Few names in entertainment have been spoken as frequently as Chris Pratt’s this year. Like Robert Downey Jr. before him, Pratt has joined the ranks of successful actors who have been skyrocketed to superstardom by a role in a Marvel Studios franchise. The Minnesota born actor had his first significant role in the form of the television drama Everwood, then in 2009 elevated his bit part on NBC’s Parks and Recreation to one of the main roles. His role as Andy Dwyer saw the former accomplished high school athlete staying in less than peak physical condition to play the part of a lazy, but lovable dimwit.
Pratt shocked fans and critics who knew him primarily from Parks and Recreation by losing 30 pounds in order to win a part in the baseball film Moneyball. Pratt would bounce back and forth between somewhat overweight and incredibly fit for the next few years for films like Zero Dark Thirty where he played a Navy SEAL , and most recently for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In 2014 Pratt also starred in The Lego Movie, giving him two successful starring roles in one year. Along with playing the tried and true talk show circuit Pratt hosted the premier of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season. On an appearance for The Tonight Show the actor told Jimmy Fallon a story about ripping off SNL skits for school assemblies, expressing his excitement to take part in the real thing.
The first time host’s monologue involved an intentionally clunky acoustic guitar song reminiscent of the character of Andy Dwyer, and a cameo by Pratt’s wife, actress Anna Faris. One of the first standout skits allowed Pratt to show off his superhero physique, playing a He-Man action figure come to life. Dressed in the beloved 80’s character’s costume Pratt got to ham it up with physical comedy, breaking dishes with his sword and punching through walls. The whole cast later got in on poking fun at the host’s recent success with Marvel, re-enacting a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy over and over in increasingly random costumes and characters. Pratt also lead a skit about the recent rash of crimes being committed by NFL players and a send up of PSA laden 90’s sitcoms.
In a format where hosts are often blatantly reading from cue cards Pratt led a largely unknown cast through a successful premier, not being afraid to poke fun at himself and where a litany of silly costumes and wigs. With Parks and Recreation about to reach its final season fans won’t have to wait much to see Hollywood’s newest superstar flex his comedy muscles. However the wait for more appearances as Star Lord will have to wait until 2017 for the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians’ leader, Peter Quill, is also expected to appear along with the rest of his teammates in the inevitable third Avengers film, slated for 2018. If his leading roles and comedic performances for SNL and Parks and Recreation are any indication then Chris Pratt’s success is on track for a long run.
By Matt Isaacs