LOS ANGELES - With Chris Pratt returning as Star-Lord in the franchise that made him a global box office star with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (opening this weekend), he shared some thoughts at a recent Hollywood media event about working with one of his idols, Kurt Russell, the franchise's focus on family, and the joy and power of his shirtless scenes with Michael Rooker.
Pratt said working with Russell -- who plays his dad, Ego -- was like a dream come true.
"You know, it's like you try and promise yourself you're not going to do this thing that happens every time you meet someone who's an icon. You know? Someone that you've known [about] way longer than they've known you and you've seen all their stuff," said Pratt.
"You promised yourself that you're not going to do the thing where you geek out -- but it's a little inauthentic if you don't. Because if you just go in there and act like, 'Oh, what is it, Kurt?', 'Hey, nice to meet you, Chris', and I don't acknowledge how much I love him and what a fan I am -- if you don't get that out of the way, then it feels a little inauthentic.
"So, I think I did that immediately," Pratt said. "It doesn't take that long to tell someone you really love them and that you really respect their work and for them to go, 'Yeah, thanks.' Then, that's it.
"At that point, you move forward and there's this really cool thing -- that is probably the one thing I never would have imagined for when I first moved to Hollywood -- but the greatest part of it, the biggest secret, is you become someone's friend ... and peer ... rather than a fan, and that's really nice!
"Kurt and I have become friends. We connected on a lot of things outside of this movie and I have his cellphone number -- and I'll give it to each and every one of you."
As for the often-shirtless Pratt's still-buff bod, he said, laughing, "It hasn't hurt my career. We are objects. It's true. We are. We're props. They paint us with makeup, take a camera, point it at us and half the time what ruins it is us talking.
"I can say objectification is good for me, because when I turned my body into an object that people like, I got paid a lot of money -- and now my grandkids are going to go to a great college because of the objectification!"
Pratt said he feels the Guardians sequel is most powerful when Star-Lord is interacting with his long-lost father, Ego -- as well as his "foster" father, Yondu, who he emphasizes also has a powerful scene while shirtless.
"Yondu is essentially naked and very vulnerable -- and you can see he's just kind of had sex with these crazy robot prostitutes," he said. "There is this look on his face -- he never says a word -- but you feel his pain. You know that he's hurting inside. You know that he's lonely. You know that he's vulnerable -- and then immediately, you cut to him walking in, fully clothed with his ravagers behind him, and with a sense of power, but because you saw him naked, you know what's going on in his mind and that pathos carries the entire arc for Yondu through the whole movie."
In the end, Pratt said the film is about the Guardians not only being a family, but struggling to stay a family.
"This is very much a family movie," he said. "I think that feeling [of sometimes not feeling like you fit in with your own family] is really universal, because I don't think there's one person who hasn't felt that [alienation] at some point in their life -- except me! I've always felt comfortable and fit in my entire life!"