Christopher Michael “Chris” Pratt (born June 21, 1979) is an American actor. He is known for his television roles, including Bright Abbott in Everwood, and Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. His early film career began with supporting roles in mainstream films such as Wanted, Bride Wars, Jennifer’s Body, Moneyball, What’s Your Number?, The Five-Year Engagement, Zero Dark Thirty, Movie 43, Delivery Man and Her before achieving leading man status in 2014 with the blockbuster films The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy. In 2015, he starred in Jurassic World, the continuation of the popular Jurassic Park franchise. In 2014, Pratt was ranked as #2 on People magazine’s annual list of Sexiest Men Alive.
Pratt was born in Virginia, Minnesota, the son of Kathleen Louise “Kathy” (née Indahl), who worked at a Safeway supermarket, and Daniel Clifton “Dan” Pratt (died 2014), who worked in mining and later remodeling houses. His mother is of Norwegian descent, and his father was of English, German, Swiss-German and French Canadian ancestry. Pratt was raised in Lake Stevens, Washington, where he placed fifth in a state wrestling tournament as a high school student. His wrestling coach recalled asking Pratt what he wished to do with his life. Pratt relates: “I was like, ‘I don’t know, but I know I’ll be famous and I know I’ll make a shit ton of money.’ I had no idea how. I’d done nothing proactive. It was as dumb as someone saying, ‘I’ll probably be an astronaut. I’m sure I’ll stumble into an astronaut suit and end up in space one day.
Pratt dropped out of a local community college halfway through the first semester and, after working as a discount ticket salesman and a daytime stripper, he ended up homeless in Maui, sleeping in a van and in a tent on the beach. He told The Independent: “It’s a pretty awesome place to be homeless. We just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, just enough to cover gas, food, and fishing supplies.” He recalled listening to the Dr. Dre album 2001 daily to the point where he knew “every word to that album”. Years later, he was able to perform Eminem’s vocals from the song “Forgot About Dre” during an interview.
Pratt was waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant in Maui when the 19-year-old was discovered by actress and director Rae Dawn Chong. She cast him in her directorial debut, the short horror film Cursed Part 3, which was filmed in Los Angeles.
Pratt’s first regular television role was as Harold Brighton “Bright” Abbott on the series Everwood. After Everwood ’s cancellation, he joined the cast of The O.C. for its fourth season, playing activist Winchester “Ché” Cook. He also had an appearance in the 2008 action film Wanted.
Pratt read for the lead role of Captain James T. Kirk in the 2009 film Star Trek, and for Jake Sully in the 2009 film Avatar, but did not get either part. The latter audition was particularly humbling for Pratt, who recalls: “They said they want somebody that has ‘that thing’, that ‘it factor’. I walked into that room knowing that I did not have that thing, and I walked out thinking I would never have that thing, probably.” Pratt resolved to rethink his career ambitions, commenting: “People have to work. I just don’t want it to be at a fucking restaurant.”
In 2009, Pratt began playing the dimwitted but lovable Andy Dwyer on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. Originally meant to be a temporary character, Andy was so likable that producers asked Pratt back as a series regular. This led to the character being written much more sympathetically at the start of season two.
Pratt portrayed Oakland Athletics first baseman/catcher Scott Hatteberg in the 2011 film Moneyball. He was initially told that he was too fat to play Hatteberg, as he had gained 40 lbs, which Pratt attributed to the cooking of his then-girlfriend and now-wife, actress Anna Faris. Deciding to lose weight, he worked out continuously, regularly checking to see if the part was cast, losing a total of 30 pounds. When he felt he had lost enough, he sent a photo of himself to the casting director and won the part. Prior to the release of Moneyball, Pratt was typecast as youthful and somewhat immature characters. In Moneyball, he played a dramatic role as a father and dejected baseball player who once feared his career was over and who had the difficult task of learning an entirely new defensive position. He gained back the weight he had lost to appear in the film 10 Years, then lost it again to portray a Navy SEAL in the film Zero Dark Thirty.
In 2013, Pratt initially turned down the opportunity to play Peter Quill / Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, explaining that he did not “want another Captain Kirk or Avatar moment”. The film’s casting director, Sarah Finn, suggested Pratt to director James Gunn, who had struggled to cast that role and dismissed the idea. Despite this, Finn arranged for a meeting between the two, at which point Gunn was immediately convinced that Pratt was perfect for the role. Pratt also won over Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, despite having gained weight again for the comedy film Delivery Man. The role was part of a multi-film deal that Pratt signed with Marvel.
Although Pratt had been known until that point for playing supporting characters, and was best known as his portly Parks and Recreation character, that changed in 2014 when he headlined two feature films, the first of which was The Lego Movie. The film became the third-highest-grossing film of 2014 in North America. This was followed that August by Guardians of the Galaxy, which became the highest-grossing film of 2014 in North America, making Pratt the star of two of the top three highest-grossing films of that year. Pratt was the featured cover story of the July 18 Entertainment Weekly, which documented the evolution of Pratt’s physique over the course of the previous 12 years, going from 220 lbs. for his role on Everwood to 295 lbs. for Delivery Man, to 225–230 lbs. for his roles in Zero Dark Thirty and Guardians. Pratt himself poked fun at his fluctuating physique in a musical number he performed during his monologue when he hosted the September 27, 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live.
In November 2013, Pratt, an avid fan of Jurassic Park, who has referred to that film as “my Star Wars”, replaced Josh Brolin as the lead in the film Jurassic World (2015). He played Owen Grady, who works training velociraptors.
In March 2014, Pratt was awarded the CinemaCon Award for Breakthrough Performer. Also in 2014, he was ranked as #2 on People magazine’s annual list of Sexiest Men Alive.