How Chris Pratt Changed The Way We Look at Hollywood Stars

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt | Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Chris Pratt is easily one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He’s starred in massive blockbuster hits, from Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie to Jurassic World, quickly becoming a name that crops up as a suggestion for almost every major role. His rise has been nothing if not meteoric, something not often seen for an actor entering his mid-30s. Given that before his rise, his only major credit was as the affably dopey Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, where he’s ended up today is even more impressive.

It’s not easy climbing the Hollywood ladder over the course of career, much less in a single year’s time. But Pratt has taken the fast track to super-stardom and hasn’t looked back since. Throughout this, he’s endeared himself to fans in the blink of an eye both on and offscreen. Very few of us could have predicted his transformation to the six-packed Starlord we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy. With his nice-guy persona and action-star physique, Pratt has become the full package throughout his brief yet rapid run as a Hollywood A-lister.

Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy | Marvel Studios

But Chris Pratt is far from your typical movie star. He’s not the stone-cold muscle monster that someone like Dwayne Johnson embodies. At the same time, he’s also not the typically smooth lady’s man a la George Clooney. As the LA Times noted in a feature on him…

Pratt is, at heart, a comedic actor camouflaged as an action star. But he subverts these questions–or, more accurately, renders them irrelevant. Less important than whether Pratt is a traditional leading man is whether such characterizations need to matter as much in the first place.

In many ways, he’s changing the way we define our A-listers. Pratt is a complete mold-breaker, flipping movie star stereotypes on their head and giving us something entirely new.

Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy |  Marvel Studios

Try to find an equivalent for Pratt and odds are you’ll come up short. For a long time, we’ve just sort of accepted that the biggest names in the business are larger-than-life demigods. But lately, people have been looking more for someone they can relate to. Jennifer Lawrence began that movement, entering Hollywood as the talented yet delightfully down-to-Earth ingénue. On the heels of this came Chris Pratt as the male equivalent. Suddenly we had a male heartthrob without the ego of his contemporaries, but with all the blockbuster appeal.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World | Universal Pictures

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World | Universal Pictures

He completely subverts the idea of the leading man, and in many ways we’re better off for it. It gives us the best of both worlds; we get the adventurous and rebellious Han Solo-esque feel, while still maintaining that feeling for audiences that in another life, Chris Pratt could still be our best friend. The other side of this lies in the rampant ego that’s always existed in Hollywood. Much of the instant love for actors like Pratt and Lawrence is a reaction to this. Sans this ego, our faith in the idea that nice people can exist and thrive in the cutthroat movie industry was restored.

Passengers - Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers | Sony

As for the next couple years, Pratt’s star will almost certainly continue to rise. He’s entrenched within the rock-solid Marvel Cinematic Universe as a leading man, was part of one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time with Jurassic World, and already rumors are flying around about getting tagged as the next Indiana Jones. We can’t know for sure if more stars like Pratt will come along in the near future, but we can only hope this is the beginning of a movement toward the new kind of A-lister. Whatever it is, you can bet we’ll be enjoying it.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest.

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