Chris Pratt Was Not Supposed To Be Star-Lord
It is hard to imagine any actor besides Chris Pratt playing the goofy and lovable Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. However, a casting director for the studio has recently revealed that Pratt did not want to the audition for the film at all. Who would be crazy enough to pass up a chance to be in the MCU? Let’s find out what really happened!
CONVINCING THE ACTOR
Sarah Finn is Marvel’s casting director and has been the person behind all our favorite stars in the 22 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We can all agree that she has done an amazing job, especially after seeing all those shining celebrities assembled in ‘Avengers: Endgame’. It is going to be a long time before another film tops that majestic moment.
During the premiere of ‘Endgame’ last month, Finn talked to Variety about a hard casting decision that her group had to make. She said,
“They’re all challenging in their own ways but I would probably go with Guardians of the Galaxy and Star-Lord.”
The casting director said that Pratt did not want to read for the role of Peter Quill at first.
“[Director] James Gunn has been very generous about this in saying that I, to the point of annoying him, kept insisting that Chris Pratt was the guy for the part. But Chris didn’t want to play the part and refused to audition,”
she added. However, Sarah kept insisting that the actor was perfect and encountered another roadblock in her way.
“I finally got him to audition and James Gunn said he didn’t want to see him, and that was really a challenge.”
PRATT CHANGED HIS MIND
Luckily, Finn was able to overcome that hurdle easily by just arranging a meeting between Gunn and Pratt. She added,
“It was honestly one of those eureka moments that we talk about in casting when it absolutely feels right and you know it’s right. James turned to me within 10 seconds and said, ‘He’s the guy.’”
When asked why she was so adamant about Chris in this role, Finn said,
“We were reading a lot of actors, and many of them were incredible and had wonderful versions of the character, but I honestly kept hearing Chris in my head.”
Her judgment is clearly what has made her the go-to person for Marvel Studios. She was also happy when Pratt changed his mind about the part. “Now it’s legend, he’s the perfect person.” The problem Chris had was that the movie seemed so insane at the time. It was also completely different for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Finn explained,
“At the time we were embarking on a movie that had a raccoon and a talking tree, and a property that people weren’t familiar with.”
CASTING IRON MAN
‘Iron Man’ was the beginning of this legendary cinematic saga, and many believe that it couldn’t have happened if they had chosen another actor besides Robert Downey Jr. He was actually the first actor cast in 2006 for the film. When asked how she knew it was him, Sarah Finn said,
“It was a long and thoughtful process and really after talking, spending a lot of time with [director] Jon Favreau, [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige, understanding what the character was, it really became clear there was no one but Robert that could bring him to life.”’
At the time, Robert Downey Jr. was not recognized as an action hero, but Marvel was looking for someone who could be the best Tony Stark - “the best actor for the role”. Sarah was also asked about her amazing journey in the Marvel Universe, and she explained that they never imagined that it would be so successful.
“We had no idea what this was going to become so it’s pretty overwhelming and amazing to be here [the premiere] tonight.”
Casting decisions are tough, and now, the studio is looking for more changes. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ shocked the MCU, and the future of the franchise is opening up to more diversity and inclusion. The success of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Captain Marvel’ has proven that the world craves more opportunities for different genders, ethnicities, ages, and sexual preferences.
According to several higher-ups at Marvel, the time has come. Executive vice-president of production Victoria Alonso told Vulture that Marvel will move on from their long-standing all-white male superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man. This decision is not just for the sake of the audiences, but it is also a smart business-savvy move for the company.
“The lesson with Captain Marvel and Black Panther, where the combined efforts of those two movies is $2.4 billion, is if you don’t do it, you’re leaving money on the table,”
said Alonso. These movies might be made for young viewers, but a vital part of them is profit.
“This is show business — there’s a business part to the show. Don’t leave money on the table. Just commit to it.”
Alonso also added that a diverse set of heroes and villain will be the main concern of Marvel in the coming years. “We’re just determined to have it be how we do it,” she said.
“And if we do it, maybe somebody else will do it … I encourage every studio, every indie production company, every filmmaker out there to make an effort.”
The studio will finally release a ‘Black Widow’ solo film after all this time with Scarlett Johansson in the role, and it seems like Shang-Chi, a favorite from the comic books, will finally join the Avengers. Sarah Finn assures fans that the MCU is gearing up for a bunch of new faces, adding,
“You’re gonna see even more new faces — and faces from all different background, all ages, all ethnicities, LGBTQ, people who are differently abled.”
Marvel has been working with the Casting Society of America to choose this new era of superheroes and villains.
“It’s a priority to have authenticity, to increase representation, to give greater representation to actors who have not traditionally been represented in mainstream movies on the big screen,”
said Finn. Additionally, Kevin Feige has talked about changing the genders, ethnicities, and sexualities of established characters like they did with Heimdal and Valkyrie from the ‘Thor’ movies.
“There are a lot of other examples, so the answer is yes. You may be asking about sort of major, title characters. The answer to that is probably yes, too.”
We are immensely grateful to Sarah Finn for the past eleven years of great acting choices. Let us know which actor in the Marvel Universe is your favorite. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who enjoyed these films since the beginning. See you next time!