‘Parks and Rec’: Chris Pratt Almost Worked with Future Father-in-Law Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Show

With Parks and Rec, Chris Pratt went from relatively unknown actor to hit TV star, even ahead of his action hero status. Now, not only is he a major box-office draw, but he’s the son-in-law of one, too. Years before he joined Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family, the two came close to acting opposite one another.

On ‘Parks and Rec,’ Chris Pratt played Andy Dwyer

Chris Pratt in a shirt and tie with his mouth open
Chris Pratt as Andy in ‘Parks and Rec.’ | Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Long before joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Pratt starred in two TV shows. First came the WB drama Everwood, which aired for four seasons in the early ’00s. From there, he had a recurring role in another teen drama, The O.C. But it was Parks and Recreation that put him on the map.

Pratt began portraying Andy Dwyer in the first episode of the sitcom. Despite shifting genres, he proved to be a natural, and his planned guest role became a main cast one that continued through the season 7 series finale. The actor famously improvised many of his lines, including a notable one about “internet connectivity problems” considered one of the series’ best. 

He went on to marry Katherine Schwarzenegger

RELATED: These Were the Celebrity Guests At Chris Pratt And Katherine Schwarzenegger’s Wedding

In between seasons 1 and 2 of Parks and Rec, Chris Pratt tied the knot with his first wife, actor Anna Faris. The pair, who have a son, Jack, together, announced their separation after eight years of marriage. A year later, Pratt began dating Katherine Schwarzenegger after meeting her at church.

After less than a year of dating, Pratt and Schwarzenegger shared news of their engagement. They married in June 2019. Following months of speculation, the couple indicated that Schwarzenegger was pregnant with her first child. She gave birth in August 2020 to a daughter, Lyla Maria.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was almost a ‘Parks and Rec’ guest star

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a blue jacket looking to his right
Arnold Schwarzenegger at an event for ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ on October 21st, 2019, in Seoul, South Korea. | The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

In Parks and Rec Season 7, Bill Murray guest-starred as the frequently mentioned but previously unseen character Mayor Gunderson. But according to series creator Mike Schur, he wasn’t their only choice. Apparently, the writers thought of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Katherine’s father, for the role.

“We were going to have him on the show and never explain why he had an Austrian accent,” Schur told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. Cast member Rob Lowe spoke to Schwarzenegger about the cameo. “He was very nice about it, and he really wanted to do it, but it just couldn’t work,” the writer explained.

How do Chris Pratt and Arnold Schwarzenegger get along?

Were the series airing today, a Parks and Rec Chris Pratt-Arnold Schwarzenegger family event may have become a reality. Schwarzenegger returned to acting in 2011 after leaving the governor’s office. He’s continued to appear in films like The Expendables and Terminator franchises.

“He’s such a likable guy,” Schwarzenegger said of Pratt on Extra after the engagement became public knowledge. “I love Chris. He’s fantastic.” The Governator added, “He did it the traditional way. And he’s a wonderful guy.” On Twitter, Schwarzenegger wrote, “Congratulations. I’m so proud of both of you. Welcome to the family!