Hotdog – April, 2001

Q & A WITH BRAD PITT – by Jordan Riefe

Not content with winning bare-knuckle fights and getting the girl, Brad turns criminal in The Mexican and Ocean’s Eleven. He also steals the Coen brothers’ forthcoming silent film.

Q: What drew you to the role of Jerry Wellbach in The Mexican?
A: Simply the idea of playing the anit-McQueen, just playing a guy not cool whatsoever.

Q: Were you comfortable with being totally uncool?
A: Well, that was kind of the goal, but the challenge was-how far can you go, where’s the line? And as this is a run-and-gun, low-budget, hand-held, one-light, shoot-a-coupla-takes-move-on kind of film, there was really no time to gauge exactly where that line was.

Q: Have you and Julia Roberts been trying to find a project to do together for a long time?
A: Yeah, absolutely. They’ve been several projects in the past that have been circling but just didn’t come to fruition. This thing kind of came out of nowhere and the idea of throwing us into this run-and-gun film appealed to me. It shoots for this Hepburn/Tracy kind of banter, that cracked me up.

Q: You’re at a point in your career where you can pick and choose…
A: There’s choices out there, definitely, but I watch a lot of movies and I’m well aware if something is a retread of some story I’ve seen before. I also
have this feeling that someone’s going to come along and originate the leading man again. At this point right now, you can, you can pretty much plug any of us into that position and basically get the same thing. So the idea of forging it through other areas is much more exciting.

Q: Was the comedy specifically a draw for you?
A: It wasn’t a calculated career move, if that’s what you mean.I’m not much for career maintenance,that’s why you look back and see it’s very hit-and-miss with me. But it was more about getting into other areas I hadn’t been before. In ‘Snatch’ it was the energy of Guy Ritchie’s storytelling that I liked; this fast-paced,dry humor. On this one it was just getting away from the cool guy for a little bit.

Q: How long did you have to work on your accent for ‘Snatch’?
A: It was such a last minute decision. Again, you don’t know exactly where the line is. I borrowed a move from Benicio Sel Toro in ‘The Usual Suspects’, he kind of made it OK to be incomrehensible, so that’s what worked. That was literally like two days before we started shooting and I was sweatin’ bullets, ‘cos I went after the role.

Q: Ritchie said you had the accent down pat.
A: Yeah, it sounded too technical. What they kept telling me about these guys, they’re very secretive. In fact, we met one clan, they all introduced themselves as ‘Billy Joel’, they just don’t wanna give up their information. So a lot of times they’ll speak in this kind of banter to not be heard. They just want you to hear what they wish. It’s like they have their own pidgin language. That was the idea behind it.

Q: What about Ocean’s Eleven,which part do you play from the original?
A: Rusty Ryan. I haven’t seen the original, but I think it’s the Dean Martin character. The idea behind this one is something that George Clooney and
Steven Soderbergh came up with. They started with the question: why don’t you see any of these films like they used to make with a plethora of actors-like ‘The Great Escape’? Where’s Ernest Borgnine and Chucky Bronson and all these guys playing in one film? And so that was the idea. It was actually unbelievably difficult given people’s scheduling and deals-and probably even egos in some sense. But they managed to get this collection of people who were all up for this idea and that’s what it is, it’s just guys doing the banter, bringing down the heist and it’s cool.

Q: And you’re doing the new Coen brothers movie?
A: Yeah, it’s called ‘To The White Sea’, and basically it’s a silent movie. It’s an area that they’ve never been in before, so it will be a good experiment. There is no dialogue though, so we’ll see what happens.

Q: Who’s in it?
A: Just me.

Q: A little bird told us you recently got married?
A: Yes, yes, that is true, that is, that is true.I keep talking about this, and what surprised me was this sense of pride; I look over, I see my wife. We are embarking on this thing together and it’s very, very exciting. Wherever it takes us, we’ll see, but it’s different, very different. Look at this, every relationship you’ve been in until the one you’re in right now, technically, is a failure ‘cos they’ve all split up. But mayby they weren’t because they ran their course, so I’m not so hung up on happily ever after, uh, go where you need to go. But in my case, I’m doing naked cartwheels. I’m very excited.