Chris Pratt says there was ‘no hesitation at all’ in returning to small screen: ‘I like the streaming platform better’

Published on Jun 25, 2022 06:44 AM IST

In between his big screen appearances in Jurassic World: Dominion and Thor: Love and Thunder, Chris Pratt will mark his return to the small screen with the Amazon Prime Video series The Terminal List. He and co-star Taylor Kitsch talk about the show and their chemistry.

Chris Pratt in Parks and Recreation (left); and in The Terminal List.
Chris Pratt in Parks and Recreation (left); and in The Terminal List.

Chris Pratt is one of the most popular film stars in the world today and the summer of 2022 has been especially busy for the actor. June 10 saw the release of his film Jurassic World: Dominion, which is minting money on the box office globally as you read this. In July, he will be seen reprising his role as Star Lord in the Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder. But in between the two, the actor has found time to release a web series as he returns to the short format after almost seven years with Amazon Prime Video’s The Terminal List. Chris and co-star Taylor Kitsch sat down with Hindustan Times for a chat about the show, their on- and off-screen chemistry and the emergence of OTT as an alternative medium for actors. Also read: The Terminal List trailer: Chris Pratt is a Marine out to uncover the secrets behind his comrades’ deaths. Watch

Based on the best-selling novel by Jack Carr, The Terminal List sees Chris play US Navy Seal James Reece, who is trying to uncover a dark secret that led to the death of his men in a covert op. Taylor plays Ben Edwards, an old friend and one-time comrade of James. This isn’t the first time either man is playing a Navy Seal, Chris points out. “We have both had the opportunity of playing Navy Seals in the past. He did a film called Lone Survivor, which was fantastic, and I was in Zero Dark Thirty. We both have an understanding of the physicality required to do this type of work. We had pretty close relationships with Navy Seals in our lives through the course of making those movies that they become like brothers to us. So we had that going into this,” he says.

Chris Pratt plays a US Navy Seal in The Terminal List.
Chris Pratt plays a US Navy Seal in The Terminal List.

Chris admits that his relationship with fitness and getting in shape hasn’t been as smooth as some of his co-stars. “Taylor is always in great shape. For me, I have to really try and get in shape for these films and series. But the physicality and the training here was more so based on creating authenticity of movement, the behavior, handling of the weapons and the situational awareness required to portray one of these former Navy Seals,” he shares.

And to attain that authenticity, “the best way was to surround ourselves with Navy Seals all the time,” says Chris. In fact the actors say that they had actual Navy Seals ‘always watching’ both in front of and behind the camera.

Taylor says that more than the physicality, he focused on getting the mental aspect and calmness of being a Navy Seal down to the T. He says, “I had the same guy who trained me for Lone Survivor on this one as well, which was just the best. And when you get to surround yourself with the best of the best, you get to watch these guys. The beauty of Seals is how calm they are in such heightened moments. That is something we try and integrate in our scenes as well. There is a cadence with these guys that is very authentic and earned and for us that is always the thing you are chasing.”

Like Chris, Taylor has worked in some of the biggest films and franchises over the years, having played Gambit in X Men Origins: Wolverine and the titular adventurer in John Carter. But their paths had never crossed before The Terminal List. When asked if they needed any ice-breaking to get their chemistry sorted, Taylor answers, “For me, it was pretty quick. We had a Zoom session talking about the brotherhood and me coming on board. We were cracking jokes within the first two minutes of meeting each other.”

Taylor adds that often they had to dial back on the on-set humour since they had to go and film intense scenes after that. “It gets dark and he bears an incredible weight in the show, so my character Ben does need to bring levity. It’s a great way that Ben checks in with him where he is at emotionally. A lot of times, we had to pull back the humour because it is quite easy as well, given the chemistry,” says Taylor.

Chris Pratt and Taylor Kitsch in a still from The Terminal List.
Chris Pratt and Taylor Kitsch in a still from The Terminal List.

Chris has a very unique take on their chemistry and admiration for each other, likening himself and Taylor to two veteran Navy Seals. He explains, “Often times, you have two Seal Team members, who have both been through the crucible of training and war but they have never actually met. They may have heard of each other and noticed each other but when they meet, they know that have this connection. So, in a way because we both have played Navy Seals and we both have been actors for so long, there was probably a similarity between some of these Seals who have both been in the community for a long time but never had the opportunity to work together.”

Before he became a big movie star with the success of the Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises, Chris was largely known for playing Andy Dwyer in the popular sitcom Parks and Recreation. And while he was a regular on the show from 2009-15, he hasn’t been seen on the ‘small screen’ since then. But Chris says there was never any hesitation in returning to the longer format. “There was no hesitation at all. I produced this thing, so this was absolutely my choice. I don’t see a huge differentiation between television and film any more anyways. I think those lines have been blurred for a very long time now,” he says.

Chris adds that there was initially a thought that The Terminal List could be a film but he preferred to tell the story in eight hours over just two. He says, “In optioning this material, there was the possibility that this could be a movie. We looked at that as an opportunity. But the problem is there are great movies, don’t get me wrong, but if you really tell an engaging story, do you want to do it in 2 hours or 8 hours? I like the streaming platform better for this story.” Also read: When Chris Pratt left Thor Love and Thunder co-star Chris Hemsworth starstruck: ‘I was weirdly shaken’

In fact, Chris admits to being a fan of the OTT revolution. He says, “What we have today with streaming is an opportunity to do cinematic quality storytelling but over the length of something that’s television. This is not network television. We are not cutting to commercials. We are not doing simple three-act standalone episodes that would need to live in syndication. This is a story you really need to start at the beginning and watch through the end, told in eight hour-long chunks.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhimanyu Mathur is an entertainment journalist with Hindustan Times. He writes about cinema, TV, and OTT, churning out interviews, reviews, and good old news stories.

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