Before he was the star of the upcoming blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, before he appeared in Oscar-nominated movies like Zero Dark Thirty and Moneyball, before his run as a fan favorite on Parks and Recreation, and even before he featured in CW drama Everwood, Chris Pratt was a hustler, working odd — and even odder — jobs to survive.
“I was always a very much naked person. I loved to always get naked. I was very free, so I thought, I may as well get paid,” Pratt, who stars in DreamWorks’ new comedy Delivery Man, admitted to BuzzFeed in a recent interview. He worked several gigs when he was 18, including a bachelorette party, but by far the most memorable job was taking it all off for his friend’s grandmother’s birthday party.
“It was a surprise,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know how it got around to them, but they paid me $40. I was never like Magic Mike, you know. I did go one time and audition on a stage for a club, but I don’t think I got the job. I don’t think I’m a very good dancer.”
What he lacked in Channing Tatum-esque gyration skills, though, he made up for with hard work and creative business ventures to raise money to eke out a living.
“I cleaned peoples’ cars, painted murals, worked for my dad, worked at a burger joint, was a room service waiter, worked at the snack bar at a bingo hall,” he said, rattling off a very varied and lengthy résumé. “I babysat and mowed lawns; I picked blackberries and sold them. I was always very enterprising as a kid. I was always trying to find some way to make money.”
In Delivery Man, Pratt plays sad-sack friend and lawyer to Dave Wozniak (Vince Vaughn), who delivers him the case of a lifetime. In his early twenties, Dave sold his seed to a local sperm bank a total of 691 times; and, turns out, he is the biological father of more than 500 kids, thanks to a clerical error. When the kids figure this out, they band together in order to find their bio dad, which leads to all sorts of PG-13 hijinks.
Most of the characters in the movie are repulsed by the big number of sperm deposits, but crunching the numbers, 691 donations over three years’ time calculates out to just a bit less than two self-love sessions every three days, and a total bank of semen equal to a two-liter bottle — numbers that left Pratt nonplussed.
“That’s totally reasonable,” he said. “If I only gave a quarter of my sperm donations to a clinic, I could still do it. In my late teens and early twenties? Oh jeez, you could have taken that much sperm out just by doing my laundry, or cleaning my sheets and laundering my socks… If I thought about it, I would have made a fortune myself.”
Luckily, Pratt — who is a new father — has found great fortune despite missing out on all that easy money. He has become one of the most popular comedic actors in recent years, thanks in no small part to his willingness to put his body through a different sort of ringer.
For Delivery Man, the 34-year-old actor put on 60 pounds to play the role of the miserable best friend/attorney, a decision that he says came from his own insight into the character, not from the demands of the studio producing the film.
“What I wanted to sell with this character was his sense of despondency and desperation,” he explained. “He’s a guy who’s stuck with four children at home, and often times, we wear our insides on our outsides. This is a guy who’s talking about how much he dislikes children, and how much he dislikes being a parent, and trying to discourage David Wozniak from becoming a parent. And if I was in good shape, and saying those things, I had a sense that it’d come off as being less likable. Saying those things gives off a sense of confidence, a sense of brashness, or even potential arrogance. But, if his insides are revealed on the way I look on the outsides, there’d be a sense of irony and a sense of likability.”
Pratt ballooned up to 295 pounds — just five short of his 300-pound goal.
“By gaining a shit ton of weight, I affected not only the way I looked, but also that rhythm. I felt terrible. I felt mentally dull. I felt that I wasn’t fulfilling my duties as a husband in the bedroom. I felt no sexual desire. I felt really, legitimately depressed,” he admitted. “And it wasn’t the first time I’ve been big through the course of my life. I’ve always been just teetering on that scale and I’ve been bigger for different roles. And when I’m big, I have body image issues just like anybody else.”
Of course, once filming wrapped, Pratt didn’t stay overweight for long.
“I also was really hoping that I’d be able to lose all the weight by the premiere, so it would be a choice; whereas if I was like, still 300 pounds, with this premiere coming up and I told people I gained weight for the role, they’d be like, ‘Umm, I think you just got fat,’” he added with a laugh. As any attentive Twitter user and/or Marvel fan knows, Pratt was recruited to play the lead role of Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. He worked doubly hard to not just get back to his initial weight, but get straight up ripped.
In fact, he just may be in good enough shape to start stripping again, if the whole acting thing doesn’t pan out.