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Brad Pitt on Life in Hollywood

Credit: People

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.

Credit: Micaiah Carter

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.”

Credit: Micaiah Carter

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.”

Credit: Micaiah Carter

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.

Film

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood With Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Quentin Tarantino

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

In this day and age, there are a handful of names in Hollywood that everyone knows. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen any of their films, you know them by name—Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino. They are Hollywood royalty.

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

This makes their film, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood¸ a sort of royal court, and the court doesn’t end there. The production team and cast is full of stars from Kurt Russell to Dakota Fanning, just as a film about the changing landscape of Hollywood should be.

But landing an interview with the leading men, and the man who spearheaded the project, was an unbelievable get for Michael Hainey at Esquire. The interview discusses the film, their careers, and what it is like to work on a Tarantino set.

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

“[This is] probably my most personal [film],” Quentin Tarantino says about the project. “I think of it like my memory piece. Alfonso [Cuarón] had Roma and Mexico City, 1970. I had L. A. and 1969. This is me. This is the year that formed me. I was six years old then. This is my world. And this is my love letter to L.A.”

It’s a well-documented fact that Tarantino’s process of filmmaking is rather different from many of his colleagues. According Leonardo DiCaprio, those differences are down to the feeling one gets when they arrive to set.

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski

“His sets are so magnetic. You don’t walk onto sets like this anymore, where everyone has respect for the process. There’s this celebration of a way of making movies that has slowly become an antiquity in this industry. Quentin puts a tremendous amount of thought into making these characters come to life, making the authenticity of the period come to life. There’s also this freedom—an energy—we feel on his set. It’s become a rarity to have a process the way he has it.”

As the cast and crew have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this project, the project has poured something back into many of them: a feeling of nostalgia. Tarantino and Pitt, especially, recall growing up in the age the film is based, and how the television and cinema shaped their lives. The film harkens back to a style of filmmaking that is very often neglected in the industry these days.

“The positive of the new landscape is you see more people getting opportunities,” Brad Pitt says. “But I see something else happening with the younger generations. I was dismayed at how many twenty-year-olds have never seen Godfather, Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men—these films that are in the Bible to me. And they may not even get to see them. I’ve always believed every good film finds its eyes, inevitably. But there’s a shift in attention span. I’ve been hearing from newer generations that they’re used to something shorter, quicker, big jump, and get out. And the streaming services work that way; you can move on to the next one if you’re enticed. What I always loved about going to a cinema was letting something slowly unfold, and to luxuriate in that story and watch and see where it goes. I’m curious to see if that whole form of movie watching is just out the window with the younger generations. I don’t think so completely.”

To read the full interview, visit Esquire.