Chris Pratt, a then unknown actor, auditioned for roles in both Avatar and Star Trek, and was rejected for both. Now, he’s a blockbuster star.
Chris Pratt reflects on his failed auditions for Captain Kirk in Star Trek and for a lead role in Avatar. The Captain Kirk role in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek ended up going to Chris Pine while Sam Worthington plays Jake Sully in the Avatar franchise. Even without landing those two roles, though, Pratt has gone on to experience major stardom after botching the two auditions.
Pratt is now a blockbuster powerhouse, acting as the leading man in the Guardians of the Galaxy films and the Jurassic World trilogy. He has also voiced the lead role of Emmet in The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Before these prominent features, Pratt made a name for himself playing Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. In Parks and Rec, Pratt had a lot different look than the chiseled action star that he is now, making his transition into playing Star-Lord with a remarkable physical transformation in the eyes of those who had seen his work in Parks and Rec.
But before he made a name for himself with Parks and Rec, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jurassic World, Pratt underwent a series of “demoralizing” failed auditions, including for Star Trek and Avatar. In an interview with the Smartless podcast, Pratt mentions that these auditions preceded Parks and Rec, a time period wherein Pratt was not being hired for many roles. He specifically recalls one audition, that he thinks may have been for Avatar, where he was feeling “a little bit overweight” and down on himself. The character description required the leading man to have “the it factor,” which per Pratt’s description, he did not believe that he possessed. Pratt fully recounts the experience below:
“I know I’ve made light of actors feeling rejection or whatever, but I didn’t come close [to getting the role]. In fact I came, it was so not close that it was really demoralizing and made me actually truly question my potential or what I should be aiming for as an actor. For both of those. I remember that the role was written like ‘He comes in,’ it was maybe the Avatar. . .I just remember reading this character description and it was like ‘he walks in and he has the it factor.’ So I was feeling, you know, a little bit overweight, I wasn’t really taking care of myself physically, I was in a relationship where we were, you know, drinking a lot. I walked in, and I started sweating immediately, and it was a casting assistant. She just looked at me and she just pressed record and she just started doing her stuff while I was reading with her other casting assistant. I saw that there was literally nothing about my audition that was compelling at all.”
Given the state of his career now, it is somewhat hard to imagine Pratt being rejected so outrightly for these roles. Pratt was not the only current MCU star to be turned down for the role of Captain Kirk. Chris Hemsworth recently described his Star Trek audition experience, where he lost the role to Pine only to be cast in the role of Kirk’s father twelve months later. If Star Trek and Avatar were casting their leads now, Pratt and Hemsworth both might be desirable choices, albeit hard to book within their busy schedules as Peter Quil and Thor, respectively.
Avatar, on the other hand, was notable for casting a relatively unknown actor in the lead role. Given the star power of co-star Sigourney Weaver and the high-caliber nature of the film, Worthington was an unusual choice of leading man. But at the time Avatar was made, Pratt would have been just as distinctive of a pick as Worthington was. He, too, was unknown back when Avatar was being cast and would have been a new face to most audiences.
Even with the rejections from Avatar and Star Trek in his early career, Pratt certainly made a huge comeback. Jurassic World has been an immensely successful trilogy, with Jurassic World Dominion’s opening weekend box office coming through as the highest for a non-superhero film since 2019. Pratt will reprise his Star-Lord role again in Thor: Love & Thunder. When Love & Thunder releases in July, Pratt will demonstrate his action film acting chops again, albeit not through Avatar or Star Trek.
More: Every Upcoming Chris Pratt Movie & Show
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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