Chris Pratt Opens Up About Losing His Dad During 'Jurassic World': 'I Got Pretty Angry'
By Meredith B. Kile
The past few years of Chris Pratt's life have been a whirlwind, to say the least. From wrapping up a seven-season run on Parks and Recreation, to making the leap to big-screen leading man in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, to welcoming son Jack with wife Anna Faris in 2012, the actor has gone high-profile in a big way.
However, there’s one major life event that Pratt has kept under wraps until now: losing his father Dan while he was filming Jurassic World in 2014. The actor's father had been ill with multiple sclerosis for many years, so while his passing wasn’t a surprise, it took its toll nonetheless.
"I knew, being the lead in the movie, that I was really responsible for everybody's attitude," Pratt told GQ of learning that his dad had passed while he was on location in New Orleans. "So I compartmentalized it all and dealt with it in my own way, but not openly for people to see. I got pretty angry and got drunk and almost got in a fight with a drug dealer outside of my hotel room."
Complicating Pratt’s emotional response was his relationship with his father, a hard-working blue-collar contractor who he described as "just an old school kind of dad. Which in a way is actually a good thing."
"Like, if you have weak hands and you go try to do something, it'll rip your hands up, but if you condition them to be strong you'll get calloused and tough," he clarified. "I think we became that way because, in his day and age, that's what men were. I think we (Chris and his brother) both benefit from it now."
Being tough, Pratt said, helped he and his family deal with his father’s somewhat stubborn reaction to his debilitating neurological disease, which began taking its toll on Dan Pratt’s body when Chris was in his twenties.
"When he lost his ability to walk, he gave up on life," Pratt said, explaining that his father split up with his mother and moved into assisted living when the MS left him unable to care for himself. "Men of his ilk are defined by their ability to provide physically for their family and when that's taken away, that was a joke to him."
The actor said that the passing of his dad was a trying emotional time, but also lent his family a sense of relief.
"I can go spend time with my sister or my mom and not have this nagging feeling, like we've betrayed Dad and we're not there at his bedside when he never f***ing wanted us there anyway," he explained. "I think he did but he was too proud to show any appreciation if you went to visit him, you know. It was a sad, f***ed-up situation."
However, that doesn’t mean that the actor's father didn’t appreciate his son's success.
"In his own way he let me know that he was proud of me," Pratt told the magazine. "He didn't really react in any way, one way or another, but he was definitely proud. If I was on TV, he watched everything I was in. So it felt like I was able to communicate with him through doing work that was on TV."
Despite their complicated relationship, Pratt confessed that he sees parts of his father in himself now that he’s a dad to son Jack.
"Physically, we look similar, I guess," he said. "And sometimes I hear his voice coming out of my mouth—some of the things he says, some of the things I would say."
The Jurassic World star has spoken before about a compass that his dad left him, though he admitted that the keepsake is less metaphorically poetic than it sounds.
"It was just part of his hunting pack that I inherited," he laughed. "It doesn't even work. The perfect metaphor: Dad left me a compass that didn't work. And I still—the sentiment—I'll take it out and look."