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The Untold Truth Of Chris Pratt

During his 20-year career, Chris Pratt has come to exemplify the charismatic and affable leading man persona of a Hollywood star. Although Pratt is best known for his role as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise, he has a number of other memorable leading and supporting roles to his credit where the actor has made ample use of his gift for comedy.

Before becoming a Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero, Pratt was best known as the schlubby and lovable Andy Dwyer from "Parks and Recreation." On the side, Pratt was also taking on increasingly prominent roles in movies, from a bit part as James McAvoy's annoying best friend in "Wanted" to playing a Navy SEAL in "Zero Dark Thirty." 

Pratt's versatility and hard work were noticed, and he soon became one of the film industry's premier leading men, joining an elite group of "Hollywood Chrises" that have ruled the box office the past decade. Although today Chris Pratt has his choice of leading men roles, the road to getting to that point was a long and rocky one. Here are 14 instances from that journey that even die-hard fans might not know.  

Chris Pratt used to be a stripper

When Chris Pratt debuted his buff look as Star-Lord in the MCU, fans expressed shock at the actor's change in appearance. The fact that Pratt was able to transform his body from the chubby Andy Dwyer to superhero Peter Quill earned him a great deal of praise.

That transformation was easier than one might expect for Pratt to pull off. The actor was an athlete in school and was lean and muscular before being cast as Andy on "Parks and Recreation." In fact, before getting his break in Hollywood, Pratt used his rockin' physique to work as a male stripper.   

"I was always a very much naked person," Pratt explained to Buzzfeed about his stripping days. "I loved to always get naked. I was very free, so I thought, I may as well get paid." While Pratt looked good enough to get paid to take his clothes off in front of a crowd, the actor also admits he was not able to make the cut as an exotic dancer à la "Magic Mike." He told the outlet: "I did go one time and audition on a stage for a club, but I don't think I got the job. I don't think I'm a very good dancer."

Call him Douchemaster McChest

In 2014, Chris Pratt took to Twitter to post the very first headshot he got as a 20-something actor looking for work in Hollywood. Pratt dubbed his headshot "Douchemaster McChest," and with good reason. The picture looks like it belongs on the cover of a steamy romance novel, with Pratt's massive curls obscuring much of his forehead while his unbuttoned shirt reveals a hint of the actor's chest.

The story behind the headshot is as strange as the picture itself, as Pratt revealed to Jimmy Fallon. "I knew I needed a headshot and I was in an area of LA called West Hollywood," the actor explained. "A predominantly gay area, a really kind of fabulous place. I was at the post office and there was a guy who was really kind of looking at me for a long time."

The man staring at Pratt turned out to be a photographer who randomly asked if the aspiring actor wanted his picture taken. Not only did Pratt go to the stranger's house to get his picture taken, but he also used the photographer's shower and wore one of his shirts for the headshot. To this day, Pratt remains grateful to the photographer for the headshots. "He was a good guy. So if you're watching, dude, if you remember, thank you. That got me on The WB. That got me 'Everwood.'"

Pratt was discovered while waiting tables

Hollywood is filled with tales of female actors walking around LA and being scooped up by talent agents based on their looks alone. Something similar happened to Chris Pratt when he was working as a waiter at Bubba Gump Shrimp. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Pratt revealed it was a chance meeting with actress Rae Dawn Chong while waiting on her table at Bubba Gump Shrimp that gave him his first acting break. Chong was best known for her leading role in "Commando" opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and for being the daughter of stoner-comedian Tommy Chong. "She was with her producing partner," Pratt explained.

It turned out Chong was producing a horror-comedy called "Cursed Part 3." Deeming Pratt "cute," Chong auditioned him for the lead role, which the fresh-faced actor managed to land. The film itself did little to advance Pratt's career, with the actor himself dubbing it, "the worst movie I'd ever seen." But it played an important role, nevertheless, since according to Pratt, "The whole reason that movie came along was just so I could be brought to Hollywood." 

He put on weight on purpose

Method actors are often praised for putting on weight for a dramatic role, like Christian Bale for "Vice" or Jared Leto for "Chapter 27." Chris Pratt underwent a similar journey, but for the sake of comedy roles, as the actor explained during a Reddit AMA

When a fan asked Pratt about his past as an overweight comedic actor, the actor explained that putting on weight actually helped him land better roles. "I was confident and in good shape when I first came to LA, but nobody would cast me in any well-written roles," Pratt wrote. "People assumed based on my looks I was an a**hole and a one-trick pony. I only auditioned to play the douchebag characters."

Pratt found this sort of typecasting limiting to his career. When he was cast as Andy Dwyer for "Parks and Recreation," the actor choose to put on weight for the role while also imbuing his character with inner confidence. With this combination, Pratt was finally able to give free rein to his abilities as a performer, explaining, "They never let me improv or do comedy [for the jerk roles]. It wasn't until I built a schlubby exterior, which stood in stark contrast to my inner confidence that people gave me room to play."

He has no problem getting completely nude for comedy

Chris Pratt came into his role as Andy Dwyer on "Parks and Recreation" hungry to prove that he could play a more complex character than a one-note loser. Pratt was willing to go to any lengths to mine the comedic depths of Andy, even if it required getting unexpectedly naked in front of the star of the show, Amy Poehler.  

Pratt related the incident on an episode of The Graham Norton Show. According to the actor, he was shooting a scene for "Parks and Recreation" in which Poehler's character goes to open a door and finds a very naked Andy standing outside. In reality, Pratt was wearing flesh-colored underwear for the scene. The actor felt that Poehler's reaction to seeing Andy in his birthday suit was not suitably shocked.

For one take, Pratt took off the flesh-colored underwear. Sure enough, Poehler's reaction to an unexpected and completely nude Pratt was comedy gold, and her reaction was okayed for the scene. Pratt revealed he later received a stern letter from NBC forbidding him from pulling a stunt like that again.  

Playing Andy almost cost the actor Star-Lord

Chris Pratt made his name in Hollywood playing the goofy and overweight Andy Dwyer in "Parks and Recreation." The role helped Pratt escape being typecast as a creep early in his career, but it also almost cost him the role of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

When filmmaker James Gunn was casting lead roles for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1," he auditioned many actors for Star-Lord, but none felt perfectly suited to the role. Casting director Sarah Finn suggested Gunn audition Chris Pratt. Gunn's response was a definite "No" based on the actor's past work. 

Gunn explained his take on the matter in response to a fan on Instagram (via Republic TV). "I saw him (on 'Parks and Recreation') and thought he was funny but didn't think he was right for the part so our casting director Sarah had to talk me into even auditioning him." Fortunately, Gunn's initial skepticism completely disappeared within moments of seeing Pratt's audition, and the filmmaker knew he had finally found his Star-Lord.

Pratt almost passed on Star-Lord

Director James Gunn had grave doubts about Chris Pratt being able to play the role of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise, but Pratt also shared those same doubts, so much so that he was initially resistant to the idea of auditioning for the part. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Pratt admitted he did not think he was the right person to play Star-Lord. "When they announced [the film], I looked it up and saw a list of the top 20 dudes in Hollywood who might play Peter Quill," the actor explained. "I was not on that list. I did not want to go in and embarrass myself. My agent said, 'Guardians is everything you've been saying you want to do.' I said, 'F**k, you're right.' But I'm going to go in there and do exactly what I mean by action comedy. My brand of stuff. Brash. Honest. I played the room."

The gamble worked. Pratt nailed the very first audition he gave as Star-Lord in front of Gunn. After innumerable auditions, Gunn had finally found the perfect actor to embody the action-comedy sensibility he was looking for in his take on Peter Quill. Pratt was hired for his first major leading role in a big-budget film, and the rest is MCU history. 

Pratt stole from the MCU for the best reason

Marvel Studios is generally quite strict about keeping props and costumes with the production team rather than letting the actors take whatever memorabilia they want home. Following in Star-Lord's footsteps as a kind-hearted thief, Chris Pratt stole his character's iconic red jacket from the set of "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1" for the best of reasons. 

In an interview with Panzer TV, Pratt explained that he wanted to keep the jacket because he someday hoped to personally wear it in front of his young fans. "I stole the jacket and some of the wardrobe so that, if this movie comes out and does what everyone hopes it can, I can follow the example of someone — say, like, a Russell Wilson — and go visit kids. If it was a big enough movie to where it would mean something to a kid who's sick in the hospital for Peter Quill or Star-Lord to come visit them, I'll do that." 

After his movie became a smash hit, Pratt made good on his promise by visiting sick children while dressed as Star-Lord. As Pratt has grown into his role as an A-list Hollywood leading man, the actor continues to visit hospitals whenever possible for some heartwarming meetings

A character in The Suicide Squad is named after Chris Pratt

After making his mark in the MCU with the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies, filmmaker James Gunn has moved on to the DCEU by helming "The Suicide Squad." Despite some fans interpreting this move as Gunn working with the "competition," there is clearly no ill will between Gunn and his MCU pals over the move, so much so "The Suicide Squad" features a Chris Pratt reference that the actor himself approved.

"The Suicide Squad" features a character named Ratcatcher 2, who has the power to control rats. Naturally, this required the use of a few rat extras, or a "couple dozen," according to James Gunn. The filmmaker explained to EW that the film made use of two main rats, one of which was named "Jaws" and the other "Crisp Ratt." 

"I had to text Chris (Pratt) the other day to be like, 'We're putting the credits together and one of our rats is named Crisp Ratt," Gunn explained. "This of course is meant as a compliment to you. But I just want to make sure that you're cool with that, that I put this rat's name in the credits.' He thought it was hilarious."

He also holds the record for not blinking

In the modern age of movie publicity, stars are expected to partake in all manner of strange activities and challenges that are uploaded on social media. Chris Pratt has always shown himself to be a natural at such events, so much so that he briefly held a record for a challenge that involved not blinking.

During a round of promotions for "Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom" on the Spanish TV show "El Hormiguero," Pratt was challenged to keep his eyes open without blinking for as long as possible. The actor was happy to comply, and he managed to beat the previous record for the game set by Ryan Reynolds for 2 minutes and 37 seconds. 

Pratt kept himself from blinking for 6 minutes and 2 seconds. Reynolds has not publicly commented on Pratt taking his no-blinking crown, but the two Marvel leading men have traded barbs in the past regarding their Fantasy Football teams. 

Pratt once thought he could beat Dave Bautista

The MCU is filled with big men with large muscles, but most of that muscle is for show. Not so with Dave Bautista, the former wrestler-turned-actor who shot to fame in the role of Drax the Destroyer in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise alongside Chris Pratt. Pratt and Bautista are friends in real life, but that did not stop Pratt from challenging Bautista to a wrestling match while in a drug-induced haze.

In an interview with James Corden, Pratt explained he used to take sleeping aids like Ambien to fall asleep. While under the spell of the drug, Pratt had a habit of texting random people and forgetting about it the next day. After one such incident, Bautista informed him the next day he had received Pratt's message. "I look at my phone, it's a text like this long," Pratt explained. "'Dave, I wanna wrestle. I wanna wrestle you, no one needs to know, but I just wanna know. I think I could take you. I think I could wrestle you, bro. Like, collegiate rules, no elbows no knees, I just want — I wanna feel the power!'"   

Fortunately, Bautista's reaction was to simply laugh long and hard. Once he came back to his senses, Pratt had no problem admitting a fight with the former wrestler would not end well for him. "Dave would kill me! He is by far the toughest dude in all of Hollywood," he told Corden.

He predicted his role in Jurassic World

In 2010, Chris Pratt was finally beginning to make a name for himself in the role of Andy Dwyer in "Parks and Recreation." Although the role was well-received, no one could have imagined the guy playing overweight goofball Andy would one day become a leading action star. No one except Chris Pratt, it seems. 

Pratt was well-known for his ability to improvise jokes without breaking character on "Parks and Recreation." While recording a behind-the-scenes video extra for the show's DVD version, Pratt goes off on a comedic tangent where he pretends to get a very important phone call. "Man, I just got a text message," Pratt says with a resigned sigh (via Deadline). "From Steven Spielberg. God, so annoying. I'll have to get back to you later about 'Jurassic Park 4.' Boom."

Of course, fans know Pratt did indeed get the call five years later when he was cast in the lead role for "Jurassic World." Was this a case of a wild joke improbably coming true, or did Pratt literally will the role into existence for himself? 

He has a strange obsession with bugs

The ulta-rich amongst Hollywood A-listers are almost required to have some strange obsession or another to add to their mystique. In the case of Chris Pratt, his strange obsession actually began before he made it big in Hollywood. That obsession was a desire to collect bugs of every shape and size.

Even more improbably, Pratt went on to discover that his insect interests aligned with those of his future wife, Anna Faris, when the two first started dating. "I had a bug collection," Faris explained once to James Corden (via HuffPost). "When Chris and I first started dating, he invited me over to his apartment and he had, also, a dead bug collection."

Another time that Pratt's bug interests got public attention was when James Gunn uploaded a video on Twitter in which Pratt can be seen holding up an insect. "People call these crane flies," Pratt explains to the camera. "They call them mosquito-eaters. I call them lunch." The actor then proceeds to put the insect in his mouth and chew down with the camera zooming in to confirm he had indeed eaten the bug.  

Chris Pratt has a dream role

Over a long career, Chris Pratt has played everything from a jerk to a happy-go-lucky loser to a cowboy to a superhero. There is still one role left that the actor wants to play — a cop. But Pratt does not just want to play a cop in any movie that comes his way. 

In an interview with WSVN's Chris Van Vliet, Pratt revealed he has his heart set on playing an officer of the law. "I've always wanted to play a cop," the actor explained. "I've had the opportunity to, but I haven't taken it, because I take it really seriously and I think there is only one chance to do it for the first time. So I've passed up on a few opportunities to, but at some point, I will play a cop."

According to Pratt, the cop roles that he has been offered so far have failed to line up with his expectations from the part, not just in terms of the character itself, but the message surrounding the role. "It has to be the right film, the right character, the right message, the right portrayal," he said. "I think that's important to me."