Towering at 6 feet 2 inches with bulging biceps, coiffed hair and a chiseled face, Chris Pratt looks every inch a superhero – or an actor who could portray a superhero, anyway. And he did exactly that in the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG), where he played the leader of the titular superhero rag-tag team on a mission to – you guessed it – save the galaxy.
The movie won the hearts of audiences worldwide with the wit and self-deprecating humour typically unseen in superhero flicks – something for which Chris deserves much credit. Those who have watched the movie will know what I’m talking about. Remember the opening scene in which Chris’s character sashays to the 70s classic Come and Get Your Love, fingers snapping and head bopping to the beat? Or how he would throw in hilarious pop culture references throughout the movie? Talk about an unconventional superhero. And like his character, Chris’ life has been pretty unconventional so far.
From hobo to superhero
Chris may now be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous but 14 years ago, he was homeless with only a Scooby-Doo camper van to his name. He recalls, “I had just quit college and bought a one-way ticket to Maui. At that point, I didn’t know where my life was going. I was practically a beach bum.”
However, the tides began to turn when he secured a waiter’s position at a nearby restaurant. “One day, I found myself waiting on the table of a movie director. I bragged that I was a fantastic actor even though I had done only several school plays. Funnily, she was so charmed that she offered me a role in one of her films.” The then 22-year-old Chris was ecstatic. “When she told me she was taking me to Los Angeles, I was like ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”
Although success didn’t immediately come a’ knocking after his movie debut, Chris soon got his break in the television series Everwood. A number of supporting TV roles later, he made it big when he was cast as lovable goofball Andy Dwyer on NBC’s award-winning Parks and Recreation. With his newfound success, one would think he was a shoo-in for the lead role in GOTG but he wasn’t. “The director couldn’t imagine me in the role. He actually had to be convinced by the casting director to let me audition.” But Chris’ witty persona gave the role a whole new dimension – something other actors failed to do – and the director was sold. The rest, they say is history.
Bye fat, hello fit
Chris’ shirtless scenes in GOTG may have given audiences a good look at his ripped figure but the Minnesota native wasn’t always buff. “I had to exchange 65 pounds of fat for solid muscle to be in the movie. I had piled on the weight for an earlier movie so I really had to work my butt off,” he says in an interview with Healthy Celeb. Apparently, drastic weight loss isn’t something unfamiliar to him, what with his many movie roles requiring him to fluctuate between various physiques – making him the perfect guy to give weight loss advice.
“It can seem like a long time to get that body you want but you need to stay focused. Do a few things daily and remain consistent. Cut rubbish out of your diet, spend an hour daily working up a sweat and time will pass by quickly enough. You’ll soon feel better mentally and physically.” He also suggests getting a personal trainer and dietitian. “It’ll cost some money but it won’t cost as much as the rubbish you put in your body otherwise.”
Elaborating further, he says, “I switched to wholesome foods like veggies, fruits and seeds. I avoided alcoholic beverages. They do nothing but accumulate fats in your body. Additionally, I was on a low-carb, low- fat diet. I stuck to lean protein.” His strict regime also meant he had to resist wife Anna Faris’ delicious cooking. “When I heard I got the part in GOTG, I immediately warned Anna to stop making me desserts,” he shares candidly.
Bonding over bugs
It may come as a surprise to some but Chris and Anna (who is an actress in her own right) bonded over creepy crawlies when they first met on a movie set. “We’re clearly made for each other. We’re both obssesed with natural history. We geek out over fossils, stuffed animals, dead bugs, things like that.” Initially, he had no inkling of her shared interest in taxidermy until he invited her over to his house. “When she saw my bug collection, she started crying. I thought I had done something wrong but it turned out she was so amazed that she had finally found someone who shared her passion.” Now happily married, they have merged their bug collection – something which Chris jokingly equates to a natural history museum.
A health scare
Although all seems rosy for Chris and Anna, things were rather rough when they welcomed their son Jack into the fold several years ago. “We had been trying and were thrilled when we discovered we were having a baby. But Jack was born premature, about 9 weeks early. He weighed only 3 pounds, 12 ounces. That’s the size of a sea bass. Anna held him for only a moment and he was off to the neonatal intensive care unit. He also had jaundice. I remember seeing all these tubes and wires around him. I would play him country music, sing to him and pray that he would get well.”
Thankfully, Jack made it through much to the Pratts’ relief. “Jack went from a helpless squirt to this strong, happy boy. He likes monster trucks and believe it or not, vegetables. Tomatoes and broccoli are his favourites.”
Big guy, bigger heart
Chris may play an on-screen hero but it seems that he has that noble quality even in real life. The recent Super Bowl saw him and fellow actor Chris Evans egging on their favourite football teams to win the sports event. Amidst the friendly competition, Chris saw the opportunity for charity. “We root for rival teams so, I thought it’d be cool to make a bet with Evans. If my team won, he’d have to visit Seattle Children’s Hospital dressed as Captain America. But if his team won, I’d visit Christopher’s Haven (a non-profit organisation for children with cancer) as Star-Lord. Since we’re betting on the Super Bowl, why not turn it into a superhero wager?”
Although Evans’ team emerged triumphant, both actors decided to make good on their wager. Aside from visiting the two locations, the two real-life heroes raised approximately $27,000 worth of donations.
Unconventional and Chris seem to go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s his passion for preserved insects, his ability to be refreshingly endearing while still being a goof or his humble nature amidst such success, Chris clearly stands out from the rest of Hollywood’s bigwigs. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Healthy Celeb. Available at www.healthyceleb.com
The Daily Beast. Available at www.thedailybeast.com
The Mirror. Available at www.mirror.co.uk
US Magazine. Available at www.usmagazine.com