This weekend, you’re probably headed to the movie theater to watch Chris Pratt run from some really nasty dinos in Jurassic World. Well, EW was both on set with the star a year ago and then met up with him again 10 months later to talk about being part of a franchise that captivated him as a kid. An edited transcript of that second conversation is below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This year has been nuts for you. Who’s the person you were most excited to get to meet?
CHRIS PRATT: Probably Steven Spielberg. Working with him and having him be a peer now is pretty remarkable. He’s a guy who’s an icon. I was never a film buff as a kid. I liked to entertain people and I liked comedy and I liked to escape with a movie now and then, but I knew who Steven Spielberg was. He was the first real celebrity director. Like the director you’d go see his movie because it was his movie. And Jurassic Park was a big event for me. So working with him and just the idea that everyday the dailies would go back and he’d be sitting there watching them. And they’d be like, “He really likes them!” And I’d be like, “You’re just saying that to be nice!”
I remember you told me on set that Jurassic Park was like Star Wars for you and you saw it in theater.
Vivid memory. It was the first event movie in that way. I was 13. It started when I saw the movie trailer on TV. Like the sound of the feet thundering and the water shaking on the glass and the T. rex making the sound the T. rex makes and then Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg. I was like “Oh my God I have to see that!” I saw it on opening weekend twice. It just captured my imagination and swept me up. I was one of the kids who in that generation who saw that movie. I can’t think of anyone who’s like I haven’t seen Jurassic Park.
There’s all these fated moments for and the Jurassic franchise. You have a Raptor truck. The Parks and Rec video where you fake getting a text from Spielberg about Jurassic Park IV. Then I read you told Jurassic jokes on The O.C. set. Do you think you’ve been willing this to happen?
I read The Secret when I was 16. I was the first person to read it. I thought it was a secret. I didn’t know they would eventually turn it into a book.
Does it feel like fate almost?
Not almost. It does. It feels just like that. I believe that it is. Things like that happen a lot. It feels like that happens a lot. I’m definitely very favored by God and fate. But also I do a lot of stupid bits. I could pretty much do any movie and there’s a chance I’ve done some dipsh-t bit pertaining to it at some point.
So you were on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy and you Skyped with Colin Trevorrow about Jurassic World?
Yeah. He basically pitched me the whole idea. Told me he was potentially interested in me from the role. He was really going off of what he knew from Parks and Rec and Zero Dark Thirty. It was really more the Zero Dark Thirty character. The character from Jurassic is like a combat veteran, like a spec ops guy, so I could do that and still have a little goofiness. So he gave me the pitch.
I liked Colin so much because he’s a straight shooter. He just tells you the truth. He’s so transparent. So I hung up the Skype call and immediately forgot about it because I was in the middle of trying to navigate this movie that everyone thought was going to be terrible. I was tanking my career on this f–king weird space movie with a raccoon with a gun. So I did that and the movie hadn’t even come out yet and I got this call from my manager saying, “Colin wants to meet with ya.” And I met him down at this restaurant. I was like, “Let’s do it.”
What was Colin’s pitch without spoiling?
It’s not a reboot. The question is, “Why do you make another Jurassic Park? How have we not learned our lesson?” His whole thing was because of money, which justifies making another movie but also he uses that real life justification for the reason the park is open. So you’re picking up 22 years after the first movie and the park is up and running and it’s getting 20,000 visitors a day. You’ve got a functional park and you get to see that. Also it explores our relationship with science and our society today and how it’s different from what it was in the ’90s. We’re not impressed by sh-t anymore. We have the most astounding sh-t happening all around us and no one cares. We’re so bored. It’s like impossible to impress us. So when we pick up on our movie, it’s not this exciting park that no one can believe. I just liked the idea that the park is open and also attendance is falling off. In this world, dinosaurs have been around for 20 years. So no one thinks they’re fascinating anymore. Kids are bored with them. Instead of being mesmerized by a T. rex, they’re at the park and they’re looking at their iPhones.
Colin only did one movie before this, Safety Not Guaranteed. This was a huge movie. How did he do?
He nailed it. He’s the boss. He maintained control, was decisive. He created a lot of movement in the scenes. He directed. I say that because sometimes directors come in and yelling action and yelling cut is not directing. Directing is letting us know his vision. He directed all the animatics stuff too. So when he was directing this movie, he was essentially remaking this movie.
The hallmark of these movies is the great stare. Did you work on that?
It sorta happens naturally. I didn’t practice in the mirror. I watched the whole franchise again. But I also watched movies like The African Queen and Romancing the Stone and Raiders and things like that because those are the movies that Colin told me to watch. Or like Temple of Doom. All those relationship movies where there’s a conflict between the male and female characters that reads as sexual chemistry.
What was the highlight of shooting this movie?
It might not have been an actual moment. For me, my favorite part of the process was being in Hawaii with my family. Swimming, surfing and fishing, and doing runs and hikes all around there and then going to work in Hawaii. I want see if I can get a role on Hawaii Five-0 or something. If I could live there and work, I would.
Are you signed on for a Jurassic sequel?
I am. They have me for I think 38 movies or something.