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How Chris Pratt’s Zero Dark Thirty Experience Inspired Him To Develop The Terminal List

Though the world mostly knows him as either Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord or Parks and Recreation’s Andy Dwyer, one of Chris Pratt’s other past resume experiences best prepared him for his new Amazon Prime show, called The Terminal List. Playing a Navy SEAL in director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Pratt not only got a feel for that very type of role that he’d revisit with his latest project, but he also made some really good friends. Friends, as it would turn out, who would introduce him to the very world of author Jack Carr’s own special operator. 

As a result of the press day for The Terminal List, I was able to speak with several cast and crew members who echoed Chris Pratt’s respect towards military professionals. Perhaps one of the most important people to fall into that category is former Navy SEAL Jared Shaw, who serves as a co-executive producer and co-star on Pratt's new series.  

The actor first met Shaw when shadowing him to prepare for arguably one of Chris Pratt’s best roles: SEAL Team Six member Justin Lenihan in Zero Dark Thirty. Eventually the two collaborators became friends, who would cross paths again through Jared Shaw’s stunt work on films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and even as co-stars in the Prime Video streaming hit The Tomorrow War

However, as Chris Pratt told CinemaBlend, that connection ran much deeper when it came to The Terminal List. Shaw was actually the person who introduced his friend and co-star to Jack Carr’s first installment in the James Reese series, as Pratt said:

I have an affinity for the Navy SEAL community, and for the SpecOps community. Having played a Navy SEAL in Zero Dark Thirty, and subsequently becoming really close with the guy who I had shadowed on that, who’s now an associate producer on [The Terminal List], Jared Shaw, who plays Boozer … it just felt right. He had access to the book, I read the book, I loved the character, I loved the fact that it was shot in California. In Southern California, which is close to home. I knew that he and I would be able to do it together, which was something. We’d been looking for a project to do together. So we optioned it, we brought it to Amazon, they were on board, and from there an opportunity to sort of team up with my best friend to portray this rowdy bad mother, it was just like win win.

If you love a book that much, and you’re someone like Chris Pratt who can get a production deal in the works, obviously bringing The Terminal List to TV is a no-brainer. Having Jared Shaw along for the ride was also an easy choice, as the character of Ernest “Boozer” Vickers is somewhat of a conscience to James Reece during his journey. Friends and co-workers in bringing the realism of Navy SEALS to the screen before, this teamwork yielded another effort that Pratt feels cut the Hollywood BS from its making.

Speaking further about his experience, the Jurassic World star saw The Terminal List as a challenge that he’d never undertaken, but always wanted to. Getting the rights to the book, and then shepherding it through the production process, showed how hyped Chris Pratt was to get this underway. Though believe me when I tell you, his naming James Reece a “rowdy bad mother” is putting it lightly when it comes to his excitement. 

While searching for a copy of Jack Carr’s The Terminal List novel for sale on Amazon, you’ll discover an actual pull quote from the series’ executive producer/star that goes a bit further in hyping up the character. As you’ll read for yourself, Pratt pulled no punches on profanity when giving this glowing recommendation:

Take my word for it, James Reece is one rowdy motherfucker. Get ready!

That rowdiness is tempered by vulnerability, as James Reece’s efforts to investigate a potential shadowy conspiracy also see him confronting ghosts of the past. The Terminal List starts with a mission gone horribly wrong, which sees Reece losing his team in the field. As he starts to look into the circumstances surrounding the differences in his account of events and the official report, what he uncovers could be absolutely mind-blowing. 

Embodying his affinity for Navy SEALS, as well as working with several of them in the production of the show, Chris Pratt’s friendship with Jared Shaw was key to making The Terminal List happen in the first place. Now that the first season has debuted, there are four more books that can inspire subsequent seasons; the most, called In The Blood, was published in May. 

If fans make it worth Prime Video’s while, Pratt could get even rowdier in the world of streaming thrillers. It’s certainly happened in the past, as The Tomorrow War scored a sequel after making a huge splash for Chris Pratt and Prime Video. 

To that effect, The Terminal List is currently streaming all eight episodes of Season 1 for Amazon Prime subscribers to enjoy. Also, if you’re a Pratt fan who’s been missing Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians on the big screen, the upcoming Marvel movie Thor: Love and Thunder opens this weekend to scratch that very particular itch.

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.