Brad Pitt bounds into a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, doles out a quick handshake that turns into a hug, and sprints to one of the three windows in the room. He pulls open the curtains and looks at the sleet and rain hammering Manhattan 29 floors below him. Like any commuter, Pitt is concerned about annoying travel delays and getting to work on time.
“I gotta get out of here. I go straight to set,” he says, referring to the London re-shoots of the zombie flick World War Z. “I just buzzed in and am buzzing out. I hit the plane this afternoon.”
Yes, this is what the most famous actor in the world is really like. Shockingly, weirdly, almost off-puttingly accessible. Once you get past the thick layers of security – necessary, as evidenced by a hotel employee who had earlier flipped out in ecstasy after seeing Pitt in person – and peel back all your expectations, fed by years of panting tabloid coverage of everything Pitt, you meet a guy who’s friendly, a bit tired, and exceedingly pleasant.
“He’s the most normal guy. I spent a lot of time with him on those Ocean’s movies – he doesn’t do anything to drum up that insanity. He lives in the middle of that and he’s somehow found a way to not go crazy. He’s not crazy,” confirms his friend Matt Damon, who had just seen Pitt. “I don’t know if that’s his family or his upbringing and now it’s become his children and his wife. It’s incredible – seeing him yesterday, he’s the same great guy from Missouri. I don’t understand how he keeps doing great work. It would seem to me that you would lose your ability to be a human being. I genuinely don’t know how he’s still such a great guy, such a real guy.”