Chris Pratt And Tom Holland Helped Shape Their Onward Characters

At a recent press conference for Pixar's Onward, the cast and crew answered questions about how Chris Pratt and Tom Holland influenced their characters.
tom holland and chris pratt in onward

Once Onward premieres on March 6, fans are going to be petitioning the MCU for more Avengers team ups between Chris Pratt and Tom Holland. Though the Pixar film is animated, the chemistry between the actors shines through in every frame. And it’s not just because of the excellent vocal performances, as its clear the animators took some cues from the men themselves.

At a recent Disney and Pixar press conference in anticipation of the Onward premiere, the stars gathered alongside director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae to answer a few questions about the movie. One of the big topics of conversation was precisely the powerful brotherly love that propels the story, and everyone on stage had plenty to say.


Chris Pratt and Tom Holland: Favorite Siblings?

chris pratt and tom holland at onward press conference

Rae was the first to praise the co-leads when the performances were brought up, and she was not shy in expressing her admiration.

Tom and Chris [were] just amazing. I mean, we are forever grateful for how much they invested themselves into the roles, and how they really really took the characters and elevated them and made them so much more complex and real within the film.

Scanlon followed suit, getting a little more specific about just how amazing the actors were. In his eyes, Tom Holland was responsible for softening Ian up a bit:

When we originally wrote Ian, he was a little more, I think at times, sarcastic. And Tom brought a sincerity to him and a vulnerability to him that was crucial in a way that I didn’t quite understand.

Chris Pratt, on the other hand, was a champion for Barley much in the vein of his own Quests of Yore heroes. Scanlon explained:

Chris was very protective of Barley. Barley’s kind of a goofball and a crazy character, and we’d write scenes where, “Then Barley’s pants fall down and he falls down the stairs.” And Chris was always like, “He’s not an idiot. He’s a well-intentioned guy who is trying to help.” He was a protector of Barley as a character and as a human being, or an elf.

There’s no question to those who have seen Onward that these subtle shifts make a huge difference on the characters and their dynamic with each other. It’s safe to say that these nuances are an improvement. As Scanlon concluded, an actor’s ability to identify with the character is crucial, “especially in animation, [where] we live with these characters for a long time, and the performers come in and they make them real and they give them heart.”

Are you looking forward to seeing how Chris Pratt and Tom Holland handle their elven selves in Onward? Might we see more of Peter Parker and Peter Quill together thanks to Pixar’s team-up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Tatiana Hullender

Tatiana is an editor for The Illuminerdi, as well as a co-host of several podcasts. She is passionate about superheroes and space operas, as well as Jane Austen and kdramas. Visit @myrcellasear on Twitter to follow Tatiana’s articles, interviews and podcasts including: The Flash Podcast, Pop A La Carte and Ladies With Gumption. Subscribe to them on the Podcast app!