And that’s Lake Stevens — the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star grew up there, and speaks fondly of it.
Chris Pratt, quite possibly the most famous former citizen of Lake Stevens, is on the phone, reminiscing about his Pacific Northwest childhood.
“It was kind of the perfect, iconic place to grow up,” he said. “There were about 7,000 people in the town at the time, and life was all about being outside and playing outdoors and fishing and hiking and camping and going up to the river … A big part of who I am was there in that town.” A 1997 graduate of Lake Stevens High School, Pratt ran track and was on the wrestling team. “I had great teachers and coaches,” he said, “many of whom I’m still very close with to this day.”
And then … Hollywood happened, in a scene that could have been scripted. After high school, Pratt moved to Hawaii, lived in a van on the beach, and worked at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. One day, he waited on actress Rae Dawn Chong, who was charmed and offered him a movie gig.
“Passengers,” opening Dec. 21 at several theaters. Rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril.
The rest (which currently includes central roles in three vast movie franchises — “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Lego Movie” — as well as a beloved role in the TV sitcom “Parks and Recreation”) is history. Now living in Hollywood and married to fellow actor/Northwest native Anna Faris (who grew up in Edmonds), with a young son, Pratt is an A-list star.
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- Olivia Newton-John, who played Sandy in 'Grease,' dies at 73
- Review: Has 'Hamilton,' at Seattle's Paramount Theatre, aged well?
- Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers make Seattle's T-Mobile Park feel California casual
- Seattle Public Library’s 2022 Seattle Reads pick
- Blue Angels, hydroplanes and more: Seafair Weekend Festival and other fun around Seattle
As such, he gets plenty of screenplays coming his way — but his latest movie, “Passengers” (in theaters Dec. 21) stood out. “I thought it was the best screenplay I’d ever read, honestly,” he said. “I just loved that it was original — not a sequel, or a budding franchise. To me that was really exciting.”
In the film, directed by Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”), Pratt plays Jim, a regular guy on a very not-regular journey: He’s a passenger on a 120-year voyage to a distant planet where he’ll begin a new life — but is awakened early when his hibernation pod malfunctions.
Pratt said he loved both “the questions that it posed” (referring to a specific plot development involving the character played by his co-star, Jennifer Lawrence) and the acting challenges the role presented. For most of the movie’s first third, he’s alone on screen.
“It was about examining the effect of being isolated, and instead of having an actor to switch to, to react, I had nobody, and so I was reacting to not having anybody,” he said. “Solitary confinement — there’s a reason it’s a form of punishment and torture, and I liked the idea of exploring what that does to the human psyche, being cut off from something so vital which is love for another person.”
Other challenges were more physical, such as shooting zero-gravity scenes in an 80-pound spacesuit. “It takes an hour turnaround if you have to pee — half an hour to take [the spacesuit] off and half an hour to put it on. You’re in this harness, being told not to sweat, because if you sweat it will betray this idea of zero gravity. You just have to be dehydrated, hanging in the air like beef jerky who has to pee, doing take after take after take.”
But Pratt, next up in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel in May (it’s going to be “bigger and better in every way!” he promises), isn’t complaining. In fact, he’s one of those rare big stars who always seems to be having fun. What’s his secret?
“I think, don’t take yourself too seriously,” he said. “And never forget where you came from.”