How Chris Pratt Became a Movie Star

by Rachel Simon

They say hindsight is 20/20, and it's never as true as in the case of Chris Pratt's sudden movie stardom; as much as everyone wants to believe they knew all along that the chubby, sweet actor on Parks & Rec would eventually become the star of a major action franchise, there's not a person out there who actually saw it coming. Still, we shouldn't have been so surprised; Pratt's Guardians-led transformation into Hollywood leading man is just the latest, albeit biggest, step in the actor's ever-changing career.

Ever since that first episode of Everwood, Pratt has been constantly defying audiences' and critics' expectations, taking on the most varied parts in shows and movies possible. He's been the stoner neighbor, the dimwitted slacker, the determined athlete, and everything in between, and, now, action star of a blockbuster movie. It's been a long journey for Pratt to achieve his success, and perhaps an unexpected one; looking back, who would've thought the high kid from The O.C. would become one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors Everything to know about how Chris Pratt made the unlikely evolution from scene-stealer to major star:

2000: Cursed Part 3

While living in Hawaii and working as a waiter at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Pratt was discovered by the actor/director Rae Dawn Chong, who cast him in her upcoming film. According to the actor, C ursed Part 3 was probably very bad, but he had a great time doing it, and it convinced him to continue on with acting.

2002-2006: Everwood

After appearing in a few film, Pratt landed the main role of Bright Abbott, a goofy, kind-hearted guy who quickly became a fan favorite. He stayed on the show until the very end, before moving onto...

2006-2007: The O.C.

Where he played the incredible character of Che, the constantly-stoned, environment-obsessed college kid who lived across the hall from Summer and stalked her for awhile when she went home to Newport. But he was cute, so it wasn't that creepy.

2008: Wanted

This was the first sign that Pratt had the potential to be an action star, even though he didn't actual;y do anything action-y. Still, he seemed to fit well into the environment, and looking back, though, it's clear he had it in him all along.

2009-Present: Parks and Recreation

Getting the role of Andy on Parks was the best thing that could've happened to Pratt. As the show's sweet, dumb, adorable goofball, the actor steals every scene he's in, more than holding his own against comedy veterans like Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari. Whether he's flirting with April, whining to Leslie, or making a total fool out of himself in front of every new person he meets, Andy provides some of the funniest, greatest moments on the series. Parks may be ending next year, but as Andy, Pratt's made an impression on viewers that'll last long after that final episode airs.

2011: Moneyball

And then came Moneyball, arguably the first role of Pratt's that showed off his skills as a serious actor. Playing Scott Hatteberg, a former catcher who finds himself getting a second chance at glory, Pratt brought big heart to a tiny role.

2012: Zero Dark Thirty

If people still doubted his ability to do drama, though, Zero Dark Thirty should've done the trick. It was a small role, but Pratt was totally convincing as a Navy SEAL on a mission to find and kill Osama Bin Laden.

2014: The Lego Movie

Technically, this should count as the movie that featured Chris Pratt, major blockbuster star. The film took in nearly $500,000,000, but because it was animated, most people seem not to consider it the actor's "big break" as a movie star. Still, in my book, it counts.

2014: Guardians of the Galaxy

But, clearly, Guardians counts more. This is the movie that's turned Pratt into a massive star, an actor capable of playing both a bold, action-ready hero and the sweet, silly comic relief. It may have taken him a decade and a half to get here, but with Guardians, there's no question: Pratt's become the movie star we all (wish) we knew he could be.

Images: The WB; Universal; Columbia; Warner Bros