Chris Pratt interview

After nearly three years, the Guardians are coming back to the big screen this Thursday night in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it’s great to finally have the chance to hang out with that bunch of a-holes again.

Two weeks ago, I met actor Chris Pratt (who plays Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord) on the balcony of a hotel room at West Hollywood’s London Hotel to chat about the film. As he smoked a cigar, we spoke about how Quill has changed in Vol. 2, Pratt’s rehearsals with co-star Kurt Russell, his favorite moment in the movie, and more.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

The first Guardians movie ends with Peter Quill finally dealing with the death of his mother as he grabs Gamora’s hand and essentially accepts his friends as his new family. How did that change affect your character going into Vol. 2?

That’s a good question. He has a lot of growth through the first film, and it was important to us – me and James talked about it – it was important that we not go back, you know? For James, it’s important that any lesson that you see one of his characters learn, they’re going to have that in their history now. That’s an important distinction, because a lot of times in sequels, you go back and just play your greatest hits. You have your moment again – the “we are Groot” moment, the dance-off moment. We didn’t want to repeat any of those moments.

So [Quill is] trying to keep the Guardians of the Galaxy out of trouble. He sees himself as the leader. He sees himself as being responsible for the team, and we get deeper into the relationships. They’re like a family because they don’t always like each other, like a real family. [Laughs]

What is the biggest challenge for you in revisiting a beloved character like this?

This was the first time I’d ever done it, not counting television. In TV, Andy never learned anything on Parks and Rec. It was great. I think the big challenge is – honestly, it was a lot less challenging this time around. [Laughs] I think the biggest challenge is just being really efficient with our time and resources and making sure we get the best shit we can in the limited time we have. Just the mountain of work that is making one of these movies.

kurt russell guardians of the galaxy interview

What sort of rehearsals did you do with Kurt Russell to establish the rapport you guys have in the film?

Oh man, we rehearsed the hell out of that stuff. Not just rehearsals, but also conversations and tailoring along the way. Kurt is really, really vocal and his style is, he’s very straight up. If he doesn’t think something’s working, he’s going to tell you. I mean, he’s not going to tell me that my acting’s not working, but if he doesn’t see something for his character working, if he doesn’t know exactly where he’s coming from, he’s going to discuss it until he knows.

The process was really cool. You get to see someone’s process. I got to sit there and work with Kurt Russell and see how he ran everything through his authenticity meter. He’s policing the logic constantly, and asking questions over again until he gets it. So not only did we have a long rehearsal process, but every day when we were shooting scenes, it was going back to figuring out exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing and making sense of it.

You’ve played Peter Quill twice in films written by James Gunn, but Infinity War is the first time you play him where you’re not working from James’ script. What’s the difference between how James writes your character and how [Stephen] Markus and [Christopher] McFeely have written him?

The end result is exactly the same because no matter who’s writing it, there’s a process of making it authentic to myself that every bit of dialogue and action is going to have to go through. With James, it’s innate. He writes dialogue that I would improv. And when I say ‘improv,’ I don’t just mean ‘joke.’ I mean taking ownership of the role, colloquializing, making stuff my own. Making it mine. I always make it mine. Even when it’s James’, and I’m saying exactly what he’s written, I’m making it mine. So, at the end of the day, the result is exactly the same – it’s just a slightly different way of getting there.

I just heard some news from this marketing guy who’s seen some stuff cut together from Infinity War and he’s over the fucking moon. He says our shit is – he’s so pumped about it. We are not small parts, but we’re supporting, and in that way, our job…

“We” being the Guardians?

Yeah, I mean the Guardians. The Guardians that are in the movie. We have great stuff that we’re doing in it. It’s really fun. It’s very, very Guardians. It’s our tone, it’s our voices. And I felt like on the day, although it was the Russo brothers directing, James is executive producing. He and Kevin [Feige] are having a conversation, and there were zero egos involved, it felt like.

Was James on the set with you guys?

He wasn’t there on the set, but his spirit was all over it. James and I have a shorthand when we’re working together, and he has a similar relationship with every actor that he works with, and in a way, I felt like as Quill, I had a little bit more responsibility on set to take care of my Guardians while I was there. So in many ways, I was… [He trails off]

Sort of the voice behind the voice?

[Nodding] I was a little bit the voice. And I don’t mean that in any [negative] way – the Russos are fucking awesome, and everyone there is collaborating to make the best thing we can. We had all hands on deck to just make it awesome.

Are you going to be in Captain Marvel?

I don’t know.

Do you know how many movies are left on your contract?

Yes.

Can you tell me?

I’ll tell you, as much as I love Marvel, it doesn’t matter how many I have contracted, because I’m going to continue to work with them.

I was going to ask if you were interested in re-upping when your contract expires.

Totally, dude. I want to – I love working with them. I’m going to continue to work with them whether they like it or not. Even if they write me out, I’m going to show up on set and be like, ‘Hey, man!’ They’re done. They don’t get to shake me.

***

I had time for a few more questions, but they involve spoilers for the movie. I know James Gunn has said that spoilers won’t ruin the movie for you, but trust me — there are a couple of things that you deserve to see for the first time in context in the theater. If you’re trying to go in spoiler-free, I’d recommend bookmarking this page and reading the rest of this interview after you’ve seen the film.

Last chance: major spoilers follow in the next page.

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