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A Q&A with Chris Pratt, One of the Stars of Moneyball

Chris Pratt (@prattprattpratt) is one of the stars of the upcoming movie Moneyball. Previously, you might have seen him falling down on Parks & Recreaction, or on the OC a few years ago. In Moneyball, Pratt plays Scott Hatteberg, the former Oakland A’s first baseman. Pratt is married to movie star Anna Faris, and talked to us about beer, the Seattle Mariners, his athletic prowess in high school, losing 40 pounds for Moneyball, and his former neighbor, Jonah Hill (also in Moneyball).

Q: Looks like you had some fun in the game Sunday night. Were you more excited to meet Erin Andrews or Kate Upton?

Pratt: Oh, man. [Laughs] I have to say no comment. I’m a married man. So I’ll say Ozzie Smith.

Q: You lost 40 pounds in three months for the role in Moneyball. How’d you lose it so quickly?

Pratt: About 40 pounds, yeah. It was really a combination of weights, cardio and diet. I did some pretty intensive baseball training and got a personal trainer and I didn’t drink any beer or alcohol and cleaned up my living. I worked out like 6-7 days a week. There’s no fast way to do it. I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody. If you don’t have to lose weight for a movie, just be fat. It’s more fun.

Q: Which was more difficult – losing the weight or learning to bat lefty, like Hatteberg?

Pratt: I think I lost the weight trying to get good swinging lefty. I was fortunate enough to work with Chad Kreuter’s former head coach at USC, and I was there every day for a few hours. They were running me through drills and batting practice and fielding drills and it was fun, man. It was really fun.

Q: Were you athletic growing up? Play any sports in high school?

Pratt: I was definitely an athlete. I played every sport growing up. I played little league until my freshman year in high school. But track and field was in the same season as baseball at my high school, and I elected to do track because I was a shot put/discus thrower. I played football and was the captain of my wrestling team … I’d say baseball was my 4th sport. I think football was probably my main sport. But I’m from a town – Lake Stevens, Washington – and wrestling there is like high school football in Midland, Texas. Kids start wrestling at 4 or 5 years old.

Q: Any scholarship offers for football?

Pratt: No scholarships offers. I was a fullback and inside linebacker. I’m actually pretty slow. I hurt my femur on the growth plate as a kid, so one leg is slightly shorter than the other. So my first steps were really fast, but I could never kick it into 2nd gear. I would get the ball and in the open field I would fall down.

Q: Would you say your clumsiness on the football field translated to Parks & Rec?

Pratt: Yeah, I think so. I got pretty good at falling. A lot of the pratfalls we do on Parks & Rec I learned by falling on my ass in front of people.

Q: Do you have a favorite fall? One you might watch on Youtube?

Pratt: Yea, there’s this episode where we were playing football in the parking lot and he throws me a pass and I tried to catch it and dove over the hood of a car. We did that a few times and they asked if I had another one in me, and I said ‘sure, but this time I want to try to run right into the car and let it kick my legs up.’ So I run at the car – and I’m a big guy, maybe 250 pounds at the time – and it didn’t kick my legs up. It just caught my weight. And they told me later I did about $1,600 worth of damage to the front panel of a Dodge Charger. I put about a 3-foot wide dent into the car with my hips. I was pretty sore.

Q: Probably the type of injury that can be dulled by drinking beers. Got a favorite beer?

Pratt: Oh, boy. That’s a good one. I like a nice dark beer, but I’m more of a quantity over quality guy. I’ll do a Coors Light or Bud Light or Miller Lite just so I can have 13 or 14 without getting too drunk.

Q: Jonah Hill, who is also in the movie, looks like he could probably put down some beers. You guys go out drinking together much during filming?

Pratt: Up until about a month ago, he was my next door neighbor. I don’t know if you’ve seen him recently – I think that dude has lost like 100 pounds. He’s looking great these days. I think he decided to get in shape for his health. I’m not too sure he’s drinking much beer these days.

Q: Neighbors? Sounds like a cool block. So you guys hang out much before filming the movie?

Pratt: He’s not a super hardcore partier or anything like that. He’s really focused – in fact I’ll make a prediction – he’ll be a really prolific director one day. Jonah is constantly improving his movie vocabulary, and knows so much about the process, and the history … I know he wants to be a director one day and he’ll be really good. He’s really passionate about it. He’ll surprise a lot of people who saw him in Superbad and thought of him as a guy who wanted to drink and to goof around. He’ll be a force in Hollywood directing giant movies for as long as he wants. He’s no slouch, he doesn’t just screw around. Really intelligent dude.

Q: Growing up in Seattle, I’m assuming you were a Mariners fan?

Pratt: I was 8 or 9 when Ken Griffey Jr. hit the scene. He had his own chocolate bar at the time! But I loved all those guys – Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner.

Q: A fan of Oakland at all? They were pretty good in the early 90s.

Pratt: Canseco, McGwire, and Ricky Henderson were kind of around the same time, back when baseball cards were everyone’s ticket. I still have a bone to pick with baseball cards. I thought for sure I’d be putting myself through college on baseball cards. I still have my topps and Donruss packs somewhere. I have the Ken Griffey Jr. upper deck card, and I was going to turn that in when I go for my doctorate. But when I left Seattle I sort of stopped following baseball and I didn’t read the book (by choice) until after I was done filming the movie. I didn’t know much about Sabermetrics or Moneyball until after I was done filming.

Q: Have much interaction with Brad Pitt? You’ve now worked with Pitt and Angelina Jolie, which I’m sure you get asked about a lot.

Pratt: We had scenes together where it was just the two of us. I had a lot of interaction with him. As for working with the King and Queen of Hollywood … I get asked about it every now and then. It’s a pretty cool feather in your cap to be able to say you worked with both of those giant movie stars. Both were genuinely nice people. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be them, though – everytime you walk into a room, you know that every single eye is on you. That’s got to be a lot of pressure. You kind of question if you ever get to fully meet somebody, you know? Or they always on guard? Do you have to know that person their entire life … to really know them? It’s got to be pretty hard to allow yourself to be accessible to everybody when everybody in the world wants to meet you. But gosh, they couldn’t have been nicer. They were really down to earth, initiated conversations, and were really nice to me.

Q: I was a huge fan of the OC. You were on the show for a minute. How was that experience?

Pratt: I kind of became friends with everyone. Everyone was pretty cool. Adam and Rachel I think at the time were just breaking up. I came on in the 4th season and it’s always a little tricky to come in late. The previous show I was on, Everwood, was cancelled after its 4th season, and I was just happy to be working. But [the OC cast] was very much in the situation where no one really wants to be on the show anymore, and everyone was tired of telling the same stories and playing the same character. I came in and hopefully tried to add some perspective – ‘hey guys, this ends and then it sucks, enjoy it while you can.’

Q: It’s weird how fleeting success can be in Hollywood. I thought Rachel Bilson would have had no problem transitioning to movies, but I guess it didn’t take and she’s back on the CW with a show this season. With your TV success and movie success, plus having a wife who is a movie star, do you ever worry about what’s next?

Pratt: You definitely have to enjoy it while you can. No ride lasts forever. There’s no room looking past what you’re in. A lot of people say, ‘I got this, but what’s next?’ and they focus on that so much … you just have to stay grounded and try to stay around those people who have known you your entire life. The more successful you get, the more people will try to infiltrate and move into your life … and when things stop, they might stop being your friend.

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