Chris Pratt was definitely not everyone’s idea of a heartthrob during his ascent to fame with his lead role in Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt first gained notoriety for playing socially awkward Aubrey Plaza’s boyfriend on Parks and Recreation, where the jokes centered around him being fat, stupid and in all other ways a giant man-child.
But that’s nothing compared to the bowl-cut sporting teenager in photos a reddit user who went to high school with Chris posted earlier this week. If you thought Pratt was a far cry from a leading man on Parks and Recreation, you might want to take a look at these.
However, according the user who posted the pictures, Chris was far from a nerd in high school. Pratt was a member of the wrestling team and nominated for class clown.
The redditor also shared the memory that Pratt was a genuinely nice, popular person in high school — going as far to say that Chris was just the kind of guy that everybody liked.
For some odd reason the one memory that jumps to mind was how good of a moonwalker he was. Seriously, we had one of those pep rally type assemblies once and in the course of one of the “rah-rah” type skits that he was involved in a Michael Jackson song hit and he absolutely nailed it.
Of course, the photos are interesting as a way of seeing Pratt’s transformation from regular guy to someone quickly joining the A-list of Hollywood’s leading men — but the commentary from Chris’ classmate tells us a lot more from that. So often stories of “I knew them back when” go this way — even Meryl Streep was her school’s homecoming queen.
Does that mean that fame is something innate? Or we attracted to people with the “fame gene” long before they become famous? That’s not to say that everyone is happy with Pratt’s recent transformation. A Salon editorial titled “Give Me Doughy, Lovable Chris Pratt” cut down Chris’ newfound body and image, heavily favoring Pratt’s Andy from Parks and Recreation over his chiseled, shirtless-selfie posting new form.
Of course, Americans can’t resist a good before-and-after. Hollywood producers know it and are more than willing to exploit that for ticket sales. I detect something else at play, though, and it’s straight-male fantasy. On “Parks and Recreation,” Pratt’s character, Andy Dwyer, is the embodiment of the beer-drinking, video-game-playing aimless masculinity that has become the subject of so much hand-wringing in recent years. Pratt’s physical transformation from couch potato to superhero is the fairy tale for our time (and it’s exactlywhat dudes who are into Marvel want to see).
Chris Pratt may never be “doughy” Andy from Parks and Recreation again, and when all is said and done with Guardians of the Galaxy he might never want to come back. Still, it’s safe to say that there’s a special “Pratt”-ness to all of his forms, even the high school one.