Chris Pratt Attributes His Meteoric Rise to Fame to Coupons and Faith: "I Feel Like It Was Perfectly Planned"

Passengers says he owes his successful career to a part-time job

By Francesca Bacardi Jan 03, 2017 5:00 PMTags

As soon as Chris Pratt figured out what he wanted to do with his life, he went out and did it. But he had to go through the trials and tribulations of growing up first.

Pratt and his family moved around a lot, but ultimately they settled in Washington state where Pratt spent his high school days as captain of the wrestling team and a football star. But it was his brother, Cully Pratt, whom he admired the most.

"He was hands down the best big brother anyone could ask for, super- supportive and always helped me, and loved me, and took care of me," Pratt says in the February issue of Vanity Fair. "We spent our entire childhood, eight hours a day, wrestling."

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And while the Guardians of the Galaxy star loved his sports, he realized he wanted to be an actor after he saw his brother perform onstage. "One Christmas, he was in a play, a musical, and sang, and it knocked everyone's socks off," Pratt recalls. "My mom was crying. And I was like, 'That's what I want to do.'"

After that, Pratt realized he wanted to be an actor, but getting his feet off the ground was the issue. A now-famous interaction between Pratt and his old wrestling coach serves as a premonition for Pratt's career. "I was like, 'I don't know, but I know I'll be famous and I know I'll make a s--t ton of money,'" he remembers telling his coach.

The road to stardom, however, wasn't so easy. After answering an ad to sell coupons door-to-door, Pratt returned home penniless and embarrassed. A friend in Hawaii, however, encouraged him to move to Maui where he got a job at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and lived out of a van. It was while serving at Bubba Gump that he met Rae Dawn Chong, an actress who starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando.

Chong invited him to Los Angeles to audition for a movie, and he scored the lead part. Unfortunately, it was never released. "It was the worst movie I'd ever seen," he admits, adding that it served a greater purpose. "The whole reason that movie came along was just so I could be brought to Hollywood."

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Believe it or not, though, Pratt says he owes his career to those days he worked as a coupon salesman. "That's why I believe in God and the divine," he tells Vanity Fair. "I feel like it was perfectly planned. People talk about rejection in Hollywood. I'm like, 'You're outta your f--kin' mind. Did you ever have someone stick their dog on you at an audition?'"

Eventually Pratt was cast in Everwood, a WB show that he says made his career, but most probably would know him from Parks & Recreation. His family has watched his rise to fame since he first made it big, but his father only got to see the beginning of it as he died from multiple sclerosis in 2014.

"[He saw] some of it. He watched a lot of TV in his final years," Pratt says. "That's pretty much all he did, just sat in front of a TV. So, yeah, I think it made him proud, and it was cool that I got to find some way to connect with him, because he was a hard man to connect with."

Since making it in Hollywood, Pratt's career has morphed. What began as the chubby loveable guy turned into a hunky superhero, thanks to a rude awakening during a casting call for 2011's Moneyball.

"That was the first time I heard someone say, 'We're not gonna cast you—you're too fat,'" Pratt remembers. "So I decided to drop the weight, like in wrestling. I couldn't afford a trainer, so it was all running and crash-dieting and cutting alcohol."

The rest, as they say, is history.