Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the last movie in a series that has already made more than a billion dollars, teamed up with Marvel’s Avengers and Thor, and put out a holiday special on Disney+. Chris Pratt, who plays Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, in the movies, is talking about how hard it was for him to become a superhero star before he got the part.
Last week, Pratt told Jimmy Kimmel that after failing his auditions for Captain America and Thor, two early MCU movies, he was ready to give up on Marvel movies for good.
Yes, a lot of actors may have been happy just to be on Marvel’s radar. But in a new interview with Yahoo, Pratt says that he wasn’t there for moral victories.
Pratt says, “No,” very clearly. “When I was trying out for The WB, my manager at the time, Bonnie Owens, may she rest in peace, told me, ‘Hey, you’re getting so close on these. Kid, it’s just a question of time. I know everyone over there loves you.'” (Pratt was eventually hired for WB’s Everwood, where she appeared in 89 episodes from 2002 to 2006.)
“With Marvel, it was like, ‘Did you get any feedback?’ ‘No.’”
Then Pratt asked Owens if they’d said anything. She told him, “They said you were a little sweaty.” “I’m like, ‘Son of a b*tch!’ I couldn’t get any closer. I was getting farther from them. I was like, ‘I’m done. I’m through trying out for these people.'”
Pratt says he scored an audition for the title role of Captain America (which ultimately went to Chris Evans), but he says he never a shot for the lead of Thor (which went to another Hollywood Chris, Hemsworth).
“I didn’t even audition for Thor. I auditioned to be like one of his sidekicks or something like that. And I still didn’t even get a callback.”
And it wasn’t just Marvel turning down Pratt, whose biggest fame at that point had come playing Andy Dwyer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation from 2009 to 2015.
“I auditioned for everything. And not just Marvel, every movie, everything where they needed some guy that looked like me who had the ‘it’ factor. They’re just like, ‘Eh.’ I’d just see their eyes glaze over the minute I walked in the room.”
He was frustrated. But he decided to keep plugging away when he met Guardians writer-director James Gunn in 2013.
“I just wasn’t ready then like I was when I met James. But hey, consider it all a blessing when you go through hardships, cause builds up your perseverance.”
Pratt hasn’t had to face much rejection since, with franchise-fronting roles in The Lego Movie, Jurassic World and the reigning box-office blockbuster, The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Asked how playing Peter Quill over the past decade has changed his life, Pratt comes back to his early-career challenges.
“It was the last thing I auditioned for,” he says. “So for 10-plus years I’ve been able to just get roles based on the fact that I had done that role. I didn’t have to audition for anything. That’s pretty cool.”