Chris Pratt's Favorite 'Guardians Vol. 2' Moment, Rehearsing With Kurt Russell, And More [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?


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.

kurt russell in guardians of the galaxy vol 2 as ego

Now that Ego is gone, does that mean that Peter Quill has lost any sort of Celestial power that he once had? Can Peter still hold an Infinity Stone without dying now that "the light" has been removed from the inside of Ego's planet?

It seems that way. I don't know that that's true, and I could see a world where he's an extension of Ego and the light is dead in the planet, but it's still alive in him, it's still alive in Mantis, it's still alive in some of his progeny that have survived. They're the only two, it seems like, but maybe there are more. It's really going to be a Kevin Feige, James, Marvel question. I love the idea of having powers of some kind, but what sets the Guardians apart and what makes them special is they're not gods. They don't have superpowers. They rely on one another.

At one point in this movie during a fight with Ego, Quill turns into Pac-Man. If you were in a fight with somebody and had the ability to take any form that you wanted, what form would you take?

Oh my God, dude. Frank Dux from fuckin' Bloodsport, probably. [Laughs] I'd just put the blindfold on, [screams], do the Dim Mak on somebody! Maybe, similar to Quill, probably any of my iconic '80s pop heroes. Maybe Sly. Maybe a little Kurt Russell. Yeah, I'd turn into Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Do you have a favorite moment in this movie? Are you able to watch the parts of that movie that you're not in from a fan perspective since the cast is sort of split a little bit in this film?

I do. It may change, but I can tell you right now what my favorite moment is. It's a combination of moments. And it's Michael Rooker as Yondu, and we come into that planet where the Ravagers are, and they're drinking and with those robot alien sex workers or whatever they are, and we see Rooker. There's no words. He's literally naked – or at least his shirt's off – and he's exposed, and we see this vulnerability, and we see this sense of pain and loneliness. And then it's immediately followed by him in his Ravager gear, flanked by Ravagers, and with this cocky look. But we know now, because we just saw him naked, we know what's beneath all that.

That combination of moments, to me, makes this movie transcend the genre. It's not a Marvel – it's a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but it's a cinematic masterpiece. That's the moment to me where I'm like, "Okay, this is next level."