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How Chris Pratt went from ‘Parks and Recreation’ to ‘Jurassic World’

By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business

Jurassic World: Dominion” hits theaters this weekend, and it features one of the most successful movie stars in Hollywood today: Chris Pratt.

Pratt — who plays dinosaur handler Owen Grady — has transformed himself from an actor best known for playing chubby goofballs into a ripped and bankable action star who leads two major franchises. His film work, which include lead roles in the Jurassic World and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series, have notched more than $11.6 billion at the global box office, according to Comscore.

Pratt got his break in Hollywood in 2009 as lovable doofus Andy Dwyer on the NBC sitcom, “Parks and Recreation.” After playing supporting roles in films such as “Moneyball” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” Pratt had a massive year at the cineplex in 2014.

The actor starred as the voice of Emmet Brickowski in “The Lego Movie,” an animated film set in the world of Legos, which went on to make $469 million worldwide. Then Pratt took off as cocky space avenger Peter “Star-Lord” Quill in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” That film went on to make $773.3 million globally and changed the trajectory of Pratt’s career.

But that role almost didn’t happen. Pratt was overweight and mainly played comedic roles, and James Gunn — the director of “Guardians” — didn’t even want to see him audition.

“I thought it was an insane idea to cast the fat guy from ‘Parks and Rec’ as the lead of our superhero movie,” Gunn told GQ in 2014. He changed his mind once he met Pratt.

“I thought, ‘Well, hell, he’s overweight, but if that means we have the world’s first overweight superhero, I’m okay with it,'” Gunn added. Pratt famously lost 60 pounds in six months for the role and has been in action hero shape ever since.

And that’s a good thing, since Pratt had to believably outrun dinosaurs the next year.

“Jurassic World,” which rebooted the Jurassic Park franchise with Pratt in the leading role, went on to become one of the biggest films ever. It opened to a then record $208 million before raking in $1.6 billion worldwide and is currently the seventh highest-grossing film ever.

Pratt has since starred in hit sequels for “Jurassic” and “Guardians” as well as other Marvel movies. His last film, “The Tomorrow War,” which streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, had “the best opening for an Amazon original tentpole,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Pratt has had some misses at the box office, too, such as “The Lego Movie: The Second Part” and the big-budget, sciene fiction film “Passengers.”

He’s also faced some controversy. Earlier this year, Gunn defended Pratt over the actor’s alleged association with a church that has supported gay conversion therapy, a claim Pratt denied in 2019.

Now, Pratt is set for what could be a huge year. After “Dominion” he returns as Star-Lord in Marvel’s next big film, July’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

“Dominion” is being sold with some nostalgia by bringing back the stars of the original 1993 “Jurassic Park” — Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum — and could prove to be the last in the series. That kind of buzz could lead to another blockbuster for Pratt.

“It’s 30 years in the making,” Pratt told NBC’s “Today” show earlier this month. “You’ve got the legacy cast coming back … Our story lines converge in a way that is very much a finale.”

— CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: Entertainment

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