Chris Pratt is a rare bird: a conservative Christian who is also a major star in Hollywood. In an interview this week for Vanity Fair, Pratt described his conversion to Christianity — and the magazine’s writer felt it necessary to explain his faith away.
And by major star, I mean major. Although his latest hit, Passengers (2016), has not impressed at the box office and has gotten panned by reviewers, his career is still on the up-and-up. After his breakout role in the show Parks and Recreation (2009-2015), Pratt has starred in The Lego Movie (2014), Jurassic World (2015) and The Magnificent Seven (2016). He also became the face of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which is due for a sequel this year.
But this success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Indeed, Pratt has credited his faith for many wonderful things in his life, his film career included.
In the Vanity Fair interview this week, the star described his conversion from a sinful lifestyle to Christian living.
I was sitting outside a grocery store—we’d convinced someone to go in and buy us beer. This is Maui. And a guy named Henry came up and recognized something in me that needed to be saved. He asked what I was doing that night, and I was honest. I said, ‘My friend’s inside buying me alcohol.’ ‘You going to go party?’ he asked. ‘Yeah.’ ‘Drink and do drugs? Meet girls, fornication?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’
I was charmed by this guy, don’t know why. He was an Asian dude, maybe Hawaiian, in his 40s. It should’ve made me nervous but didn’t. I said, ‘Why are you asking?’ He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you . . .’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy. He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.
O.K. Let’s stop for a moment. Because this is strange and so distant from what we expect of a movie star, especially of the clever, slapdash, wise-guy variety. But everyone needs a story to make sense of their life. Even the most successful. The extreme demands explanation. For Pratt, success, so extreme it scared him, is explained by metaphysical intervention. Which caused him to take control. In that moment, he yielded. His path has been clear ever since.
In Cohen’s telling, Pratt’s story of faith can’t be real — it must be psychologically explained. Unfortunately, this is the kind of bigoted view of faith liberals have shown us again and again (attacking religious freedom as a smokescreen to discriminate against LGBT people, or targeting Chip and Joanna Gaines, because their beliefs might make them “hateful” people).
On the contrary, Pratt’s story seems completely genuine and need not be psychologically explained.
In 2014, Pratt told People magazine that he and his wife prayed for a miracle when his son, Jack, was born nine weeks premature in August 2012. “We were scared for a long time,” Pratt said about the month his first-born spent in an intensive care unit. “We prayed a lot.”
While doctors said his son would almost certainly be disabled, the child turned out to be completely healthy, something Pratt considered miraculous.
“It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it,” Pratt said. “The baby was so beautiful to us, and I look back at the photos of him and it must have been jarring for other people to come in and see him, but to us he was so beautiful and perfect.”
His wife, Anna Faris, who stars on the CBS comedy Mom (2013-2017), told People about his character. “It’s easy to assume he is sort of a golden retriever of a man, but he’s really smart,” she said. “He’s really a loving father, he is an incredible husband. He doesn’t let fame seduce him. He’s still the same dude.”
The Guardians of the Galaxy star also shares about his faith (and appreciation for Ronald Reagan) on Facebook.
It seems Regan is a divisive figure these days. Hell I don't know. But this speech was moving to me. Happy Memorial Day. John 15:13
In a 2015 interview, Pratt described his long-term goals. “The big picture is my wife and my son and I living somewhere other than L.A., just being able to be a Boy Scout leader, drink beer on Saturday, go to church on Sunday, having fun.” As an Eagle Scout and Christian myself, that sounds pretty good to me.