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Chris Pratt’s Jurassic World Interview

June 10, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

Chris Pratt, by his own description, is a doofus. The funny actor turned action star (Star Lord in the uber-popular Guardians of the Galaxy) started out as the go-to-guy for silly comedy both physical and verbal. His turn as Andy Dwyer on TV’s “Parks and Recreation” cemented that reputation.

Owen (Chris Pratt) in the Jurassic World control roomOwen (Chris Pratt) in the Jurassic World control roomCourtesy of Universal

After he cracked us up while looking buff as Star Lord, we now picture cute Chris in a different light. As a kind of “dinosaur whisperer” in the mega movie Jurassic World, the actor gets in a witty and funny comment or two but this Chris is a bit more serious when visitors at the Jurassic World Park are on the run from a ginormous, cross-bred dino on the rampage.

Owen (Chris) controls his raptorsOwen (Chris) controls his raptorsCourtesy of Universal

Check out what Chris had to say about a personal and scary moose encounter, running in high heels and he even goes into action at his press conference when a prop tree crashes down, narrowly missing a journalist!

Finding the wrecked Gyrosphere..and a dino clawFinding the wrecked Gyrosphere..and a dino clawCourtesy of Universal

Q: Did you do any backstory work in creating your character Owen, a researcher of animal behavior with an Indiana Jones flair?

  • Chris: I did some work in terms of creating the techniques that this guy would use. First of all, who would this guy be? When (Director) Colin (Trevorrow) first pitched me the idea, I said “Oh, so he’s kind of like the Crocodile Hunter? Should I do an Australian accent?” He was like “Maybe not. I just want this to be real. We need to create an organic relationship between man and beast that’s going to strike some emotional chord in people. Hopefully, people will give a s**t about this relationship between a guy and his dinosaur” which is a tough thing to try to accomplish, especially when the dinosaur is a CG, animated character.
  • Owen is probably a guy who trained dolphins for the Navy and saw what type of treatment those animals receive and it’s not great for the animal. The likelihood is that in the years he’s been working for the park, some of these raptors died on his watch or they killed each other and some of the techniques he used didn’t work. Some of these animals have paid the sacrifice for the work I’m doing for this company so that’s pretty serious. Not a lot of room for goofing around when you play that guy who has been through combat. There is a bit of a darkness. He’s chosen to move away from the world and live on the dark side of an island. All that stuff was interesting.

Chris is ready to save the dayChris is ready to save the dayCourtesy of Universal

Q: Did you get to meet any animal trainers or behaviorists?

  • Chris: I got to hang out with some pretty awesome animal trainers. There was one guy, Randy Miller who has a company called Predators in Action. He trains vicious cats, bears, tigers, lions and animals like that to do simulated animal attacks in movies. His tigers were in Gladiator and he had the bear that was in Semi Pro and he does commercials with pumas. I spent the day seeing him interact with these animals and that was a big part of having that clicker and the posture I adopted (as his character Owen). Boy, I’ve had like nine cups of coffee. Hope that was a good answer (laughter). More coffee!

On the way to fight Indominus RexOn the way to fight Indominus RexCourtesy of Universal

Q: Owen is an ultimate bad ass and so was Peter Quill (in Guardians of the Galaxy). How did you approach making them different?

  • Chris: I always saw Owen as a character that was different from Peter Quill. A huge part of that was Colin’s vision. If I started being goofy or acting like dips**t or going to my normal comedic bag of tricks, some of which I used in Guardians of the Galaxy and certainly the character of Andy Dwyer in “Parks and Recreation” is a full embodiment of that comedic shtick that I’m known for, if I did anything like that on this film (the director would call me on it). If I wanted to have any fun on this it would be in my repartee with Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard’s character), relishing an opportunity to spar with her and get her goat a little bit but, for the most part, it was deadly serious. I love Peter Quill and I love Andy and I look forward to playing Peter Quill again. It’s super fun but this was something a little different for me.

Owen makes some snarky remarks to Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard)Owen makes some snarky remarks to Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard)Courtesy of Universal

Q: Chris, you are known as an outdoorsman. Can you talk about your experience with animals in the wild that you brought to the character of Owen who has an affinity for these wild animals?

  • Chris: I was on an elk hunt maybe eight or nine years ago. I shot an elk the first day and my tag was filled. I was on this hunt with these other two guys. (At this point a prop tree decorating the interview room falls, almost hitting a journalist. Chris runs over to see if the person is okay. Everybody claps). The ghost of the elk came back! That won’t happen again, right?
  • Sooo, (while my friends were hunting), I’m walking around camp with my small 22 and I look up on the hill and there was this giant beast that I assumed was a monster bull elk. Then, I’m looking through binoculars and can’t see him. I’m wearing slippers, pajamas and I had my little 22 and I hear this (he makes a noise like an elk breathing hard). I drop my binoculars and standing not ten feet from me is a big mature bull moose. Moose are incredibly dangerous. They kill more people in North America than bears and wolves combined. They are over a thousand pounds. I’m thinking “Oh, I’m gonna die right now”. It’s looking at me and (he indicates pawing the ground) and I take a step back and it takes a step toward me. It’s a standoff between me and this giant beast. What am I going to do if it attacks me? There’s no way this gun is going to kill a moose, just make it mad. Finally, I take one more step back and it takes three steps at me and I think I nearly fainted then it just turns and walks off into the wild.
  • So, I told this story to Colin and I said “There’s something really scary about having something standing in front of you and you step back and few inches and it comes at you”. So that suspense and building that up in the scene with the raptors was informed a little bit by that experience I had in the wild.

Chris watches a playback with Director Colin TrevorrowChris watches a playback with Director Colin TrevorrowCourtesy of Universal

Q: Which dinosaur was the biggest a-hole and could you outrun that dinosaur in heels like Bryce Dallas Howard in the film?

  • Chris: (laughing) Well, I guess Indominus Rex was a pretty big a-hole or just a mean dinosaur but like most a-holes, he had a tough upbringing you know what I mean? You have to feel a little bit bad for him. Could I outrun him in heels? Most likely no although I wore high heels yesterday for the first time on the “James Corden Show”. I kind of liked the way it felt to walk in them and I surprised myself at my ability to run. It’s kind of like tippy toe running. I would not be able to outrun Indominus Rex but with enough practice, I might be able to make it forty or fifty feet before I was killed.

Owen and Claire confront baddie HoskinsOwen and Claire confront baddie HoskinsCourtesy of Universal

Q: The finale of this film was awesome. So many dinosaurs on set. How was that to shoot? Was that on green screen?

  • Chris: Yes, wasn’t that awesome? Talking about going out with a bang, that’s a whole new gear. Making that is not really as fun as watching it. It’s a lot of small pieces. Directors will go into an edit room and see all their footage and they’ll be like “Oh, man you know what I wish we’d have done but it’s too late because the movie is already in the can and the actors are gone”. But, what they do with a movie like this is they essentially create an animated version of the movie, a moving storyboard of every shot, a cartoon version.
  • By the time we were shooting this sequence, you’re basically looking at this anamatic and you’re like “Okay, it’s a camera move from up here down to here and we know that there are going to be two dinosaurs there and I’m just running by. Okay, action!” So, sometimes you get to do really cool stuff and sometimes you’re having some great interaction with the other actors or an intense interaction with what will be the raptors and sometimes you are just running up and stopping and doing a dive roll this way so you’re very much a prop.

Jurassic World PosterJurassic World PosterCourtesy of Universal

Jurassic World is in theaters June 12th!

 

 

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