Unless you’ve been on a self-imposed hiatus from watching movies, turning on TV or checking social media for, like, the past 10 years, you’re acquainted with actor Chris Pratt.
How could you not be?
Pratt has had a several star turns on television, playing hunky leading man Bright Abbott in the drama series, “Everwood” and cute but clueless slacker Andy Dwyer in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” And on the big screen, Pratt has snagged leading roles in a series of well-received films, including “Moneyball,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Jurassic World” and of course, the blockbuster franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
He’s currently starring in “Passengers” and reprising his role as Star-Lord in the soon-to-be-released “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which co-stars such household A-Listers as Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell and Sly Stallone.
Did I mention that Pratt was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2015? Or that he recently got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Not bad for a guy who grew up in Lake Stevens, Wash., a town just 10 minutes from where I live, who was a pretty good high-school wrestler, a community college dropout and a beach bum in Maui who told Entertainment Weekly that he and his buddies “slept in a tent on the beach, drank and smoked weed and worked just enough to cover gas, food and fishing supplies.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Social Media Superstar
Supposedly, Pratt was discovered in 1999 by actress Rae Dawn Chong, who cast him in a horror flick she was directing, and his acting career was off and running.
But the real reason to lionize this talented actor isn’t his leading man looks, his kick-ass takes on talk show appearances or even his impressive range from rock-jawed hero to bumbling slacker, roles he handles with equal aplomb.
The reason we care about Chris Pratt is because of his stardom on YouTube. Now, if you have anyone in your household age 10 and up, they live on YouTube, and performers some of us have never heard of have their own channels, their own shows — albeit two- or three-minute “shows” — and a level of stardom that would have seemed ridiculous a few years ago.
Pratt, of course, isn’t famous just as a social media star, but there are tens of thousands of adolescents who might not recognize his character in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but who would identify him not as an actor but as “that guy with the What’s My Snack? videos.”
In a series of humorous videos clips, Pratt gives fans an up-close-and-personal look-see into his snacking habits while he was on the set of “Jurassic World 2.”
I watched a few, and while I’m not going to structure my day around watching any of these clips, they’re pretty entertaining, as is Pratt when he’s off set talking with any of the endless parade of so-called “entertainment reporters,” who also exist on social media.
On the videos, Pratt samples all manner of weird items, from sashimi samples to olive oil pistachio cake to something labeled “cacao baobab banana chia.”
But fans want to know: What is his all-time favorite snack?
Pratt had a ready answer when the question was posed on the set of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” show.
“Meat,” he told the audience. “Meatballs. Meat shapes. I’d do a meat star, meat rectangles.”
In between the laughter, Pratt insisted, “Yeah, I like a meat snack — that’s if I can actually eat [one]. Now, it’s like, kale chips and crap like that.”
You gotta love someone who came from a middle-class background, smoked and drank his way through adolescence and became a Hollywood hero, yet never lost his regular guy persona.
Who loves meat.
And hates kale chips.
Does it get any better than that?
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, veteran journalist and commentator.