Esquire: What's the secret to being a good co-star?
Chris Pratt: There are certain lines you have to stay within if you’re the leading man. In a supporting role, you can be bigger than life or outlandish, you’re not responsible for tethering the performance to any type of through-line. You get to come in and be crazy.
Esq: In Delivery Man , you play a single dad who tells the truth about the pains of parenting. You’re a young parent yourself. Was that part of the draw?
CP: It was an opportunity to say terrible things about your children in front of them but in a way that doesn't threaten them or make them feel [you don’t] love them. The British do that, taking the piss out of each other. I like that. Also it was an opportunity to gain weight.
Esq: Is weight-gain usually a key factor in your work choices?
CP: I’d finished Zero Dark Thirty four months before. I was [then] packing on a little bit of weight because I’d done this crash diet for that film. I thought, “What if I get to like 300lb for this role, that would be so funny”. Everyone said, “don't do it, you’re in great shape for Zero Dark Thirty”. So, that’s what sold me on doing it.
Esq: Do you feel you should add your weight in each role to your resume?
CP: I think so, yes. I’ll be like a boxer. What weight class and what I weighed in at before each fight.
Esq: ‘Delivery Man’s’ funniest scene is when your child slaps you in the face repeatedly. Was that funny to play? It looked painful.
CP: That was real and very cold. I remember most what an exceptional little actress that gal Erin [Gerasimovich] was. I asked her at one point if she wanted to run lines and she answered, “Nah, I’m good”.
Esq: You’re also an excellent wingman to Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore in Spike Jonze’s HER, about a man who falls in love with his computer operating system, also out this month. Tell us about that character.
CP: I play the receptionist at [the company] where Theodore is a writer. My character is an aspiring writer himself and as it takes place a bit in the future, my attention was to follow the trend in society [and so] I played it in a very sexually ambiguous way. Despite the fact he’s a total bro he very openly loves Joaquin’s character.
Esq: How was working with Spike?
CP: Spike put me through the ringer on that one. That was some of the hardest work I’ve had to do. He kept giving me notes, like a lot of notes, more notes than other people. I stepped back and thought “I might not be cut out for this.”that was tough.
Esq: What was the most challenging element?
CP: You know, acting is really embarrassing. It is. And when someone gives you a note and you go for it and then they give you the opposite note , what that tells you is that you didn’t do it right. It didn’t work. You swung hard and you missed.
Esq: But you always look like you’re having fun, which is part of the appeal.
CP: It's hard for me to hide how much fun it is working as a professional actor. I probably need to work on that if I ever want to get into leading man world.
Esq: Ah! You turn leading man on Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy out in august. Excited much?
CP: I’m nervous. There’s more pressure on me. I’m in good hands, I’m excited. The outfit was amazing. I had this leather jacket. Oh boy. It was so much fun to wear.