Last May I was totally blessed with the opportunity to check out the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I was able to watch part of a scene being filmed, check out the wardrobe and props departments, and oh yeah, interview some of the amazing cast. So of course, I go to interview Mr. Chris Pratt, Star-Lord himself. I have been a fan of Chris’ for a long time – The O.C., Parks and Recreation, Delivery Man – and more recently Jurassic Park and Lego Movie. I follow him on Snapchat (and if you don’t, you should). He is hilarious – and an incredible actor.
Being a huge Guardians of the Galaxy comic book fan, I was very anxious for the first one to come out. I was nervous because these are some of my favorite characters – ones that I have been reading about for years – and to see them portrayed on the big screen could be hit or miss. Not to mention that many were skeptical. Those who did not know how amazing this group of misfits are – they didn’t get it. I went in with a completely open mind and was totally blown away. All of the actors were fantastic, but Chris Pratt in particular did an incredible job of becoming Peter Quill, Star-Lord, my favorite guardian of the galaxy. To say I was impressed was an understatement so I was thrilled to be able to meet with him and talk to him about this character that we both love.
Chris was in a great mood when he walked in the interview room. We asked him what it was like being back on set and he said it was great. “I mean that too. This movie is coming at the end of a long run of jobs that I’ve had – I’m fortunate to have three movies back to back. This is the third one and so I will have been on the road for 13 or 14 months by the time this is over. 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 – it’s just James is so good, he knows exactly what he wants. We all know the characters, everyone’s gotten better since the last movie. We really had to pick up right where we left off and it feels like everyone’s on their A game. Days are totally manageable and the story is spread out enough to where I have days off, which is really nice. I’ve been able to actually get home to LA and Anna and Jack will be able to come out and visit me. It’s like getting a nice warm up for the reentry period for when I go back home.” Chris told us an adorable story about one time that his son, Jack, came to see him on set. “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? And I was like, whoa, somebody needs to go sweep something up. He’s getting a little too comfortable. Just to no one in particular – can I get a coconut water? Like who are you talking to first of all? Obviously you’ve seen somebody do that.”
Chris Pratt really loves his wife – and I love that. At one point, after talking about Anna for a few minutes, we mentioned we got to talk to Kurt (meaning Kurt Russell) and Chris thought we said her. His face lit up and he looked around the room for his wife. I could see in his eyes how much he loves her, and that is beyond sweet. We asked about how it was to work with Kurt “Man, it’s been awesome. Not every actor whose been around as long as he’s been around is a joy to work with. Essentially anyone who has a bad reputation – they earned it by great careers that expand over the years and it’s anyone’s right to be an a-hole on set. Kurt Russell is not, he is so great. He’s really tough. A lot of people don’t know everything about Kurt Russell – he’s a professional baseball player, he broke a World Record as a racecar driver as a teenager, he was a pilot for 25 years, he has horses and breeds them – he’s such a man. I was like, I wonder if I could ask him if he would be my real dad. No offense to my father – rest in peace dad, but you’ve been replaced by Kurt Russell.”
He even compared Kurt and Goldie to himself and Anna when we asked him about working with Kurt. “I’m talking to Kurt about his life growing up, and what it was like for he and Goldie Hawn, and their relationship. A lot of people make that comparison of Anna to Goldie Hawn after The House Bunny – ditsy blonde comedic actress who self-defecates 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 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.”
When we asked Chris what it is like being on set, he said there is a lot of down time. A lot of boring moments but some great ones as well. “There’s a great amount of surreal moments looking at the monitor. I was spinning in circles yesterday, opposite Kurt Russell on wires, and we’re flying through the air. We’re doing these stunts, we’re just being superheros, which makes it super awesome. Then I’m looking at him and he’s looking at me, and even he’s having a ball – and I was like, this is cool. So the work part is really fun – but truly the best part is just getting to know people, because 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 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.”
We had been told throughout the day that family was a major theme of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. We asked Chris what he thought about the script when he first saw it, and the family theme. “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 and I think be really good. It’s not going to be one of these sequels that’s just a rehash of what they did in the first movie. It’s taking a big leap forward. 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 the only one who could bring that idea to the big screen without screwing it up.”
Another theme we know is reoccurring is the music in the film. James Gunn described it as an actual character in the movie, and Chris had a lot to say about it too. “You know sometimes how they put songs in movies, just because, hey, this would be 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. He justifies it because it’s a prop in the movie – it didn’t just come out of nowhere. Quill gets it at the end of the first movie. I’m telling you, his mom had even better taste and probably a little bit more money in volume two. The songs are primo and expertly used without being distracting in this movie. Once you see the movie, you’ll understand more of what I mean – they are used even more as a narrative tool than the first one.”
We asked Chris what his favorite song from the first film was, since we knew he couldn’t reveal anything about the new soundtrack. His answer definitely had me laughing a bit. “The one thing that’s really beautiful about this volume versus the first in the first movie I listened to the first soundtrack every time I worked out for that movie – I don’t know what I was thinking. By the time the movie rolled around, I hated every song. I did. I guess I would have to rank them from my least favorite one. There are some great songs but what’s great about this second volume is I didn’t do that. Also it makes sense because Peter Quill just got this tape two months ago, because we’re picking up just a couple of months after the events of the first movie. So it doesn’t have to be ingrained in my psyche the way a take would 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 Peter Quill would have been. It’s like the pulse of his childhood is this tape, he’s listen to it all the time. I don’t have to do that with the second tape because I’ve only had it a month. There are some songs that are – oh I can’t wait for you to see them.”
Chris got in ridiculously good shape for the first movie, and looked amazing when we saw him I might add, so we asked him if he still works out for his role. “Maybe not as much as the first one, because I didn’t have quite as far to go. I kept in good shape for the last couple of movies. So for this one, I am more maintenance than like a big like deadline, you know what I mean. We already shot the shirtless scene – that was pretty early on and you really plan for that. After that, I’m like long sleeve shirts and a leather jacket, so I will go have a little sandwich or something.” Yup, you read that right, a shirtless scene! I know we all can’t wait for that one.
Speaking of the leather jacket, we let Chris know that we got to check it out in costumes – the long duster was so heavy! We asked him how much it weighs and he guessed around 50 pounds when it is wet. “There’s different various jackets. I have the long duster and the short jacket as well. In fact, the first time I ever put that jacket on, that was the first time I really felt like the character. They say that clothes make the man. 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 – certainly with a long red leather duster, I 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. Anna says the same thing about her shoes that she wears as a 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.” I laughed when Chris mentioned he stole the jacket from the first film – and we asked him if there was anything he would like to steal from this set. He said there were a couple things, that he is the best at stealing, and had already stolen something. He wouldn’t say what, but said he will tell us when they wrap filming.
We let Chris know that we all loved watching the first movie with our families. We asked him what he would like families, and kids in particular, to take away from Volume 2. “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, what they’ve done is 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 an experience. It’s less about what they think about us, but more about who they got to go see that movie with. What they will 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’s not so much about what’s happening in the movie as much as what’s happening for that kid that day. Where did you go to eat before you went to the movie theater – the experience of doing it. That’s probably what I would want them to take away – a great memory, one of their first memories.”
As comic book readers know, this past summer Marvel Comics started Civil War II, and Star-Lord joins the battle. I asked him what side he would like to see Star-Lord join in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). “I don’t want to say – it’s hard for me. I have to let Marvel make the decision for me. I really do because if it was me, I love Chris [Evans], but I also love Robert [Downy Jr.]. I can’t take the subjectivity out of having to choose one of my friends over the other, you know what I mean? So I’ll let Marvel make that decision and then once they’ve made it, I will go hard with it. I will cut that other dude out of my life – tell them to hold my calls. I’m going hard core, dead to me. One of them will be dead to me. I’ll just have to let Kevin decide for me.”
When did the walk through of the art room, we were told there would be a love story in volume 2, but were given no details. We asked Chris about it to see if he would drop any hints and this is what he had to say “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. Some characters are going to be drawn towards others. I think that’s just a natural consequence of having male and female in the same room together on a movie – I wonder if they like each other? So there was an element of that in the first movie and like I said, we pick up where we left off. 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 with exactly who or how that comes about. I want you to see it.”
The last question we asked Chris, was if playing Star-Lord has rubbed off on him at all. During the interview, he definitely gave off a Star-Lord vibe, but it could have just been that he was in full costume. “Like I said, the clothes make the man. When you’re an actor, you get the freedom to change who you are – 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. When you hang out with a certain friend, you might act one way, or with another group of friends you might act another way – like a member of your family, or when you’re with grandma you become another person. By nature, to survive socially, we’re chameleons. 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. But 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, wearing cool galactic boots – I come across as a cocky confident guy.”
This interview with Chris was one of my favorites to date. He was so funny, charming, and just an all around great guy. I loved learning about him and how he feels about one of my favorite characters, Star-Lord.
Read more about my Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Set Visit:
- Interview with Zoe Saldana, Gamora
- Interview with Karen Gillan, Nebula
- Interview with Dave Bautista, Drax
- Interview with Michael Rooker, Yondu
- Interview with James Gunn, Director
- Set Visit Experience
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in theaters May 5th!
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