exactly what he wants. We all know the characters, everyone’s gotten better since the last movie. I’d say we’d really had to pick up right where we left off. It just feels like everyone’s on their A game and days are totally manageable, and the story is spread out enough to where I have days off. Which is really nice, so I’ve been able to actually get home to LA and Anna and Jack will be able to out and visit me. And it’s like getting a nice warm up for the reentry period for when I go back home.
We got to chat with Kurt (Russell) for a little while.
When I mentioned this Chris looked surprised and confused for a moment.
Yeah, we did.
No, no, it was just a little bit ago, yeah. We were in the blue set room, in the…
Yeah, earlier today.
He is obviously so confused.
Wait, you got to chat with who?
Now I am confused.
Oh, I thought you said ‘her’. I thought you meant Anna (Faris, his wife).
I joke –
Oh, yes. She told me to say hi.
I thought she was going to surprise me. Kurt, you were talking with Kurt, yeah.
I almost felt bad Anna wasn’t there to surprise him.
Yeah, and he was talking about playing your dad. What is it like working with him?
Man, it’s been f*cking awesome. Not every actor whose been around as long as he’s been around is a joy to work with. Like you hear about people, well essentially anyone who has the bad reputation, they kind of earned that. They’ve certainly earned it by, great careers that expand over the years and-and stuff. And it’s anyone’s right to be an asshole on set. Kurt Russell is not. He is so great. I mean, he’s really tough. A lot of people don’t know everything about Kurt Russell, because like he’s like a professional baseball player. He broke a World Record, as like a race-car driver as like a teenager. He was a pilot for like 25 years. He like breeds horses. He’s such a man. He’s like so good. Like, I was like, “I wonder, I asked him if he would be my real dad.’
What did he say?
Looking up – No offense to my father. But, ah, um, rest in peace dad, but you’ve been replaced by Kurt Russell.
Were you happy to see where your character was going in Vol 2?
When you saw this script, what was your first thought?
When I was first introduced to the story, it was with James. We were sitting and smoking a cigar in his living room, and he was like, okay, here’s the story. So I didn’t read the script, he told me exactly what was going to happen. It was before the script had been written and when he told me, I was captivated. I’m so moved and impressed by this story. It’s completely different from the first movie, but similar in that’s it’s really going to surprise people. I think it’s going to be really good. And but it’s not going to be one of these sequels that are just a rehash of what they did in the first movie. It’s taking a big leap forward. And so, for me, hearing that story for the first time, I just felt so lucky that he’s the dude in charge of this franchise. Because he has such an awesome idea and is really the only one who could bring that idea to the big screen without screwing it up. There is a rush and there is a relief at the same time.
Let’s talk about the music.
Is there going to be an awesome tape number 2?
Well there IS an awesomeness tape number two. There’s something that I can say. Well, I don’t want to like give away the spoiler. But there is a second tape and just like in the first movie, it absolutely belongs in the movie. You know sometimes how they put songs in movies, just because, ‘hey, this would be a really cool song to accompany this scene’. That’s fine, but with James, the way he’s done it, he’s always allowed the tape to be a narrative tool. You know, to get you in the mood, to get you pumped up and heighten the excitement of the scene or emotion of the scene. But also, he justifies it because it’s a prop in the movie, it didn’t just come out of nowhere. And so, it’s the same thing with volume two. Right, of course, because Quill gets it at the end of the first movie.
I’m telling you, his (Quill’s) mom had even better taste and probably a little bit more money in volume two. So the songs are in primo and expertly used without being distracting. And in this movie, once you see the movie, you’ll understand more of what I mean by “used even more as a narrative tool than the first one”.
On that note, do you have a favorite song? I know you can’t tell us about this one, but from the last movie, do you, if you had to pick a favorite?
Oh well, see… The one thing that’s really beautiful about this volume versus the first, was I decided in a quest to be like… I don’t know what I was thinking, but in the first movie, I listened to the first soundtrack every time I worked out. So by the time the movie rolled around, I hated every song. No, I did. I guess I would have to rank them from my least favorite one. There are some great songs, some great songs.
But what’s great about this second volume is I didn’t do that because it makes sense because Peter Quill just got this take two months ago. We’re picking up just a couple of months after the events of the first movie. So it doesn’t have to be engrained in my psyche. That way a take wouldn’t be that I’ve listened to over, and over, and over again, and have come to hate. And then again, learned to love. Which is really where I’m at now. I might not be quite to the point where I’ve learned to love them again, but I know for Peter Quill it’s like the pulse of his childhood is this tape, he listens to it all the time. I don’t have to do that with the second tape because I’ve only had it a month. So it’s just awesome, I mean, there are some songs that are some, “oh I can’t wait to-to-to see them”.
You’re all teasing us with the music here. Yeah, it’s like it’s such a tease.
I know. Yeah, I don’t mean, I really don’t want to tease you but…
I have a question about the leather jacket, big long one. We got to go into costumes. That thing is heavy. Do you know how much it weighs?
I don’t know, but I think when it’s wet it’s probably close to 50 pounds.
Oh gosh. It’s so heavy and you have to wear that for like the whole day while shooting?
Yeah, I mean, there are various jackets. I have the long duster and the short jacket as well. But on those days when I’m wearing that…In fact, the first time I ever put that jacket on, that was the first time I ever really felt like the character. Like, they say that “clothes make the man”, but really the first time you see yourself, for me at least as an actor, when I’m in the wardrobe and I’m looking at myself, and it’s something that, I as a person, would never really wear. Possibly certainly if they going to end up with a long red leather duster, you know, we don’t have one of those in my wardrobe. Other than the one that I stole from the first movie but when you see yourself in the clothes, all of a sudden, the weight of that jacket, the way it moves when you walk. I found my walk, and I found the feeling of this character for the first time. And Anna says the same thing about her shoes that she wears as her character. It’s like she’ll put on the pair of shoes and that’s the first time she really feels ‘it’, when she’s literally walking in that person’s shoes.
So what do you want to steal from set this time?
Oh! There are a couple of things, and they’re always the best things and I’m already good at stealing them, I’ve already stolen something. I didn’t want to say anything, I’ll tell you when it’s over.
I don’t want them to hide it from me. Yeah, I mean, what I stole.
So you were talking about how you felt putting on the costume. Has your son Jack come to set, and what does he think of dad as a superhero?
Oh yeah, he’s been to set a few times and, I can’t really tell. It’s all about perspective. He doesn’t have a world where he’s lived in where his mom and dad weren’t on TV. It’s like, that’s just a natural thing for him, to see Anna on her show or if an old movie is on or something. That’s just life for him. So he comes to set and mostly he’s excited to see me. He’s three and a half, four. He’s smart. I think he loves it that there are like women and other children that are on set, or there are new people for him to like meet and show off. It’s like seeing me is the best thing for him on set, you know what I mean. And for me too when he’s here. The other day, he was, and this is true, and kind of embarrassing. He was behind the monitor with a ComTech on, watching the monitor and he just turns around and he goes, can I get a coconut water?
Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious.
And I was like, whoa, okay. Somebody needs to go sweep something up. He’s getting a little too comfortable. Like, not just to no one in particular, can I get a coconut water? Like who are you talking to first of all? Obviously, he’s seen somebody do that.
We all watched the first Guardians of the Galaxy with our kids. It was very well received by all. What do you want people to leave the theater saying about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2?
What the beauty of these movies is that adults love them too. But I think the adults who love them, they love them because it brings them back to Saturday cartoons when they were kids. Or if watched the Star Wars growing up, or you watched like these space adventures growing up, you have the toys, like there’s something really special about that as a kid that you’ll always remember when you’re an adult. So, when you’re a kid, a movie can be pretty terrible and you’ll still love it. There are a lot of them that I remember loving as a kid that I’ve watched since I’ve become an adult, and I’m like, ‘oh boy, that doesn’t hold up’. Good thing I was seven when I watched it, I wasn’t real critical then.
But with Marvel, they’ve made movies that kids are going to love because it has all the elements that kids love. But also, really great compelling stories that adults will watch and want their kids to see. What I want kids to walk away with is just an experience. It’s less about what they think about us, but more about who they got to go see that movie with. What will they always remember the time they went to go see Guardians of the Galaxy with their dad, or their mom, or their uncle? That’s what I think about it, it’s not so much about what’s happening in the movie as much as what’s happening to that kid that day. Like where did you go to eat before you went to the movie theater? You know, it’s like the experience of doing it. That’s probably would want them to take away. It’s just like a great memory, one of their first memories.
In Civil War II, in the comic books, Star-Lord is in there. Have you seen this civil war? Who’s side are you on, Captain America or Iron Man? (this was right when it had come out)
Yes, it’s so great, it’s good.
It’s SO good.
Right? I mean, I would, I don’t want to say, like, it’s so, it’s hard for me. I have to let Marvel make the decision for me.
I really do, like because if it was me, I love Chris (Evans), but I also love Robert (Downey Jr.), like I can’t take the subjectivity out of like having to choose one of my friends over the other, you know what I mean. So like, I’ll let Marvel make that decision. And then once they’ve made it, I will go hard with it. I will, I see that other dude out of my life, tell them to hold my calls. I’m going hardcore. One of them will be dead to me. I’ll just have to let Kevin (Feige) decide for me.
So you mentioned in a previous interview that you may be a lot of romance in this one?
Who mentioned that? I probably have, I don’t remember that, really?
You know, anything that you felt in the first movie, in terms of relationships, we’re not going back to where we started. We’re picking up where we left off. And so, there are going to be just naturally, some characters are going to be drawn towards others. And I think that’s just a natural consequence of having male and female in the same room together on a movie, you know what I mean. Like, I wonder if they like each other? And so, there was an element of that in the first movie and like I said, we pick up where we left off. So there is that. But there is also a lot of new characters. So without spoiling it, I will say that. You’re likely to get that element, but I won’t say exactly who that is, or how that, how that comes about. I want you to see it, so.
Can you talk about the chemistry on set?
Yeah, it’s really fun man. It’s really fun. It’s some work, but mostly, it goes like in order of quantity. Waiting around and being kind of bored, to looking around and having a ton of fun and being really excited having to do some hard work, that you want to end soon. Like, so mostly it’s waiting around. But there’s a great amount of like surreal moments looking at the monitor. Like I was spinning in circles yesterday, opposite Kurt Russell on wires, and we’re flying through the air. Should I say that? Is that how you say it? We’re doing these stunts basically in a big, you know, we’re like, there’s just, see we’re just like being superheroes, which makes it super awesome. And them I’m looking at him and he’s looking at me, and even he’s having a f*cking ball, you know. And I was like, this is cool. And so the work part is really fun, but truly the best part is just getting to know people. That time when you’re sitting around being bored, you actually just start getting to know people. You spend 10, 12, 13 hours with somebody.
I’m talking to Kurt about his life growing up, and what it was like for him and Goldie Hawn, and their relationship. In a weird way were just similar and like a lot of people make that comparison of Anna to Goldie Hawn after the House Bunny, like ditsy blonde kind of comedic actress who self-deprecates, but is also good looking at the same time. These big eyes with blonde hair, really a similar kind of vibe. And then, Kurt is like this guy who, at the time, people were like, what’s Goldie Hawn doing with that guy? I’m like, hey I’ve been there, I know a thing or two about that, I’ve heard that about me a few times. And so we just get to talk about our life. You just never know who you’re going to work with. The work part will be good, and the movie hopefully will be good, but the experience, the journey, you hope that will be everything that you want it to be. On this one, it really has been.
You’ve now done a lot of CGI work now. How is it working on this film versus other films you’ve done?
I’m getting better at it. I’m having a greater understanding of what we need, what works and what doesn’t. We were a well-oiled machine in that regard. I don’t have really any questions. I know exactly what James wants.
So it was difficult in the beginning?
Yeah, it was just confusing sometimes. I didn’t quite understand when you would need to be looking where. And now it’s just second nature. I think if I did a movie that was all just people, I would be like, ‘wait, why are you all here again?’
The first time I interviewed you was for Delivery Man and here you are now for Vol 2, what do you feel has changed the most about you, beside your physical appearance?
I think like I said, the clothes make the man. I think we get the freedom as actors, and it’s probably the most rotundas answer you’ve ever heard, but when you’re actors you really get the freedom to change who you are. And whether you put on the clothes, or the persona, or the personality, I think it’s something inherently we do as people anyways. We just don’t get credited for it and no one really notices it. But you hang out with certain friends you might act one way, or with another group of friends you might act another, like a member of your family, or when you’re with grandma you become another person. It’s like, by nature I think to survive socially we’re kind of Chameleons, and I think it does change me to be here, my personality having played this character. Now when I go home, I’m a completely different person that I am even right here in this interview. I don’t think I’m making a consciences choice to do that. I think it’s just a natural thing that happens because walking around with guns on our hips, like cool galactic boots, it’s like I come across as like a cocky confident d!ck.
Thank you, Chris! Great interview!
Thanks, it’s really nice to talk to you all.
In case you missed a Guradians of the Galaxy Vol 2 interview –
Guardians of the Galaxy opens May 5, 2017
*I was invited by Disney/Marvel to attend a special press trip to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.