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'Super Mario Bros. Movie's Chris Pratt used to ride in a dryer to score quarters for the arcade

Mr. Pratt was using his innate talent for entertaining others long before he hit the big screen.

By Josh Weiss
Fancakes - Super Mario Pancake Art

Growing up in the quiet town of Lake Stevens, Washington, future Super Mario Bros. Movie star Chris Pratt pined to play the arcade game at his local laundromat. Like most young kids, however, he didn't have a penny (let alone a quarter) to his name.

"I was right in that sweet spot. It was late ‘80s when I was first introduced to the Super Mario Bros., or Mario Bros. arcade-style games," the actor said during a guest appearance on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday evening. "I’d come home from school and I’d walk across the street to this little coin-operated laundromat ... and there was an arcade game there. I never had a quarter, but I would just stare at the game, I’d hit the buttons. I was like, ‘Maybe one day I’ll be able to play this.’"

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But that's when he concocted a brilliant scheme involving the jukebox at a local pizza joint. "The coin return was on the backside. So, people would put their money in and they’d go, ‘Oh, this piece of crap ate my coins!’" Pratt remembered. "But I knew they were in the back and my little 9-year-old arm would reach back [and get the change]. That was my routine every day."

And if he couldn't score at the pizza place, mini-Pratt relied on his innate talent for entertaining others. "I’d talk to Jason. He seemed like an adult at the time, but he was the teenager who ran the desk at the laundromat and he would give me a quarter. In exchange, I’d have to get in the tumble dryer. He’d hit tumble dry, so it was kind of a win-win for me as a kid. It was pretty great."

Check out Seth Meyers' full interview with Chris Pratt below:

Hailed by critics as a loving stroll through Nintendo gaming history, The Super Mario Bros. Movie finds the titular siblings transported to the wondrous Mushroom Kingdom from their native Brooklyn. Caught in the middle of an epic struggle between good and evil, the brothers cross paths with a slew of Nintendo icons — from Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) to Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen).

"There are all these great Easter eggs and the soundtrack lifts from the soundtrack of the games. I just had this Pavlovian response to the coin and landing on a turtle and breaking a brick and getting the star," Pratt said. "Thirty years I’ve been preparing for this movie and as an audience [member], you realize just how hypnotizing that music has been. So, I don’t think people are quite ready for what’s coming to them, but it’s very promising for us. I think there’s gonna be a lot of these movies coming out because it is so good."

In addition to Pratt, the ensemble voice cast also features the talents of Charlie Day (Luigi), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek), Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike), and Charles Martinet (longtime voice of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi in the games).

Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto produced the film with Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri. Teen Titans GO! alumni, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, directed the project off a script by Matthew Fogel (Minions: The Rise of Gru). 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are on sale here!

New episodes of Late Night with Seth Meyers air at 12:35 a.m. ET on NBC. Missed Chris Pratt's appearance? Not to worry, the entire season is now streaming on Peacock.