Chris Pratt on Parks and Recreation and Moneyball
By Deborah Martin
“Working on a film is a 200-meter sprint, where as television is more like a marathon,” says Chris Pratt, 32. And he should know. With Parks and Recreation embarking on its fourth season on NBC and five films either in production or about to be released, the actor is doing a lot of running.
This month, Moneyball hits theaters, and it is Pratt’s first dramatic role in a feature film. In it, he plays Scott Hatteberg, the Oakland Athletics’ first baseman who led the A’s to the playoffs in both 2002 and 2003. The Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian script is an adaptation of a book of the same name by Michael Lewis and follows the story of A’s general manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt in the film. In 2002, Beane revolutionized baseball with a new system of building a winning team on an extremely low budget that could still compete with wealthier teams like the New York Yankees. Eventually, the rest of the baseball world caught on, and the term “moneyball” became part of the baseball lexicon.
Pratt says when he originally auditioned, “they didn’t like me at first. I was too heavy.” So he went to work and lost around 40 pounds in pursuit of the job. “I lost the weight on spec because I really wanted the role.” He sent them a photo when he got down to his fighting weight, and eventually he got what he wanted. “I loved the idea of playing a living, breathing person, and I felt like I was right for the role,” he says. The jovial actor even had the chance to meet the real Hatteberg on the film’s set. “It was a pleasure to get to know Scott,” says Pratt. “It turned out he and I have a lot in common. We both love to fish and hunt, and he lives in [Washington state], where I grew up.” Hatteberg is currently a special advisor to Beane and the A’s.
With this debut dramatic role under his belt, Pratt is currently back at work in the comedic world. He just finished a new Judd Apatow film, The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, and is once again embracing his full-time job, portraying the lovable Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation. “If there is one bad thing about being an actor, it’s all the time you spend away from home,” says Pratt, who has been married to actress Anna Faris since 2009. The funny twosome met while playing a couple in the film Take Me Home Tonight, which came out this year and also worked together on What’s Your Number?, debuting late this month, as well as Movie 43, scheduled for a 2012 release. As for balancing the two working actors’ schedules, Pratt admits it is anything but simple. “We are either 100 percent together or 100 percent apart,” he says. “It’s why we eloped.”
But despite the challenges posed by strenuous filming demands, Pratt says all he ever wanted to do was act, even when he was 19 and waiting tables in Maui, where he was ultimately discovered. “I basically did everything a man could do to not make it in Hollywood,” says Pratt of his decision to move to Hawaii. Even so, “I knew I was going to be an actor.”
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