Fame and money can have a corrosive effect. A seemingly bottomless reservoir of attention and distractions on offer for a price turn good men into bad people. Happens every day. Twice a day in Hollywood. So what is there to say about a community college dropout turned dude in a van in Hawaii turned gigger turned sitcom favorite turned worldwide box office phenomenon and Avenger who still prioritizes helping kids, including his own? We say thank you because Chris Pratt feels a bit like the universe doing humanity a solid. I’ve interviewed Pratt many times over many years, starting well before he got truly big and he’s basically the same affable, self-deprecating dude he always was. He just has nicer clothes and a bit less time.
“I’ve got great people in my life who’ve known me my whole life through the ups and downs,” he says. “I’m lucky I have fostered relationships with people who call me on my shit.”
Pratt would be well within his right to have some shit. He is, 39, famous, and rich. He is Star-Lord. He’s engaged to a Kennedy progeny. He’s a Lego. Some of his friends are velociraptors. But he’ll happily record a video for your kid, telling him to listen to clean up his Legos (thanks Chris) and in the age of micromanaged celebrities, he handles all his own social media, which, in Pratt’s case, means offering the people some hot takes on sheep farming and, yes, fatherhood.
Pratt is a father and he foregrounds that role when he speaks in public and in private. His son Jack, born nine weeks prematurely (to his former wife, Anna Faris), is the priority. Always. And this is not a put-on. Jack is why Chris he raises cash for March of Dimes and why, when he’s on a press tour, no matter what city he’s in, he makes time — and we mean serious time — to hang out with sick kids in local hospitals. Jack is why he brings gifts and takes loads of pictures, grinning goofily.
“It just makes me feel good,” Pratt says.
Pratt took a break from fighting his buddy Josh Brolin to speak with Fatherly about fatherhood, privacy, and eating goat.
You’re one of the most famous people on the planet. How do you balance that with being a private parent to your son?
That’s a good question. It’s just like trying to balance anything. When one side gets too heavy you shift weight to another. One side is denying the reality of our lives and living like an agoraphobe, and the other side is stealing all anonymity from your children. I’m trying to make an effort — I just want my kid now or any future children I have to realize what I do for a living is a job. It doesn’t make him or me special. For me, it’s about attitude, gratitude, and to be willing to check your child if you feel like they’re getting high and mighty. It is a balance. There are paparazzi in our alleyway. They follow us. If I have Jack with me, the respectful ones leave us alone. Others don’t. It’s a tough balance. You want to turn the other cheek. Part of me gets thrown into a fury. My blood pressure goes up.
What’s the coolest thing about being a dad?
That’s such a broad question. Parenthood is not for everyone. Those of us who are lucky enough to be parents and really love it and are passionate about it — the coolest part would be how your life’s priorities are completely re-shifted. Your sense of purpose is crystallized. Personally, my relationship with God becomes focused and more clear. A little sharper. I have a better understanding of creation and fatherhood and love.
I follow you on Instagram and your baby goats on your farm melt my heart. Is that your happy place?
It is a happy place of mine for sure. It’s hard to not be happy when I’m up there. But that said, I don’t have to be there to be happy.
What’s your favorite thing to do with Jack when you’re there?
Fishing. We have a lake loaded with bass so we fish. He’s a great little fisherman. He’s caught a lot of fish.
You and I have spoken in the past about your charity work, and how it’s not some promotional thing for you. Why is it meaningful to you personally, especially when so many other famous people opt to contribute nothing?
I get as much or more out of it than those kids do. It’s not work for me to go that. It’s work for me to do 63 minutes of interviews in a row — that’s my version of digging ditches. I toil at it. It’s mentally draining. Don’t get me wrong. I’m lucky to have a job and I am happy to do it. I get to play for a living and I love my job. Going to a hospital and spending time with a kid who is terminally ill, being with those kids has a profound positive effect on my soul. Reach out to someone in pain and watch your own pain go away. I got that from my pastor.
No, but seriously. You’re in three of the biggest films of the year. Surely that leads to some kind of ego?
For me, it’s remembering that what I do for a living is just a job. I do that job so I can live my life. I don’t live my life so I can do that job. Just being aware of the distinction — there’s nothing normal about anyone’s life. Every life is unique. You can root it in humility and never let what you do for a living take the place for who you are as a person. A lot of people are extraordinary actors and that’s their get out of jail free card. Their behavior is abhorrent, they’re careless and mean, but they’re great actors. We give them a hall pass because of fame. Being cognizant of that is a great starting place. Most people don’t realize it when they’re being total assholes.
That’s hard to refute.
Watch. Now I’ll probably go off the deep end any minute now. ‘I can hear him throw the phone down.’
What are you going to miss most about the Avengers?
Robert Downey Jr.’s lunches that he’d host for the cast on set. They were really nice. He had a lot of power and he used it for good. He’d buy us big chunks of time for lunch and have it catered by his chef. Sharing a meal, sharing ourselves. Talking to one another and connecting, the humans behind the masks connecting, that’s what I’ll miss the most. The food was good. One time he roasted a goat.