"I think I nearly fainted," the actor, who plays a dinosaur trainer in the movie, said at the L.A. press day

By Jacqueline Andriakos
June 08, 2015 03:00 PM

Taming a trio of raptors was nothing for Chris Pratt after a scary run-in with … a moose?

The 35-year-old actor reminisced about a hunting trip gone awry that helped him get into character for the blockbuster dinosaur film Jurassic World.

“I was on an elk hunt about maybe [eight or nine] years ago,” Pratt said at a press event for the film Saturday in Los Angeles. “I was on this hunt with these other two guys, Mike and Ian, and they were out in the morning,” Pratt, who plays a rugged raptor trainer at the theme park, explained to a crowd of reporters.

“So I wasn’t with them. I’m walking around the camp because they have these things called grouse, which are dumb little birds. They are like a cross between corn and like an animal. I was out going to shoot these little grouse with this tiny little gun, basically a BB gun.”

He went on: “I look up on the hill; I see a giant something. Like the sun is coming up behind this hill so I couldn’t really see, but it was the [shadow] of a giant beast. I assumed it was a monster bull elk.”

Before panicking, the Parks and Recreation actor took the logical step of calling his buddies for a little assistance.

“I go back quickly to the tent and I say to Ian and Mike over the radios, ‘I think there’s something here. I think it’s a huge elk. Stand by. I’m going to go get a better look but you might need to come back this way because one of you should shoot this big elk.’ ”

But while phoning the friends, Pratt lost track of the unidentified beast.

“Now I’m looking through my binoculars and I don’t see this animal. I can’t find it,” Pratt said, noting that he’s dressed in slippers and pajamas while gripping his “little single-shot baby gun 22.”

“And then I hear this ‘pfff’ and I drop my binoculars and now standing 10 feet from me is a big mature bull moose.”

“This thing is monstrous. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘Oh, I’m going to die right now.’ It’s rubbing its foot into the ground … And as I take a step back, it takes a step towards me. And it’s a stand-off between me and this giant beast. And I take another step back and it takes another step towards me. ”

“I can still smell this creature. It’s so vivid in my brain. There’s steam coming out of its nose … and I have this little tiny gun … What am I going to do? If it attacks me, I have to try and stick this little gun somewhere like its eye or something to try to shoot it because there is no way this gun is going to kill a moose. It’s just going to make it mad.”

“And finally I take one more step, and instead of taking one step, it takes three steps at me I think I nearly fainted and then it just turns off like this and it walks, not two feet from me – just doesn’t care who I was. It just walked off into the wild,” Pratt said.

It’s no wonder Pratt so convincingly calms his clan of dinosaurs in the Jurassic reboot, which hits theaters Friday.

“When I’m doing that scene with the raptors, I told this story to [director Colin Trevorrow]. And I said, ‘There is something really scary about having something standing in front of you and if you take a step back a few inches and it comes at you a few inches.’ That suspense, and in building that up, informed a little bit of the experience that I had in the wild.”

Reporting by SCOTT HUVER