This is a preview of Chris Pratt's cover story from the May 2017 issue of Men's Fitness. Buy the new issue, now available on newsstands and available for download at the iTunes store.

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These are fraught times for the American experiment.

The long-standing social threads of this country are being frayed by extreme partisanship that seems ominous for its long-term consequences. This is a divided land, with common ground shrinking as the rancor grows. And though the list of things a majority of Americans can agree on gets shorter by the day, it can be stated with certain confidence that a plurality of citizens like: pie, puppies and kittens, and Chris Pratt.

Come to think of it, pie, with all that sugar and gluten, may lose in a battle with Pratt; and, unlike with pie, Americans can’t get their fill of the charismatic 37-year-old actor, who has been described as “the human golden retriever of your dreams” (BuzzFeed), Marvel Studio’s No. 1 Chris (according to Marvel’s two other star Chrises—Evans and Hemsworth), and top choice for favorite imaginary Hollywood friend, especially if he brings his actress wife, Anna Faris, with him (various fan sites).

"I do feel like I relate to everybody—to the struggles of people both out here and where I grew up. I feel like I could have a beer or a meal with just about anyone and find something to relate to."

Pratt didn’t plan to be a unifying force—it’s just the way it worked out. As the face of two franchises (Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World), he’s now one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood, bringing a much-needed touch of relatable humanity to CGI-dominated films. This month he reprises his role of Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (in theaters May 5), in which he’ll lead his band of merry mutants on another wisecracking quest to save the universe and create shareholder glee at Marvel Studios (the first Guardians grossed more than $770 million worldwide). Currently filming, Pratt will play Star-Lord in an upcoming Avengers sequel, adding to his résumé of franchise vehicles.

It’s not just the escapism of his movies that draws audiences to Pratt, it’s him: his enduring, unkillable likability. Pratt’s natural charm can survive any environment. Play a douchebag on TV’s Everwood—viewers want more. Channel Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation—first scripted as a parasitic slacker, his irresistible appeal persuades series writers to gradually turn the character into a lovable goofball.

Chris Pratt

This is a special preview of Chris Pratt's cover story in the May 2017 issue of Men's Fitness. Download the new issue available Friday, April 21, and buy it on newsstands Monday, April 24.