Chris Pratt wasn’t the exactly the first person that James Gunn had in mind when he was auditioning for Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, Gunn initially dismissed the very idea of Pratt, until Guardians’ casting director, Sarah Finn, brought Pratt into audition in spite of Gunn’s protestations. But one look, and that’s all it took, according to Gunn, “Chris came in, and he was still chubby at that point, and within 20 seconds of him auditioning I just knew that he was the guy. I just knew it immediately. I turned around and looked to Sarah and I almost had tears in my eyes, because we’d gone through so many people.” In fact, Pratt ended up beating out Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, John Krasinski, Aaron Paul, Lee Pace, and James Marsden for the role.
That had to feel awfully satisfying, after spending years getting rejected for other major movie (and television) roles. Here’s five parts Chris Pratt was rejected for on his way to playing the lead in what may end up being the biggest movie of the summer, and knowing what we know now, I almost feel like he’d have been a better choice than any of these five guys (except, arguably, Levi).
1. The lead in NBC’s Chuck.
Reason denied: Wasn’t nerdy-looking enough.
Role went to: Zachary Levi.
2. As Jake Sully in Avatar.
Reason denied: Lacked the “it” factor. “I walked into that room knowing that I did not have that thing, and I walked out thinking I would never have that thing,” Pratt said of his audition.
Role went to the guy with the smallest “it” factor in Hollywood, Sam Worthington.
3. As Captain Kirk in Star Trek
Reason denied: Also, because he lacked a certain star quality.
Role went to Chris Pine, whose star power has yet to extend beyond the Star Trek franchise
4. As Duke in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Reason denied: Too schlubby. Didn’t look the part of an action figure.
Role went to Channing Tatum, who definitely looks the part of an action figure.
5. As Sam Flynn in TRON: Legacy.
Reason denied: Undisclosed.
Role went to: Garrett Hedlund