Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney
Like him or not, there’s no denying that Chris Pratt is one of the biggest and most bankable stars in the entire industry, but he wouldn’t even be anywhere near the top of the Hollywood A-list if it wasn’t for James Gunn‘s perseverance.
It’s become Hollywood folklore that nobody was sold on the prospect of the schlubby Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation taking top billing in a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster – and that extended to the actor himself – before Gunn stopped him from blowing his Guardians of the Galaxy audition, ultimately winning him the part of Peter Quill.
From there, Pratt has gone on to headline three billion-dollar Jurassic World movies, while also showing up in box office success stories including The LEGO Movie, Passengers, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and of course his recurring appearances as the MCU’s Star-Lord.
And yet, the star revealed to Jimmy Kimmel that he’d lost out on parts in virtually every major property in the business beforehand, leading him to question whether or not he really had what it took to break out from his comedy wheelhouse and become a leading man.
“I auditioned for them all. I had a rough run with Marvel. I auditioned for Thor, but not even to be Thor — but to be one of the sidekick guys, and I didn’t get a callback. Usually they give you a little bit of feedback, and I remember the casting director goes, ‘Wow. You really made a big choice there.’ Which is code for like: ‘Hey, dial back the acting there, guy.’ It got to the point where I was never gonna audition for Marvel again.
I was like, ‘This is stupid, I’m never gonna be in a Marvel movie.’ Anything that came out that needed a guy that even remotely looked like me, I auditioned for in some way or another. And I would either submit a tape and they would say ‘No, we don’t need to see him,’ or I would get there and see them, they’d go, ‘No, that’s the last time we need to see you.’
And it was not only just Marvel things but there have been a lot of heroic characters in various films… Not DC characters, but like, you know, Star Trek or Avatar. Anything that was like, ‘This guy walks in and he’s got the it-factor.’ Over and over again I was like, ‘Well, I definitely don’t have that it-factor they’re looking for because they don’t even want me to come back.’”
Based on that, it’s easy to see why Pratt holds Gunn in the highest esteem, and also makes it incredibly likely that he’ll show up in some capacity now that his Guardians of the Galaxy savior is running DC Studios.