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Chris Pratt & Tom Holland - Onward Together

Interview: The stars of Onward bond as bros as they co-star.

Mar 03, 2020

In the new fantasy adventure film Onward, two teenage suburban elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland, Chris Pratt) need to use long dormant magic in order to spend a day with their dad, who died when they were too young to remember him. Their quest in a van will take them in search of the right magical spell to bring dad back. Of course it won’t be all that easy.

Tom and Chris at the world premiereTom and Chris at the world premiereCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

When Chris and Tom played Peter Quill/Star Lord and Spider-Man in the Marvel universe they hit it off as buds. When approached to voice elf brothers in this new animated adventure, they signed up right away. Check what the guys have to say about their own brothers and who they would bring back into their personal lives for a day. Cool interview!

Onward Trailer

 

 

Q:  Guys, tell us a little bit about your characters and how you related to them.

  • Tom: It’s interesting. I’m the oldest brother of four and Chris is the youngest brother of two so we kind of switched. Now I’m playing the younger brother and he’s playing the older brother so it’s kind of nice for us. Of course Chris and I are obviously so close already before we came onto this film, it was almost like we were just playing ourselves.
  • But, the similarities between Ian and myself go back to more when I was in my early teens, twelve, thirteen, I was a little bit of an introvert. I was a very nervous kid and I had a hard time at school. It wasn’t until I went on this adventure that was (the movie) Billy Elliott that I came out of my shell and became more confident and believed in myself. What drew me so much to this character is that we get to see that entire journey that I went on as a kid in him throughout this film so I was really happy to pour my life experiences into this process and I’m really delighted and thrilled with where we got to.

Barley encourages IanBarley encourages IanCourtesy of Disney•Pixar
  • Chris: One thing I really liked in seeing the film was that Barley was never jealous of the fact that he didn’t have the magic gift (Ian does). This was very similar to my own relationship with my brother in which I was the younger brother. My brother always wanted to be an actor. The first time I ever saw my mom cry was watching him do a play. He was Boo Bear in the first grade in a Christmas play and I was like ‘Wow, that’s amazing. Being an actor is awesome. I want to be an actor.’

Barley has a van for the questBarley has a van for the questCourtesy of Disney•Pixar
  • He went in the army and didn’t become an actor but I did and there was that moment (in the film) where Barley realizes that Ian has this gift. I asked ‘Do you think Barley wishes he had the magic gift because he’s the one who loves magic. He wasn’t able to do this but his younger brother was?’ But no, he just loves his brother so much and is just so proud of him that he’s been given this gift.
  • My whole life and during my career my brother has only been super encouraging and positive about what I’ve been able to do as an actor. I think that’s what makes this brotherhood and this relationship so special. The movie celebrates the love between two brothers.

Q: In a lot of films, the bros don’t get along.

  • Chris: Yeah. It’s often not what you see in movies. What you see is the older brother who doesn’t let the younger brother hang out with him, who doesn’t take him to school. He’s like ‘Get out of here nerd. Get out of here twerp’. You see that all the time but the truth is brothers love each other so I loved that and I identify probably more with Ian in terms of my own relationship with my brother but I really love that moment.

Sometimes Ian's magic backfiresSometimes Ian's magic backfiresCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: What did your real brothers teach you or you taught them that you’ve brought into the movie?

  • Tom: How to be gracious losers when they lose at golf. I’m a terrible loser. They’ve learned what not to do from their big brother.
  • Chris: I could list for days the things that I’ve learned from my brother but it’s hard for me to think of anything I may have taught him. I’m gonna call him immediately and have him tell me the things. I would literally wear his clothes the day after he wore them. I would pick them up off of his floor and put his clothes on because he had nice-smelling cologne and he had style. He knew how to match his clothes and stuff. I still don’t know how to that. A stylist does all that.

Dad is back! Sort of...Dad is back! Sort of...Courtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Did your brother ever uh, talk to you about not wearing his clothes?

  • Chris: Well, I remember when we started going to the same school and I caught up in age and I was a freshman when he was a junior and his friends started to notice and he kindly said ‘Hey man. I think you need to stop wearing my clothes the day after me because my friends are noticing that’. My first instinct is to say ‘Be yourself. Be comfortable with who you are’. He told me that all the time so I can’t think of anything I know that he didn’t teach me. I’d have to ask him (what I taught him), but he’ll probably say ‘Nothing’.

Can Ian tune in to dad?Can Ian tune in to dad?Courtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: What was it like for you, Tom, to work for Pixar for the first time?

  • Tom: I think, for every young actor, you set yourself goals and one of mine was being in a Pixar movie. So when (the filmmakers) were kind enough to fly to London to meet me and tell me their stories and pitch me the movie, this is the first time anyone had come to me. It’s amazing and it’s Pixar. So it was a very easy decision. You don’t say no to Pixar. The nicest thing about it is they have this kind of family feel that Marvel also has and we were welcomed into this wonderful family with open arms and it was such an amazing process. I’m super pumped to see (the film).

At school Ian isn't the most confidentAt school Ian isn't the most confidentCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Were you two in the same booth for recording or did you record the voices separately?

  • Chris: Actually both. There were moments where we were brought together and I think to get an idea of how we interact with one another and goof around. It’s not the most conducive to creating clean audio tracks that are usable in the movie so ultimately they’d see something that they would like to model the behavior on and then capture that with us separately. There wasn’t a lot (together) in this because what’s on the page here was so magical. For the most part, everything we say was written in the script. They isolated us to do that but also they brought us together to do some promotional stuff. Let’s talk about the chemistry. They did throw us together and they were able to see like ‘wow, look at these two, they’re like brothers. That’s how they interact’.
  • Tom: It’s funny with improvising on this job, you’ll be improvising, improvising, improvising and then you’ll get ‘Could you just do it as scripted, please?’ ‘Could you just put me in another booth?’

Ian tries to use his newfound magicIan tries to use his newfound magicCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Serious question. If you could bring someone back for one day, who would it be?

  • Tom: My grandad Bob, he never actually met his dad. His dad passed away when he was eighteen months so I would bring back my great grandfather so my grandad would have the opportunity to meet his dad.
  • Chris: So selfless. I would probably bring back my dad who passed away just before Guardians of the Galaxy came out. Then I would show him Guardians of the Galaxy and if he didn’t like it, we’d bring back a known criminal to beat him up on Instagram Live (laughter).  It could become popular but if my dad didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy, all right, you can go back to heaven.

It's cool that dad has shoes and pantsIt's cool that dad has shoes and pantsCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Driving doesn’t go that well for Ian and Barley. What was your learning to drive experience?

  • Chris:  A good thing that I learned right when I was learning to drive is that your driveway connects to a road that connects to another road that connects to a highway and with enough gas money and an automobile you can see Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, you can see Yellowstone, the White House, you can go down to the Florida Keys, you can sneak through Montana in about seventeen days. This is a great, beautiful country and it was designed to be driven across. (You don’t have) to drive in the city. Just get behind the wheel and explore this country. We used to road trip everywhere. It’s America. It’s the big, wide frontier and you can literally get anywhere if you have enough gas money. This message was brought to you by the Ford Edge….no!

Driving may not be Barley's "thing"Driving may not be Barley's "thing"Courtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Does this movie tell kids to get out and explore and find the magic and not just sit in front of a screen?

  • Tom: The film is called “Onward” and the only way to go onward is to look forward and you can’t look forward if you’re looking at your phone. For me, like I’ve deleted my Instagram to Disney’s dismay ‘You’ve got to promote the movie’. The film is kind of a metaphor for look outward. The world is an amazing place. It’s a beautiful place. Experience it through your own eyes, not through someone else’s Instagram account. 

The bros on their questThe bros on their questCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Very good point!

Courtesy of Disney•Pixar

See Chris and Tom in Onward, in theaters Friday, March 6th

Share Your Opinion!

Did you like Chris as Star Lord or Tom as Spider-Man. Looking forward to seeing them play brothers in Onward? Let everyone know with a comment or a line on your Kidzworld profile page!

By: Lynn Barker