At last night’s celebration of the 100th episode of PARKS AND RECREATION, Access Hollywood spoke with Chris Pratt about his digital costar in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Rocket Raccoon. Pratt, who plays GUARDIANS leader Star-Lord, echoed director James Gunn’s previous comments on how important Rocket is in the film.

You think it’s a cartoon character, but it’s not, it’s a very real creature. [Rocket Raccoon has been] tortured his whole life and no one else likes him, so he’s lonely and he’s angry and it’s like, [there are] all these elements [to the character]. You sort of forget about that, you wouldn’t think about, [and] hopefully will come to life. I think it will and that’s why they hired a really good actor to do the role. I could not be more excited that Bradley Cooper is voicing Rocket Raccoon, it’s a great character. It’s probably the best character in the movie, just because it’s not what you would expect.

The choice to make Rocket a multi-dimensional character instead of cartoonish comedic relief is smart. Sure, the character will be funny, but there has to be more to it in order to have the audience actually care about a talking raccoon. Pratt’s comments illustrate why it was so important to cast a great actor with broad range instead of a voice acting veteran from the world of animation.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will be released on August 1, 2014.