Stephen Arnell

The highs and lows of Brad Pitt

  • From Spectator Life
Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Image: Shutterstock)

This December Brad Pitt will hit the grand old age of 59. Hard to believe, considering that he has retained much of his youthful appeal, despite a well-documented penchant for cigarettes, weed and booze, habits apparently now finally kicked to the kerb.

As he approaches his seventh decade, Pitt has discussed his desire to transition from acting to a production-focused role, which has already long been a feature of his career.

Pitt’s impressive production credits include many pictures where he didn’t appear onscreen, including Running with Scissors (2006), The Departed (2006), Kick-Ass (2010), Selma (2014), Moonlight (2016) and The King (2019). He has also branched out into television, executive producing an array of prestige projects such as The OA (Netflix, 2016-19), The Third Day (Sky Atlantic, 2020) and The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime, 2021).

Pitt was 28 when he made it big, playing roguish drifter J.D. in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise (1991). Starring roles followed thick and fast, with commercial fare (Legends of the Fall, The Devil’s Own) astutely balanced by more left field choices (Babel, The Tree of Life).

Of his own films, Pitt has said box office flop The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) is his favourite.

Pitt played the titular gunslinger in a movie he stated was: ‘a statement on celebrity and wanting to make a name for yourself without any substance under that. It’s a beautiful film. It really is. That was near and dear to me, as well as the ten other people who’ve seen it.’

The worst? The actor was unequivocal in naming 2004’s Troy, where he played Homeric hero Achilles: ‘It’s no slight on Wolfgang Petersen. Das Boot is one of the all-time great films. But somewhere in it, Troy became a commercial kind of thing. Every shot was like, ‘Here’s the hero!’ There was no mystery.

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