Cinerama – 2004

BRAD PITT – by Lola Petit

After two years Brad Pitt returns to the big screen as Achilles, the Greek demigod that is the lead character of the Iliad. Considered as one of the most attractive actors of current cinema, Pitt abuses his physique in a story where power, betrayal and fights are everyday events. At the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles we had the chance to talk to this man who is about to turn 40 and, and as you can find out in Troy, his age seems to be a mirage of reality.

This is your first movie in two years…

I have been working on a couple of things that didn’t work out or were not done at end. It has been a fabulous time to enjoy and take my come back to the screen very calmly. When Troy crossed my path it seemed like the right project for a come back and, without a doubt, it has been worthwhile.

Why a come back with Troy?

I was very interested in the story, projects like this are hard to come by, they don’t come your way regularly. You have to consider that this is a story that has fascinated people for hundreds of years.

Did you know Achilles’ story?

Not to it’s full extent.

Did you research your character before you started shooting?

Of course, there are tons of information about Achilles. In the research process I found many appreciations of him I did not agree with. To me it is important to play the characters the way that I understand them, that’s why I had to study thoroughly everything I found about Achilles.

Did you know something about Greek mythology?

I admit I was not an excellent student but I learned a lot shooting the movie. I discovered the character while on the set and now I love reading all kinds of mythological stories. It’s more fun to prepare for a character I find interesting like Achilles because there are many books to read about his life.

Was Achilles an anti-hero?

Without a doubt he is not the traditional hero. One of the aspects of the character is how he is forced to experience and how he reacts to those experiences. Maybe his reactions are violent and they cross the line to what is unforgivable, but at the same time they shape his personality. Another aspect of Achilles that interested me was that hate, violence and love are combined with chivalry.

Would you say that you have many things in common with Achilles?

I suppose that there are aspects of Achilles I like, like his fear of mortality. I think that these guys were the rock stars of their time.

Do you believe that The Iliad is a universal story?

Yes. The whole world is attracted to this story because they can identify with it. There is something universal in the things that unite and tear us apart, very basic things. This fascination is amazing because you realize that the conflicts of then are the same ones we experience now.

I suppose that the spectacular action scenes must have been very complicated to play.

They were amazing, because you need to be in very good shape, the blow has to be real and it is important to play it well for the angle of the camera. It has been a fascinating experience, although in some moments it was too tedious because of the precision with which we had to shoot.

Do you feel pressured for this movie to be a box office success?

No, that is not my job, although to be honest, I have to confess that it is more fun and exciting when your movie succeeds at the box office.

Have you noticed that it is the first time you wear a skirt on screen?

And I don’t believe it will be the last one … actors enjoy costumes and dressing up a lot, because it is the best way of getting in the skin of a character, to dress like he used to. In this case it worked out great.

The cast is very international with people from Australia, England, Germany and The United States. What is the experience like of working with actors from all over the world?

To work with people of different nationalities is an enriching experience. In this project we had people from across the globe and it has been very interesting to talk with them about their different cultures and to incorporate their ideas into the movie. I like the micro cosmos of working in a world where the culture is part of the scenery; it’s different and very interesting.

And to work with Peter O’Toole?

It was a true pleasure to have him on set. He is a wonderful man with a fascinating energy. He was one of the gifts of this film. I had the pleasure to listen to him when he told me how important Katherine Hepburn had been in his life since they worked together in The Lion in Winter and how much it meant to him. The next day after telling me the story she died, and it was something very emotional.

Has Troy been the most complicated movie to shoot of your career?

Not the most difficult, but without a doubt it was a lot of work and very hard. Some of my coaches told me that it was necessary to get to a level of discomfort to feel that you have achieved something good. I reached without a doubt that point where you get used to it and you stop feeling discomfort.

Is it true that you had problems with your Achilles tendon during the shoot?

I had to get in shape to bring this character to life and yes, it’s true I ended up having problems with my foot, but it was nothing serious.

How did you keep yourselves entertained after the shoot?

We had a nightclub, there was a lot of Karaoke and it was a lot of fun.

Are you a sociable person when you are preparing for a character?

Not quite, I am not very likeable when I am preparing for a character.

And what does Jennifer say when she sees you like that?

She is wonderful; she understands it very well.

Why have you and your wife, Jennifer Aniston, decided to create a production company?

Because there have been many projects emerging around us and we were interested in setting them in motion. It is very exciting to produce a film because you have the opportunity to work with creative people who are very talented.

Are you superstitious? Is that why you named your company Plan B?

On the contrary, when I see a ladder I walk under it and I lay my hat on the bed. Plan B is an alternative facet to my essential work, interpretation.

Now that Jennifer has finished her work in the series Friends she will be more available to travel with you to your shoots.

Yes, many doors will possibly open. We haven’t talked about it but I am sure she will travel more with me. I love having her around.

What do you prefer, big commercial movies or low-budget movies?

I believe that most actors are in this [business] without worrying about the movie’s budget but we do worry about the project, the story we are going to tell. Directors know that they can call me to play in a low-budget movie.

Have you ever regretted not finishing your college studies?

No, not really. I started studying journalism but back then I was more concerned with drinking and parties, so I don’t miss that life at all. I am very happy with what I have right now.