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Chris Pine vs. Chris Pratt: Divergent Paths to Stardom

Chris Pine vs. Chris Pratt: Divergent Paths to Stardom

Both have shown they have  the power to propel blockbusters to box-office success  – Pine in the tricky relaunch of the  “Star Trek” franchise and Pratt in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.” 

Interesting, then, that 2009 proved to be a breakout year for both charismatic actors: Pine made his debut as the young Capt. James T. Kirk (a role that Pratt auditioned for) in his first Trek outing; and Pratt began his ongoing run on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” as likable lug Andy Wyatt, a part that originally was only supposed to last one season but turned into a regular gig. 

But Pratt, 35, and Pine, 34, currently find themselves at distinctly different crossroads in their careers at the moment.

Pratt is enjoying  — what else? — an awesome 2014, having  headlined the year’s  top-grossing movie thus far as Star-Lord aka Peter Quill, the human-alien hybrid with plenty of Han Solo swagger who leads a band of misfit superheroes in “Guardians.” He also is part of the No. 3 box-office hit of the year, The Lego Movie,” as the voice of animated Every-guy Emmet.

The once proudly plump Pratt also is in better shape than ever, having slimmed down and pumped up to play Quill. That was enough to convince “GQ” to name him one of their cover-worthy men of the year.

Meanwhile, in the wings he has another potential action franchise besides “Guardians” (whose first sequel is due in summer 2017) with “Jurassic World,” the long-gestating fourth installment of dinosaur mayhem due next summer.   

Pine, who was overshadowed by the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villainous Khan in the 2013 sequel “Star Trek into Darkness,” seems to be recalibrating after making more than a few questionable choices over the past five years. While he managed to successfully buddy up with Denzel Washington in the 2010 action thriller “Unstoppable,” he fared less well as the fourth actor to tackle the role of Tom Clancey’s spy guy in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” And his track record with romantic comedy (2012 bomb “This Means War” with Reese Witherspoon) and family melodramas (2012’s “People Like Us” with Elizabeth Banks) is decidedly spotty.

And “Stretch,” a dark action thriller starring Patrick Wilson as a limo drive and an uncredited Pine, was denied a spring theatrical release by Universal and instead went to iTunes and Amazon.com before heading to VOD last month, even though what few reviews it drew were mainly positive. Perhaps it was smart that Pine took a supporting role in the upcoming “Horrible Bosses 2” (Nov. 26) just to get back on track. Early reviews have been cruel to the unduly crude comedy sequel, but at least he earned one of the few compliments in the “Hollywood Reporter’s” critique, which praised his character’s “manic humor.”

Still, things could be looking up for Pine, as he steps into the world of movie musicals as a delightful Prince Charming opposite Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella in Disney’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s fairy-tale-inspired Into the Woods (opening Dec. 25).

Let’s compare and contrast the path taken by each Chris P. to see how they stack up.

Typical  onscreen persona

Pine: Arrogant and smug well-off hunk
Pratt: Adorable and goofy regular dude
Personal philosophy

“I believe in luck and fate and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you.”

Pratt: “Just be comfortable with who you are.”

Early years

 The L.A.-born son of acting parents earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California in Berkeley and studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He scored his first acting job on an episode of “ER” in 2003. He made his feature film debut as Anne Hathaway’s true love Nicholas Devereaux in “Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.” He survived co-starring with Lindsay Lohan in the 2006 comedy flop, “Just My Luck,” which came out just as her personal travails began to overshadow her work.

Pratt:  The Minnesota native born to a working-class family was raised in Washington state, where he was high-school wrestler. He left community college after one semester, and worked as a coupon salesman and a stripper before ending up homeless in Maui. His big break came while as a waiter at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company eatery when actress Rae Dawn Chong cast him in her directing debut, the 2000 horror flick “Cursed Part 3.” His first major film was 2008’s “Wanted,” an action thriller starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie.

Extra credit

Pine: He was lauded for his stage work in the L.A. productions of “Farragut North” in 2009 and the black comedy “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” in 2010, which won him a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s award.

Pratt: He landed a recurring role on the WB drama series “Everwood” in 2002, which ran four seasons, and showed up on the fourth season of Fox’s  “The O.C.” in 2006.

Critical reception for signature roles

Pine as Kirk in Star Trek:  “Mr. Pine has the harder job — he has to invoke Mr. Shatner’s sui generis performance while transcending its excesses — which makes his nuanced interpretation all the more potent,” wrote an admiring Manohla Dargis in The New York Times.
Noted Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly, “Newcomer Pine, with his slightly coarse sexiness — rough skin, thatchy hair, thick lips — evokes the young Brad Pitt, but he’s no pouting pretty boy; his verbal attack is light and fast.” 
Pratt: “Chris Pratt, overflowing with charisma, plays the leader of the pack of misfits, and his blissed-out space cowboy (with a love for seventies music) is so full of good will that he buoys the film and its requisite whizbang special effects,” cooed Bruce Diones in his New Yorker review. 

“Whether he’s busting funky dance moves to the 1970s oldies songs on his late mom’s cassette player (he kills it on “O-o-h Child”) or showing his chops as a space warrior, Pratt nails every beat in the role – comedy, drama, action and six-pack-baring stud appeal. Want to see Pratt become a full-fledged movie star? This is where it happens,” raved Peter Travers in “Rolling Stone.”

Appearances in best-picture Oscar nominees
Pine: None.
Pratt: As Oakland A’s first baseman Scott Hatteberg in 2011’s “Moneyball”;  a Navy SEAL in 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty”; and as Joaquin Phoenix’s friend in 2013’s “Her.”

Biggest flop
Pine: “Blind Dating,” a 2007 comedy about a blind guy who goes on blind dates. While the film grossed just $90,560 and earned just a 25% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the actor at least was granted a pseudo consolation prize by the publication “City Weekly”:  “Best performance in an otherwise inexplicable film.” Trailer. 

Pratt: “10 Years,”  a 2012 high-school reunion comedy as Channing Tatum’s old chum who turns into an obnoxious jerk after a few too many, With a 60% Rotten Tomatoes score, it certainly isn’t Pratt’s worst turkey – that honor would likely go to 2013’s “Move 43.” But it is his lowest grosser, collecting only $203,373. Trailer.

Lifetime box-office total

Pine:  $941,815,697 for 13 movies; average gross for wide releases: $72,447,361
Pratt: $844,984,038 for 11 movies; average gross for wide releases: $76,816,731
Gossip fodder
Pine:  In September, he was spotted hanging out with “X-Men: First Class actress” Zoe Kravitz. Before that, he had been dating Icelandic beauty queen Iris Bjork Johannesdottir after being linked to Audrina Patridge and Olivia Munn.  Pine was charged with drunk driving in New Zealand earlier this year, where he was filming the upcoming movie “Z for Zachariah.” He was banned from driving for six months and paid a small fee.

Pratt: Met actress Anna Faris in 2007 while working on the “Take Me Home Tonight,” which opened in 2011. They became engaged in 2009 and married in Bali that same year. They have a 2-year-old son, Jack.

“Saturday Night Live” gigs

Pine:  Showed up with two Spocks – both  Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy — to promote Star Trek during the Weekend Update segment and address the concerns of old-school Trekkers. 

Pratt:  Hosted this season’s inaugural episode and kicked off the show’s 40th anniversary with a sweetly ragged country ditty that covered his weight-loss issues and how he and wife, who was in the audience rooting him on, had their baby – namely, by having sex.

Upcoming projects

Pine: Judging from this trailer, “Into the Woods” builds upon Pine’s penchant for preening male characters (“I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” says his royal oaf).  But the actor could not be in better company with such movie musical vets as Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick by his side. The next “Star Trek” is due in 2016.

Pratt: Right now, there is “Jurassic World” and a sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy” to look forward to. Let’s relive a moment from “Guardians,” which comes out on DVD on Dec. 9. 


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