Brad Pitt isn’t the attention-seeking Hollywood superstar many people assume leading men and women in the film industry are. That much is clear from his recent interview with New York Times writer, Kyle Buchanan. He didn’t dress in flashy clothing to their meeting at the Los Angeles Griffith Observatory. He wore a gray newsboy cap, a t-shirt, and was unshaven. Pitt is quiet, reserved even, and proves to us that even though he knows how to play a motormouth, that’s all he’s doing—playing, acting.
He attests this to his upbringing in Springfield, Missouri. Like many men who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s, Pitt was raised with a “be-capable, be-strong, don’t-show-weakness thing,” as he so eloquently puts it. That sort of upbringing molded him into that sort of man, and while he is thankful for some aspects of it, he is fully aware problems have arisen as a result.
“I’m grateful that there was such an emphasis on being capable and doing things on your own with humility, but what’s lacking about that is taking inventory of yourself,” Pitt says. “It’s almost a denial of this other part of you that is weak and goes through self-doubts, even though those are human things we all experience. Certainly, it’s my belief that you can’t really know yourself until you identify and accept those things.”
After years in the industry, Pitt doesn’t spend much time at fancy award shows and parties. He didn’t even attend the Oscars when a film he executive produced, Moonlight, was up for a number of nominations—instead, he was at James Gray’s house, a director and longtime friend of Pitt. He found out about the La La Land versus Moonlight Best Picture debacle second hand, so which he simply replied “Oh wow, that’s cool.”
“He wasn’t unappreciative, obviously,” Gray says, “but Brad won’t get caught up in pomp and circumstance. I think he knows to stay centered.”
The two have collaborated on a number of projects, but as the years have gone on, and Pitt has fallen out of the spotlight, so has the amount of jobs he’s willing to take on. Gray says that this is his “only quibble with Brad,” that he doesn’t star in enough movies despite the fact that he can “command the screen in a way very few other people can.”
Pitt, however, says he isn’t as interested in acting as he once was. He’ll take jobs that call to him, but for the most part, the actor finds himself more drawn to producing. Many may not realize, but Pitt has backed a vast number of critically acclaimed films over the past several years—the aforementioned Moonlight, as well as 12 Years a Slave, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Selma with his production company Plan B.
“Producing just means you don’t have to get up really early and put on makeup,” he jokes. “It’ll be fewer and farther in between for me, just because I have other things I want to do now. When you feel like you’ve finally got your arms around something, then it’s time to go get your arms around something else.”
Read more of the beautifully written piece on the New York Times website.