Chris Pratt stars as a Navy SEAL officer in his new Amazon series “The Terminal List,” for which he surrounded himself with former members of the US military who have worked in front of and behind the camera.
In the 2013 film “Zero Dark Thirty” (“The darkest night”), Pratt played one of the SEAL officers who helped kill Osama Bin Laden. For that role, he shadowed Jared Shaw, a true SEAL whom he now counts among his “best” friends.
“He was at my wedding,” Pratt said. The two also lived together before he moved in with his current wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt.
Shaw introduced Pratt to the book “The Terminal List” by Jack Carr, a story about a SEAL named Jack Reece whose platoon is ambushed in an undercover operation. When Reece returns home, he begins to question both his memories of what happened and the world around him.
Pratt liked the book so much that he purchased the rights for Antoine Fuqua to direct the first episode and serve as co-executive producer with him and others. Shaw came on board as an associate producer and also has a role on the series. The team hired a real special ops unit to appear in a big fight scene in the first episode of the production. He also employed former members of the military for a variety of behind-the-scenes roles.
Pratt said he wanted “The Terminal List,” which opens Friday on the streaming service, to have a “layer of authenticity” that many Hollywood special ops productions lack.
“Action movies throughout the ages have turned SEALs into superheroes. I think when real SEALs see that stuff, they say ‘no, that’s Hollywood (expletive)’.”
Pratt said that by recruiting former special ops members as technical advisers, they could say to the production, “Hey guys, it shouldn’t be like this, you have to do it again.” The goal was “to try to honor that community and do this for that community, so they’d see us and say, ‘Wow, that’s really, really accurate.'”
Regardless of the realism, Pratt says it makes sense to recruit ex-military men to work on Hollywood productions. “They wake up and look to get the job done,” he said.
“I love that transition for people coming out of the service and joining the film and television industry. It’s a great place for them. It is very similar in a chain of command. You have departments and you have initiatives that come from above. We had people in the props department, we had costume people, hair and makeup people, extras, location people, we had actors, writers, producers who were military.”
Carr has written four other books about the Reese character, and Pratt says he’s ready to continue the story on screen. If that happens, he will “make sure” that he continues to hire former armed service members. “They fit very well,” he said.
Pratt is also proud to help Shaw realize a personal dream of breaking into show business. He had questioned whether attempting a career in Hollywood was realistic.
“It was very fortuitous that we met. (Shaw) had been an actor in high school… I was like, ‘Hey, dude, you know, I love this kind of bubble that I live in. And I know it’s partly created by men and women who grab a gun and grab their boots and their uniform and go to work… You bought our freedom and I thank you.’ I told him: ‘It’s time to maybe enjoy the spoils of your service… Jump into the film and television industry. It is prospering. Is booming. And we need you.’”