Chris Pratt is rapidly shaping up to be one of our best-loved action stars, after recently graduating to those lead movie roles from a start in television and comedy. Much publicity has surrounded his split with wife Anna Faris, seemingly just as the two of them were reaching new heights in their careers, and in spite of the fact that they have a young son together. While both of them seem to be devoted parents, it looks like their relationship simply wasn’t built to last, with Anna stating publicly that she had made some mistakes in clinging onto something that didn’t work.
But what about Chris Pratt before Anna Faris? He was less well-known when they met in 2009 on a film set and was just beginning to get started on his real career. That means that what we know of him, publicly at least, is largely after their relationship got going. Even if you’re a big fan of the man now, there is a lot that you might not know about him from before that time.
We’ve unearthed some interesting information about the actor that you may not know. He actually has a lot of hidden depths to his past, including why he entered the public consciousness at a larger weight and what would eventually go on to trigger his shift into the more muscular leading roles. Want to find out what was behind it all? Read on, as we reveal 15 things about Chris before Anna.
15 His Comedy Was His Own Idea
Chris has become known for adding a lot of comedic touches to his characters, a trait which continues today in films like Guardians of the Galaxy. But when he was starting out, no one saw him as a funny actor. He had to create his own comedy in order to get noticed and start getting the intentionally recognized funny roles. "I always had thought my strongest ability was improvisational comedy," he says. "I was always adding stuff to scenes and the directors would be like, ’Come on, man, no, don’t do that.’ And then that stuff would make the cut. And I was like, ’I knew it! I knew I was funnier than that stupid fucking director, and he didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about! I knew it!’” It looks like we have his own improv skills to thank for his current career and the way he makes roles funnier.
14 He Has A Very Mixed Ancestry
Chris himself might have been born in Virginia, but there is a lot going on in his family history. He has a lot of mixed ancestries in his heritage, including Norwegian from his mother and English, German, Swiss, and French-Canadian ancestry from his father. This might explain why many people find his looks fascinating, as they are a good mix of different cultures, although they are all Western. He is certainly very American himself, however, with a strong background of living in the country and not much connection to the other cultures in his heritage. Still, it’s very interesting to see where he came from: his mother’s maiden name was Indahl, which makes for a very different-sounding name indeed when you consider that he could have been Chris Indahl. Given that his surname is part of the appeal of his comedy side, his career could have gone differently from the beginning.
13 He Took German Lessons
Chris has actually managed to learn enough to speak a conversational level in German, which is impressive enough for someone who was always clowning around in school. But, apparently, he couldn’t stop clowning around even when it came to those German lessons. He admitted that he once found a random piece of concrete on the ground and decided to play a trick with it. He gave it to his German teacher as a gift, claiming that it was a piece of the Berlin Wall. No word on how long she believed it for, but she certainly knows the truth now – and what a cruel way to find out if he never told her in person. He admitted it on Jimmy Kimmel Live, broadcasting it to the entire nation in a very casual way. You can check out the footage from the show when he plays a round of ‘Guess the Guardian’.
12 His Father Died Of MS
Chris’s parents were Kathleen Louise Pratt and Daniel Clifton Pratt. Sadly, his father died in 2014 from multiple sclerosis, which also means that he was suffering from the disease for quite some time. This must have been very hard for Chris, and if you have noticed that he does quite a bit of charity work, this could explain why. He also has a brother and sister who would have shared that burden. Chris is clearly very close with his family, and he has done the standard celebrity deed of buying his mother a house to live in. Despite that, she continued working at the Safeway supermarket where she had been for 29 years; her reason being that she was near to retirement age anyway. A chronic illness like MS can bring a family much closer together as they share the load of caring for their loved one as they struggle against the symptoms.
11 He Was Once Homeless
There was a time when Chris was homeless and lived out of the back of a van with Scooby Doo printed on the side of it. He had moved down to Maui in Hawaii and had very little to his name, which is when he began working as a waiter. He says, "It's a pretty awesome place to be homeless. We just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, just enough to cover gas, food, and fishing supplies." He had been going to community college but quickly dropped out, and then spent his spare time hanging out with friends and listening to the album ‘2001’ by Dr. Dre on repeat. He actually managed to break out his skills from that time by performing Eminem’s rapping verse to the song ‘Forgot About Dre’ in an interview. He says, "I know every word to that album." It’s clearly no lie.
10 He Was A Jurassic Park Fan
There’s nothing better than being cast in a role that you’ve always admired since a young age. It doesn’t happen often. For example, Elijah Wood was famously interviewed about what role he would love to have, and he mentioned being in Lord of the Rings, his favorite book – long before the film adaptation was discussed. For Chris, he had a similar experience when he was cast in Jurassic World. It turns out that he was a big fan of the first movie in the franchise, which came out when he was a young teen. "The 13-year-old me would have been tickled to death,” he said, as he had been to see the movie twice on its opening weekend in 1993. It’s pretty sweet that he managed to go out and star in a franchise that he was such a big fan of from the beginning. There might be more where that came from.
9 He Has Some Diverse Hobbies
Although he reports having a range of hobbies, Chris definitely puts some very manly pastimes on his list. He enjoys hunting and fishing, which is perhaps why he fitted so easily into the role of a park ranger in Jurassic World. You can really picture him out in the wilderness catching his own food to survive, and you could probably imagine that he wouldn’t mind it one bit. He also enjoys working on cars, which together with hunting and fishing has to make him the archetypal rural American male. There is one weird thing, though. He also has a collection of dead insects, which he started before he met Anna Faris. Apparently, they bonded quickly because she also had a similar collection. They merged the two together when they got married; it would be interesting to know who has custody of it now, or whether they split the parts back up again.
8 He Was An Entertainer In School
It’s probably no surprise at all to find out that Chris was an outgoing entertainer even while he was still in high school. One of his first experiences in front of a crowd was when he was chosen to be the MC for school assemblies. This allowed him to get an idea of how to deal with a crowd and what kind of things they might react positively to. It must have gone well, because when he graduated in 1997, he was voted class clown. You can pretty much imagine that he hasn’t changed a lot from the way that he is now when he talks in interviews or brings the comedy to his on-screen characters. There are plenty of outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage to back up the idea that he’s the same way on set as well. He has stayed true to form since his high school days.
7 He Gained Weight To Change His Typecasting
Why did Chris get fat during Parks and Recreation? Because it was funny, and because he was fed up of being typecast as the ‘asshole boyfriend’. "Typically, I was getting typecast as the bad boyfriend. The boyfriend of the girl who you hope ends up with the guy you like. That was my bread and butter for a long time," he explains. But then Parks happened. "I saw myself and I thought, ’Wow, I’m getting fat.’ And then immediately I was like, ’This is the funniest...’ I was making myself laugh. I was: 'That’s where it’s at. There’s no one doing that. No one being like a super-confident dumb fat guy.’… So I just got fatter, and the laughs kept coming, and it was funnier and funnier. And in that moment I was like, ’Oh great, I found my niche—this is paying better than the asshole-boyfriend parts.’"
6 He Worked As A "Dancer", Amongst Other Things
Yes, you read correctly: Chris Pratt used to be a stripper. He even "performed" at his best friend’s grandmother’s birthday party. Apparently, no situation is too awkward for him when he’s on the job! He took the job when he was 18 and was even hired for a bachelorette party. It wasn’t the only job that he has ever held down. He has also been a car washer, mural painter, burger flipper, room-service waiter, and snack bar assistant at a bingo hall. He also worked for his dad at one point, and was a waiter in a restaurant too. He still dreams about that experience and how awful it could be at times: “They're like the worst nightmare you can have. You're totally in the weeds. You have like six tables. You forgot to put the order in. You're sweating, and you wake up and 'Oh, my God. I'm so glad.'"
5 He Could Never Keep His Clothes On As A Child
Let’s hear this one from Chris in his own words: "I was a jokester, I had a dirty mind, and a dirty sense of humor. And I was naked a lot. I was naked all the time. It was just recently, in the last few years since I’ve become an adult, that I’ve learned to keep my clothes on. And even then, I really haven’t. I got yelled at by NBC for getting naked. I got suspended from the track team in high school for getting naked on the track bus. I was always getting naked. I thought it was hilarious. I didn’t understand how somebody could be so offended by me just taking my junk out." No wonder he ended up working as a stripper, since nudity wasn’t really a big deal to him at all. “But that’s how I was in high school, too. I remember walking into the coach’s office with just a sock on. Not on my feet. And I was like, ’Hey, Coach, can I talk to you?’ And they were like, ’Jesus, God!’"
4 His First Role Was Pretty Cheap
The first break for Chris came when he was waiting tables and bumped into a director who decided to cast him in a movie. That was 2000’s Cursed Part III, and while it might not be a blip in the memory of any film fans, it was a big deal for Chris. It got him to LA, and we mean that literally – the plane ticket came with the gig. Not only that, but he also got paid a grand total of £700. If someone offered to pay him that much for a role now, they would probably get laughed all the way into next week. Although the pay wasn’t great, it was probably a lot for a guy that didn’t have anything else going for him at the time. He also had another big monetary break when he got his first headshot for free, simply out of the kindness of a stranger who took the photo and gave him the film at no charge.
3 His First Big Role Was In Everwood
Most people know that Chris started to get famous because of his role as Andy in Parks and Recreations. That’s where he started to make the most impact, and so even most of his fans just know him from there. But his breakout role was actually in something else: WB’s Everwood, where he took the role of teenage Bright Abbott. That’s right. We have a lot of footage of Chris during his younger years. He also dated his co-star, Emily VanCamp, who played his on-screen sister. As he said at the time, “Every once in a while we get that one person that's like, "That's really creepy. You just kissed your sister." We thought it was weird for six months, but it had more to do with just trying to hide our relationship from the set... It never really weirded us out that we played brother and sister, because, you know, it's all fiction.”
2 He Liked Keeping Pets
In an early interview, Chris admitted to having quite a lot of pets. He said, “I have a pet lizard named Puff, five goldfish - named Pinky, Brain, Jowels, Pearl and Sandy, an oscar fish named Chef, two pacus, an albino African frog named Whitey, a bonsai tree, four Venus flytraps, a fruit fly farm, and sea monkeys.” That’s a lot of pets for any one person to keep up with – especially when you include the plants as well. After all, the plants he has chosen can take a lot of care and upkeep in order to survive. He seems to lean towards the exotic side when choosing his pets, and clearly has an appreciation for the weird and wonderful. The freaks of the animal kingdom, if you will. Though most of these pets have probably since passed away, we would be very surprised if he didn't replace them with more of the same as soon as he had the chance to.
1 He Has Friendships Based On Toilet Humor
When Chris met Nick Offerman, a friendship for the ages was born. Nick said, "I thought, 'Oh great, who's this meathead? Obviously, he's very beautiful, but he must be dumb as a post'. And then he proceeded to be perfectly sweet and absolutely sharp as a tack, and I thought, 'Oh, I see. You're a superhero'." Now, they entertain one another by sending photos of their poop when they feel like they have created a particularly impressive one. Nick now says, "Chris and I merely recognized in one another a formidable, concordant creator. Our ’pieces’ transcend bourgeois notions like ’taste,’ ’decorum,’ and ’NSFW.’ That’s plebeian stuff. He is magnificent—a lavatorial Michelangelo, and I am his Da Vinci. He proffers Rubber Soul, and I reply with Pet Sounds. The notions of ’culture,’ ’good taste,’ ’decency,’ and ’common sense’ are but flotsam to us. Jetsam, even. Our works have honesty in their fiber.”