Each actor has their own working methods, their own unique ways and means of getting into a character or drawing on particular emotions needed for a certain scene. Chris Pratt, about to star in Jurassic World, has developed some rather unorthodox and interesting methods to help him in his work. As he explains to GQ Magazine, it started out with a new technique he developed while working on Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn.
“I came up with some awesome techniques on that movie that I still use,” he declares. “Some awesome techniques for acting that I think I might have invented.”
“In that movie, I used bright orange, like a blaze orange, as a reminder that my [character’s] mother doesn’t believe in me and that she believes I’m a failure.” Pratt then placed orange post-it notes around the set, out of shot. “Then,” he says, “it would catch my attention halfway through the scene, and it would affect me emotionally underneath.”
Pratt also uses music in his acting, which in itself is not so unusual, though perhaps not many actors store 110 pieces of music in their phones under the title “Acting Music,” subdivided into five categories: “Love,” “Sadness,” “Wonderment,” “Action,” and the vaguely mysterious “Volume Five.” (Volume Five turns out to be “a collection of kind of all of them.”) Pratt then rechristens each separate piece of music—typically an instrumental from a past movie soundtrack—with its own new name to describe the emotion it encapsulates, so that within “Sadness,” for instance, you can find “Ethereal Reaction,” “The Long Walk,” “European Town in Ruins,” “Wonder of Life,” “Leaving Home,” and “Brother’s Funeral.”
Pratt says he thinks the “three legs of the acting table” are your body, your voice, and “the rhythm of your spirit”; he finds this music collection particularly useful with the third of these. “It’s hard to manipulate the rhythm of your spirit,” he points out. “That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about. Like, I had road rage just yesterday….”
Added to this, Pratt also found another technique online, which he put into practice on the set of Jurassic World. You think about what animal your character would be in order to determine how they would move. In this case, Pratt decided his character would be a dolphin, and dolphins lead with their foreheads.
He explains his whole thought process as follows: “Flow core, no TC, volume up point five, Eric Church.”
Eric Church to remind him of “Dark Side,” a song by Church that Pratt was listening to over and over, and the darkness in this character it encapsulated. “Flow core” to remind him of his posture when he was paddle boarding. “Volume up point five” to remind him to make his voice slightly louder. “No TC” to remind him to lead with his forehead, in a formulation only a formerly fat man would think to use: No triple chin.
It’s certainly an interesting approach to characterization, but for Pratt, it seems to be working.