Chris Pratt’s appearance as Star-Lord in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie marked a line in the sand for the actor’s career, his transformation from chubby-comedic relief to ripped-action hero had begun. Before he became the Marvel hero however he dipped his toes into another film where he packed on muscle and totted a gun for a mission, technically for a film that wasn’t an action movie, 2012’s Jessica Chastain-starring Zero Dark Thirty. Now streaming on Netflix, Pratt played a member of Seal Team Six in the film, even playing the character that killed Osama Bin Laden himself, and that’s just one of the many things found controversial about this movie.
Among the things that were found controversial about the movie were that its release in October, ahead of a presidential election, was seen as a partisan move by Sony Pictures; while others accused the filmmakers of having access to classified material that shouldn’t have been distributed to anyone in the public (though investigated by the CIA, nothing ever came of this). The biggest controversy that surrounded the film after its release however was how many thought the film actively painted a picture of the effectiveness of torture. Multiple senators including Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter to Sony decrying its depiction of the act.
Not only were multiple scenes used in the film that depicted it, the narrative also seemed to draw a straight line toward how useful it was but also that it was essential to locating Bin Laden, a fact widely disputed. Among the many critics of this part of the film was Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, who wrote in a guest column for Huffington Post: “When we go to war, our politicians will be guided by our popular will. And if we believe that torture ‘got’ bin Laden, then we will be more prone to accept the view that a good ‘end’ can justify brutal ‘means.'”
Despite the controversies that surrounded the film it was still a huge success. The film earned five Academy Award nominations including Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Chastain, and Best Picture. For Pratt it marked the beginning of hte next stage of his career, but also was a building block that lead to his new Amazon Prime Video series, The Terminal List.
In the process of doing (Zero Dark Thirty), I got to go down to Coronado and meet the SEALs down there and meet some guys who were training,” Pratt said recently on the Smartless podcast. “All the tough Navy SEAL training is done there in Coronado. So I met a guy down there who I ended up kind of shadowing for the character I was playing. He, to this day, is like my best friend. We’ve worked together. He was considering going onto Team 6 at that point but also had always had the calling to do acting and to be in Hollywood. So our paths crossed.”
Zero Dark Thirty is now streaming on Netflix and The Terminal List just premiered on Amazon Prime Video.