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When an up-and-coming star is being looked at for a big budget project, it’s usually because a filmmaker has been arguing for their case in front of the studio – but that wasn’t the situation behind the casting of Chris Pratt in Jurassic World (long before the release of Guardians of the Galaxy). Instead, it turns out that it was the Universal and Steven Spielberg who wanted the Parks and Rec star for the blockbuster, and director Colin Trevorrow who wasn’t initially sold on the choice. Why? Because he wasn’t sure that he would be casting Pratt for the right reasons.
I sat down for a one-on-one interview with Colin Trevorrow this past weekend at the Jurassic World press day in Los Angeles, and when the subject turned to actor Chris Pratt, I was surprised to learn that the filmmaker really wasn’t 100 percent sure about casting the actor when he was in pre-production on the project. The problem was that Trevorrow saw Pratt as a certain kind of actor he likes to work with, and as such wasn’t sure if he was blinded to whether or not he was actually right for the part of Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady. Explained the director,
If any convincing had to happen, it was with me. The studio was down and Steven [Spielberg] was down, and I was down - but I was just worried that I was down for the wrong reasons. I really love improvisational comedic actors and you see them in my films again and again - Jake Johnson, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass… and so I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t bringing him in because that was comfort zone for me.
Of course, Colin Trevorrow did eventually understand why Chris Pratt was a fit for the role, and told me that the two men proved to each other that it was the right direction to go in. This came out of really discovering who Owen Grady was as a character, and what Pratt could do with it. Said Trevorrow,
Ultimately we sort of proved to each other that it was the right choice, because we found something that certainly wasn’t really improvisational and it isn’t really that comedic. We found a real character.
Not to sell Chris Pratt’s charm and inherent comedic sensibilities short, of course, Trevorrow added that Grady isn’t always the most serious character, and does still have a moments – along with many of his co-stars – to make the audience laugh.
I feel like everybody gets their moment in this movie. There are laughs in this movie, but they are organic to the situation and everybody gets at least one.
Knowing this background, it’s interesting to think that Josh Brolin was at one point looked at to be Jurassic World’s leading man, and make us wonder how different the movie would have been without Chris Pratt as the star.
Jurassic World arrives in theaters this Friday.