Chris Pratt comes clean: ‘My wife is every bit of evidence I need that there’s a big creator looking out for me’
Chubby Chris Pratt is no more. Dad bod enthusiasts mourn his demise even still. But, praise the lord, trickster Chris Pratt – that waggish, playful presence we know from any number of talk shows – lives on.
ackstage at the junket for The Terminal List in London, Pratt cracks open a door to let his freshly released fart into the air outside. I can imagine there are people who would pay good money for that whiff, but it’s perhaps for the best that we’re doing this interview over Zoom, I say.
Pratt smiles and his co-star Taylor Kitsch nods vigorously: “I had to have smelling salts to deal with that.”
Pratt has confined the jokey ad libs to off-camera stuff for the moment however. Part of the challenge of his role as a haunted and disturbed navy seal in The Terminal List – the Amazon Prime series adapted from Jack Carr’s novel of the same name – has been reining in his comedic side and learning that sometimes less is more.
“I think it’s a certain comfort zone that I had up to now – of sort of falling back on my improvisational skills and just trying to make humour out of a moment, always filling the beats with some sort of comedic jazz solo. And it was a real challenge for me to sometimes not play an instrument, and instead just be silent or be a little minimalist, playing just one simple note.”
The eight-parter follows Lieutenant James Reece (Pratt) whose platoon is ambushed while on a mission to capture a fugitive terrorist. Reece returns home with conflicting memories of how the ambush occurred and questions of his own culpability eventually give way to a broader conspiracy theory.
Carr has said that even at the stage of writing the book, he had Pratt in mind to play Reece – and the two men struck up what Pratt describes as “a true friendship”.
“I came across an early manuscript and started hunting down the rights immediately,” he says. “I was really, really intrigued by the opportunity of playing this character and loved his voice.
“I listened to the narrated book on tape and just loved how authentic it was. Everything from talking about weaponry and optics, to having a very centred point of view about a person who’s a combat veteran. The character really embodied everything that I’ve grown to love about the Navy SEAL community.”
Part of the appeal of taking on the role was that the series was filmed in southern California, near the home he shares with his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, and their children.
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“I was still out of bed and out of the house before the kids were up, and back home after they were in bed for a very long time. And so it is a tough job and I’m thankful that I have a wonderful support system at home. And I’m also going to be taking some time off to make sure that [Katherine] feels supported as well. So it’s a summer of celebration for that reason.”
Pratt married Schwarzenegger in 2019 after his decade-long marriage to actress Anna Faris ended. He says he feels “very blessed” to have found love again.
“My wife is amazing. Listen, my union with her is every bit of evidence I need to know that there’s a big creator out there looking out for me. She’s a great mom.”
Through marrying Katherine, Pratt has become Irish-American royalty by marriage – his mother-in-law is Maria Shriver, who is a niece of John F Kennedy. And Pratt’s father-in-law is Shriver’s former husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Being Arnold’s son-in-law is very cool – but not for the reasons you might expect. I mean, it’s just, she’s been raised in a way that totally prepares her and me to raise our children in a way that… it’s just very cool. I’m very lucky to have found her.”
Pratt recently responded to criticism he received following a gushing Instagram post he wrote last year after the birth of their daughter, Lyla. Pratt wrote that he was “grateful” for everything Schwarzenegger had given him, including their “healthy” newborn daughter.
On Twitter a pitchfork mob arose, which saw the remark about the baby’s health as an insult to his first wife, and the nine-year-old son she and Pratt had. The child was born prematurely with a bleed on the brain, and spent the first month of his life in intensive care.
Pratt says that the backlash was “f**ked up” and brought him to tears.
“I cried about it,” he told Men’s Fitness magazine this month. “I hate that these blessings in my life are – to the people close to me – a real burden.”
He expressed concerns that his son would “read that one day” because it’s “etched in digital stone”.
If Pratt didn’t get the benefit of the doubt for his Instagram PDA (personal display of affection), it might be something to do with the fact that the internet has dubbed him “the worst Chris”.
People have been ranking the various A-List Chrises since 2014’s Avengers, in which Pratt joined fellow Chrises Hemsworth and Evans – but when director Amy Berg posted a picture of these three plus Chris Messina on Twitter earlier this year with the caption “one has to go”, the verdict was pretty clear: it had to be Pratt.
The bad feeling about Pratt seems to stem from the fact that he has been long perceived as conservative, and religious, especially in Hollywood where liberal politics dominate.
Reflecting on his pious reputation, Pratt said recently that he has inadvertently “become the face of religion” in Hollywood while insisting that he’s not really “a religious person”.
Pratt wasn’t raised in a religious household. He grew up in Minnesota, where his father was a miner and his mother worked in a convenience store. He was a keen high school wrestler – and even as a kid, he had big dreams, telling one of his wrestling coaches that he would eventually be famous and rich for “something”.
While still in his teens he moved to Hawaii and worked as a waiter. It was a chance encounter with a proselytising stranger that turned him onto God.
”This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno…’ So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’ ‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three,’” Pratt told Esquire in 2014.
“He was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’
“My friends came out, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go with this guy.’ I gave my soul to Jesus within, like, two days. I was stuffing envelopes for his organisation, Jews for Jesus.”
A month later Pratt was discovered by a director who came into the restaurant where he was working, and the blessings and progressively bigger roles kept coming from there.
In 2009 he was cast as the loveable Andy Dyer on the comedy series Parks and Recreation.
For his next role, as a washed-up baseball player in the Aaron Sorkin-penned sports drama Moneyball, he got in ripped, leading man shape, and that new image was part of what propelled him into the superhero franchise roles – including Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, in which his wholesome charisma complemented the dazzling special effects.
Middle age has not slowed him, as evidenced by the fact that he is currently riding high at the box office with Jurassic World Dominion, as well as appearing in The Terminal List. He also continues to get mentioned in Most Beautiful People in the World lists.
But, while outwardly he’s every bit the heartthrob still, inwardly there are signs of age. A few days before we speak he turned 43, and says his biggest birthday treat was a middle-of-the-day nap.
“No one messed with me. I didn’t move a muscle, I slept so well. My sweet wife, even though she probably needed me to help with the baby, she just was like, ‘Let him sleep.’ It was so nice. And that’s how you can tell that I’m old now.”
‘The Terminal List’ is available now on Amazon Prime Video
Three of the best Chris Pratt movies
Moneyball is a conundrum of a film, in that it takes the most boring part (statistics) of one of the world’s most boring sports (baseball), and somehow makes it an interesting exploration of the dynamics of competition.
Aaron Sorkin’s drama was based on a best-selling book about a Californian baseball team who crunched some interesting numbers to get ahead. Pratt played the part of one of the baseball players, who is so insecure and so gorgeous that you can’t help but root for him.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
This film was Kathryn Bigelow’s follow up to her best picture and best director win for The Hurt Locker. It stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA woman, a part inspired by a real-life investigator from the team that hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden.
Pratt plays Justin Lenihan, a member of her crack team of Navy Seals, and his wisecracking performance marked a noted change from the cuddly comedic parts he had mostly played up to then.
In the years since it came out, and with the rise of dating apps, this Spike Jonze film – about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with an AI-generated female voice (Scarlett Johansson) – seems to resonate more and more. The movie asks questions of the ersatz intimacy of technology, the limits of fantasy, and the muddying of the line between human and machine.
Pratt plays Paul, a co-worker of the lead character, with such goofy aplomb that he serves as a comedic foil to the other more serious characters in the film.
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