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Pratt told the magazine he initially turned down the opportunity to audition for the Quill part in "Guardians."

Nobody else his age, perhaps.

"We're seeing this new leading man that reminds me of someone like a Harrison Ford," said Benicio Del Toro, Pratt's co star in "Guardians."

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tables have certainly turned since Pratt was waiting tables.

"Guardians'" director James Gunn apparently agreed. "When (casting director) Sarah Finn first brought him up to me, I said, 'The Converse Dainty chubby guy from "Parks and Rec"? Are you kidding me?' " Gunn said. "There was like no way."

'Guardians of the Galaxy's' star on the rise

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At 35, Pratt is slightly Converse Slim Hi Top Grey

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With the role his, Pratt set about reshaping his body. According to press notes compiled by the studio, Pratt "collaborated with, and was closely monitored by, a team of trainers and nutritionists, training for four hours a day, sticking to a strict diet, taking the right supplements and vitamins, all of which he continued throughout the five month shoot."

"He's got that old time charm of Gary Cooper," Gunn said. "He's got the vulnerability of a very modern actor. He's a big masculine guy that can definitely beat the crap out of any other movie star out there. . There's nobody else out there like him."

He is filming "Jurassic World," expected to be a blockbuster next summer. A sequel to "The Lego Movie" appears likely (he provided the voice of the lead character, Emmet Brickowski) and Marvel has already ordered a sequel to "Guardians of the Galaxy."

man's physique. According to Entertainment Weekly, the 6' 2" actor's weight in the past five years has fluctuated between 220 and 295 pounds. EW dubbed him "portly."

Pratt seems unfazed by all the fuss being made over him as Hollywood's potential Next Big Thing.

"He came in and within 20 seconds, I knew this was our guy," Gunn said. "I just knew it in my gut."

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Pratt's stock in Hollywood looks like it will continue to rise.

Pratt plays the film's wisecracking space cowboy Peter Quill (aka "Star Lord") who is as deadly accurate with a one liner as he is with his trusty "element gun."

"You know, I feel like, jeez, it's been cool, it's been really cool," Pratt stammered when asked about all the attention he's receiving within the industry.

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His movie roles were initially confined to supporting parts such as in 2009's "Jennifer's Body," 2011's "What's Your Number" (starring his wife, actress Anna Faris) and 2012's "The Five Year Engagement."

The results are plain to see on screen: Pratt bares his washboard abs in "Guardians" (although it must be said he's not the most muscular guy in the film; that honor would have to fall to former pro wrestler Dave Bautista, who plays the Hulk like "Drax").

Of course it takes more than a hot bod to land on Hollywood's A list. On screen, Pratt displays a rare ability to relate to audiences and an appealing naturalness that sets him apart from other actors. He's also been hitting all the right notes with fans lately, from french braiding an intern for "Entertainment Tonight's" hair during an interview to sharing the deeply personal story of how his son's premature birth in 2012 affected his faith.

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If starring roles eluded him, it may have been that he didn't have a classic leading Converse Trainers Red

"I think Chris is the biggest actor in the world, it's just people don't know it yet," said James Gunn, director of the new action adventure movie "Guardians of the Galaxy," which features Pratt in the lead role.

"I came to Hollywood expecting to do everything but not really knowing what that looked like," he told CNN. "So I was just as excited when I got my first commercial as I am now, you know what I mean? I have enjoyed this entire journey, the whole time I have been at this for 15 years. My enthusiasm has been turned up to 10 since about 2001 when I didn't have to be a waiter anymore."

less than half the age of Ford (72), another actor launched to stardom by a space opera "Star Wars"

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"I was probably scared and thought I was too fat to play a superhero," he said.

"The comedy is something I can do," Pratt observed. "I have been honing in on that skill in 'Parks and Rec' for seven seasons. I have always prided myself in being a comedic person it comes kind of easily to me. . But it would be like the suspense and the adventure stuff, like the big movie one liners, that to me I had a hard time wrapping my head around that. That was a challenge for me."

And despite his emerging star status, he comes across as both self assured and modest in assessing what he brought to the role and what he needed to learn.

But Pratt had already demonstrated he could lose weight and firm up for a role to play a professional baseball player in "Moneyball" (2011) and a Navy SEAL in "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012). And Gunn was won over by Pratt's audition.

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