On Tuesday Lainey opened the New Year by writing about Ben Affleck and Hollywood dreams, the cost thereof (see also: La La Land) and also, how the ones that have Made It often reframe their success because, as Lainey put it, they’re “embarrassed” of their desire to be a celebrity. We’re supposed to hold celebrity cheap and treat it as the byproduct of the work—“I just wanted to act and now I’m famous, golly gee!”—and not the other way around, that the work is, for the vast majority of them, the path to celebrity, which is what they really wanted all along.
Over the last couple of years, Chris Pratt has become capital-F Famous, is on the verge of being Very Famous (V. Famous [adj.]: The state of being so famous that EVERYONE knows your name, not just the internet, AKA Cheers Famous), and though Passengers stalled and didn’t flip the switch to full blown Movie Stardom, with Marvel and Jurassic World 2 in his back pocket, he can still get there. Chris Pratt has, by any metric, Made It. So it’s time for him to reflect on his climb and tell us how he sees his celebrity, and Vanity Fair has provided the forum with a cover feature that’s a little late to help Passengers.
Most of it is stuff we already know—the small town, the van on the beach in Hawaii, the happy marriage and cute kid, the improbable discovery at a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant, making Pratt the twenty-first century Lana Turner. There’s a video of him cleaning a fish and the profile features Pratt cooking up some Texas wild boar and making mention of his hunting. Half the audience won’t be into the hunting, but half will. (There’s a Texas ranch in my family and boar is an Old Testament-plague level problem. It’s hard for me to judge him on that because my family relies on boar hunters as part of our land management.) But he also begins the work of reframing his climb from his position on top of the mountain. Let’s take a look at how Chris Pratt sees his own success.
On bridging the gap between WANTING to be rich and famous and BEING rich and famous:
“‘He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you…’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy.’ […] For Pratt, success, so extreme it scared him, is explained by metaphysical intervention.”
This is a kind of survivor’s guilt. It’s, “Why did this work for me, and not that guy, or that other guy?” When you audition in Hollywood, you go into a room of a dozen or more people who look just like you. They talk like you, they’re probably dressed like you. (La La Land totally nails this.) And you see a lot of those same-same faces at every audition, since you’re all going out for the same roles. But YOU get the break…why? Maybe you’re more talented but it’s more likely there was just something about you on the day. You made them laugh or you twitched your hand left when everyone else went right. (Pratt himself says he got good at auditioning, as if he’s the only one who was.) For a reason you will never fully be able to explain to yourself, YOU got the call that led to the break. So, sure, divine intervention. It’s kinder than my view, which is that life is totally random and sh*t happens and you roll with it or you don’t, either way the universe doesn’t care. None of this is really about you.
On his Big Break:
“The whole reason that movie [Cursed Part 3] came along was just so I could be brought to Hollywood.”
Cursed Part 3 is Rae Dawn Chong’s only directorial credit. She also wrote and produced it. So Rae Dawn Chong was trying to get behind the camera and make something happen for herself, but sure, that movie only exists to make Chris Pratt a movie star. See the above: None of this is really about you.
Another comment that kind of makes you think Chris Pratt is very self-involved:
“Donald Trump came on. We talked about Trump’s gross Access Hollywood video […] ‘“When you’re a star, you could do anything”—the offensive thing to me about that was Trump calling himself a star,’ said Pratt. ‘…It’s not because I consider myself a star, but if I ever heard someone say that, one of my peers, I’d instantly lose respect for them.’”
Donald Trump refers to himself as a “star” and THAT is the part of the statement you find offensive? Not the p*ssy grabbing? Really?
Bonus statement casting doubt on Chris Pratt’s taste and judgment:
“When I asked Pratt why he did Passengers, he said, ‘It’s the best script I’ve ever read.’”
Chris Pratt is the Hollywood Man’s Man, so downhome butch country boy you can smell the Americana and bald eagle pee on him. (I think he’s leaning a little too hard into this now, but whatever, his call. On the upside, his image does have the side effect of totally cockblocking Scott Eastwood’s own Hollywood dream.) He’s a good ole boy whose fame and success was ordained by God—this is how Chris Pratt views his Hollywood dream. But no dream comes for free, so the real question is, what price is he paying?
See Pratt's Vanity Fair video here.