Marvel Star Chris Pratt’s Entire Career Trajectory Changed Thanks to His Work on ‘The O.C.’

Most people think that Chris Pratt kicked off his career with NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and that still holds as fact. However, one can also say a different show was what really gave him a lucky break to land the Parks and Recreation gig.

Some media outlets still remind fans Pratt did not get his Andy Dwyer part by sheer magic. While some stars manage to win parts by just having a brilliant first-time audition, Pratt‘s work on another show made all the difference.

The show in question had a connection to the showrunner of Park and Recreation, however, providing a golden path. Pratt’s prior show was strictly drama, something he seldom does any more in TV or movies.

Looking back to Chris Pratt’s earliest days as an actor

Some fans may know the showbiz tale of Pratt being “discovered” while working as a waiter at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Maui. Rae Dawn Chong (the daughter of Tommy Chong) saw Pratt waiting tables and asked him point-blank if he wanted to act in a movie short she was directing called Cursed Part 3. This took place in about 1998.

Sure, acting in a low-budget horror movie (that was ultimately never released) may not sound like scaling the heights. It was still an entryway into the acting field without a shred of prior training. While his movie career took some time to blossom, Pratt managed to find steady work on TV only a couple of years after this one movie role.

Chris Pratt at World Premiere Of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures "Avengers: Endgame"
Chris Pratt | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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One of the most significant was on the series Everwood where he played Bright Abbott for four seasons. He tapped into the teen drama market of the 2000s, including taking another substantial role in The O.C. as Winchester “Ché” Cook. Acting on this show for one season was what led him to be noticed by the wife of Michael Schur.

The wife in question was J.J. Philbin, the daughter of Regis and Joy Philbin. She was married to Schur and a writer for The O.C. at the time. If not for her recommending to her husband he cast Pratt as Andy Dwyer, it might not have ever happened.

Chris Pratt’s improv ability kept him around on ‘Parks and Rec’

Pratt’s role as Andy Dwyer could have been wiped out fast if not for thinking fast on his feet. For someone who had no training in acting or improv-ability, Pratt managed to exhibit some amazing natural comedic skills.

Consider that he also had no extensive comedic nurturing prior to joining Parks and Recreation. Yes, he did appear in Strangers With Candy for the big-screen, something that no doubt helped. Most of his fans saw him in drama on TV, though, making comedy on TV an all-new pursuit.

Originally, Pratt expected to be on Parks and Recreation only one year since he was picked to play a deadbeat boyfriend of Ann’s. His character became so likable, the writers offered him to stay past the first season and become a lead.

Along the way, Pratt became known for improvising many of his lines, something Schur had problems with initially, until realizing the lines were funnier.

Natural talent took Chris Pratt to where he is

With so many actors spending considerable money and time on acting training, Pratt just had an affinity for the small and big screen thanks to natural improv skills.

Some actors might look at this with envy in Pratt going from once being homeless in Hawaii (plus an aimless education) to being one of the biggest movie stars in the world. His skills prove innate ability is everything in winning over the public appeal.

Of course, the lucky breaks also make all the difference. Sometimes it just involves sticking your head out as he did with Rae Dawn Chong, now an unlikely showbiz connector in the six degrees of Chris Pratt.