TROY: THE ACTOR – by
28th march 2004. Los Angeles, Culver Studios.
Second day of shooting.
With sneakers and surfer’s mimetic pants, Brad Pitt at 40 is still the ‘sexiest man alive’. He moves jumping, he has something of a boxer, his upper body super fit, literally a sculpture, head shaved, face’s lineaments surprisingly hard. That’s because his greek profile he’s offering to the camera is false, due to a fake nose. Thanks to his obsessive willingness to be considered not only a pretty face. Klein’s idea is to introduce a disturbing element, totally unexpected, to arise in the onlookers the doubt to have never really seen one of the most captured faces of the world. It would be the same, in our celebrities obsessed society, to put moustaches on the Monna Lisa. The portfolio’s mood? A suggestive remix of a few of his films: the allucinating gestures of ‘Twelve monkeys’ the tribal warrior of ‘Legend of the Fall’ the dark lights of ‘Seven’ the provocative audacity of ‘Fight Club’. Posing behind of a sort of peep show glass, the actor cites ‘Paris, Texas’. All along! the shooting, his concentration is incredible, he has total control of every little move, every muscle and nerve. He’s perfectly aware of everything around him, always perfectly on alert. All the troupe agrees: ‘extremely cool’, ‘very professional’, never a primadonna gesture, never a sign of tiredness, never upset. He eats standing, with the lights technicians. He arrives sharp, driving his own car, (the new Toyota electric, all rage in Hollywood). He answers to my questions between poses, one moment his head turning to the camera, with a mad expression on his face, the next moment turning toward me, laughung for the faces he’s able to perform. "Usually I hate being a model. But in this case it’s funny, it’s like to recite the role of an artist out of mind." Impossible not to have empathy with him. Every smile, a christmas day. Every gesture, an invitation to inter-react. He’s so gentle, he never breaks the eyes contact. And the habit, all american, to call me by name. Supercharming.
And very sharp. Question:"How did you get ready for the role of Achilles?"Reply: "With a personal trainer". His character, that so many journalist know, has been called ‘brief’, ‘mono-syllabic’, ‘non-answer specialist’, they even called him ‘not particularly smart’. Case dismissed from anyone who ever worked with him, from David Fincher to Steven Soderbergh, from Julia Roberts to Edward Norton. And he himself, who replied on Rolling Stones in 1999, to whom said he was a dumb blond "The reason for such a fuss? Genetics. And, worst, I don’t speak east coast, in which every single word is packaging…Aidan Quinn once told me that I was bringing me down on my own. This is a typical country thinking, (born in Oklahoma, Pitt was raised in Missouri), not wanting others feeling unconfortable with you. I like to show my limits. People beauty is in that, their own limits." His elusiviness (and you can stick it with the tiredness of being asked always the same things, because he was this way from the beginning, in his first interview for Vanity Fair) is a self-protective< strategy. One case for all: being a fan obsession since 1991 (Thelma & Louise) the actor made only one real scoop for the 'paparnazis' (his definition), those nude pics of him and Gwyneth Paltrow in St. Bart, published on 'Playgirl' in the '97msummer. Not even the two and half years of pressure from the media all around the world, has made him or anyone from his staff, to say something different from ampolite 'no comment' about the split from Paltrow. And even when he says he "seriously wants to become a professional drunk" nobody can tell he has 'Hollywood Rat Pack' vices. Obviously, Pitt can force anyone who has every sort of business with him, to mantain his privacy intact. Example, Danile Galvin, the London based coiffeur, an institution since Twiggy, who talks absolutely freely about Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson or Ewan McGregor. He's a tombstone about rumors circulating on internet about the star, who apparently run to him to fix his hair devasteted by colouring and Malta sun. (For the ones obsessed with his hair color:it seems true, coz eye-witness saw him enetering the Mayfair salon). During five hours shooting, not even Jean Black, his personal make-up artist for 14 years now (except for 'Interview with the Vampire') will say nothing about him. But she surely agrees with Christian Tinsley, the tatoo artist for Pitt/Rusty Ryan in 'Ocean's Eleven', about working with him. "Very stimulating, because he's very creative with his image, but also very careful, aware of every possible mistake". Logical, Brad Pitt myth is based on his look. A look that, even if the camera bring it to a higher level, it's perfect in the live version too. From his hands, to the ultra sexy scar on his left cheek, from his shoulders to his abs, from his height to his moves, what the media have called 'walking sexy'. It's a magnetism well established since his first time on screen. Year 1991: William Bradley Pitt, saggitarius, 28 years, stars in 'Thelma & Louise' the director is Ridley Scott. Cow-boy hat. white t-shirt, jeans, Ray-Ban and boots, he's D.J., light allusion to James Dean, a bastard, bank thief, all smile, abs, blonde hair, and a bum already noticeble. Genna Davis sees him, recites "look how does he walk" and after a remarcable sex scene, (more to see in the DVD version of the last year) give him the maximum "Now I know what really sex is all about. It's been a revelation". Even David Fincher, the director of the two movies Pitt loves the most, 'Seven' and 'Fight Club', agrees 'In Thelma & Louise' Brad is a sort of hormonal bomb". From this point of view he doesn't have male rivals:like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, between him and the audience is all about chemistry. His sexy presence is all that matters in movies too longand a little boring, from 3 hours of peanut butter and the eyes of Claire Forlani in 'Joe Black', to 'The Mexican'. The same sex-appeal, first time with long, blonde hair, that made him an icon, even in a low rate movie like 'Legends of the Fall'. Sure, Pitt can't counts on his infallibility in choosing a role, like Tom Cruise who hasn't made a bad move since 'Risky Business', but for sure he has never glued to a clichè, never starred in sugarly romantic comedies, alternating cameos and star roles, low budget projects and blockbusters, from his 17.5 millions for 'Troy' to his no fee role in 'Confession of a dangerous mind'. As Soderbergh, who directed him in 'Ocean's eleven' and'Full Frontal' says, Pitt's choices are uninfluenced by people thinking about his look or about the role he's gonna play " I don't think there's another actor at his level, who takes the risks he's taking. He has no fears". And Pitt himself says, after the flop of 'The Devil's Own', 'Seven years in Tibet', and 'Joe Black' to whom asks him if that would influence his next choice "Absolutely not. If you let fear controls you, you're f...."A complete actor, really credible in his role as a serial killer in 'Kalifornia', his malinconic hero in 'Interview with the vampire', and 'Sleepers', Pitt gives the best in his weirdest roles. It's not for a chance his one and only Oscar nomination was for 'Twelve Monkeys' a sci-fi directed by Terry Gillian in 1995, costarring Bruce Willis. But it was Tyler Durden Edward Norton's nightmare in 'Fight Club', that shown his extraordinary comic talent. Norton: "Tyler is basically the outsourcing of Pitt's natural impulses". Fincher: "The role is like Brad himself, much more than people think; same childish sense of anarchy, same total comprehension of what a man is in our society, the losing of our identity".
Smart, provocative, ultrastylish, ‘Fight Club’ became immediately a cult-movie. One broken tooth, bloody, a shaved head, superhero muscles, a kung-fu lover, camp clothes, Pitt is terrific. Ultra sexy even in a patched bathrobe, slippers, and a shaggy fur at the end.
If the pairing with the ’25th Hour’ actor sparkles on the sceen, and it became a real life friendship (Norton with then girlfriend Salma Hayek and Cameron Diaz was the only one guy from Hollywood at Pitt/Aniston wedding) their two acting method couldn’t be more different. "Edward developed a very deep understanding of the movie structure. His role is defined in every single little detail. I, on the other end, love very much the little imperfections, little style fails". Remarkable his role in ‘Snatch’ as Mikey One Punch Pikey, the irish gypsy who k.o. his adversaries with one straight. His torso entirely tatooed, with ironic little mices, a singlet, ram coat, and a hat, Pitt is exhilarating in his fancy dialect, a way to hide the fact he wasn’t able to lose his Missouri talk for the english accent required by Guy Ritchie. No doubt the testosteronic high voltage, and the full credibility of the hand-to-hand fights have ensured his role as Achilles in ‘Troy’. And maybe Wolfgang Petersen was influenced in his choice, as a prophecy, by the final invitation of Kevin Spacey ‘Seven’: "Becoma rage". "Achilles is the embodiment of rage, of unsatisfaction, of the incapacity to stop, to really care for something" says Pitt. "He has a blind fury, total fury, but he alternates this with sudden moments of kindness, of gentleness. He’s a lonely man, different from anyone, a world of his own". To be the same as the hero, during the shooting Pitt lived in a monastic way, he so much addicted to smoking, put an end to it. "In this movie there are the most extraordinary fight scenes ever seen on the big screen. The choreography is like a ballet. And all the stuntmen have done a really great job. But there is also a more inner part. I think that’s the reason why this movie is so interesting, this change of perspectives, between scenes with 50 thousands people, and the sudden attention to a more personal microcosm. Best of all, this is not a story of revenge, at least not the concept of revenge expressed in movies such as ‘The Gladiator’, and luckily, because the american film industry had shown too much of it already. This movie is much more realistic. One of the most well accepted choices of Petersen, was to erase from the story any presence of gods".
Does he feel comfortable with his new body, due to trainer Duffy Gaver? "Of course yes, due to the very hard work I did to achieve it. Better, I never felt my body with the same intensity, the same awarness I feel today. I feel my body now, like an architectonic element, as an actor I have to perceive it as tridimensional". (The interest of Pitt in architecure -especially Bauhaus-is well known. He’s personally involved in the buiding/restoring of his houses, and he’s developing a few projects on his own). tridimensional or not, Pitt statuary body will sparkle, enjoying his fans deprived of nude scenes from ‘Legends of the Fall’, in ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ by director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) costarring Angelina Jolie. The actor
description of the movie is a synthesis masterpiece: "A metaphor about marriage. How to kill each other". Questioned if this applies to his marriage, he just smiles. In this movie the two are killers whose realtionship is just for undercover, butt! he real issue is, according to Jolie "the truly unknowledge of the partner". For the role as Pitt’s wife, the very first name was Nicole Kidman, and it seems that Jennifer Aniston would be very jealous of her, due to the gossip about kidman role as third element in the spilt of then costar Jude Law marriage. "That’s absurd, she’s not like that, she’s cool, she couldn’t care less" says Pitt.
After Liman’s movie, Pitt will be on the set of ‘Ocean Twelve’, ‘Ocean’s eleven’ sequel, by director Steven Soderbergh. "I’ve accepted the role for the joy to be again with those guys, between Amsterdam and Paris. I like to be in a boys gang".
When I ask him who he likes most, George Clooney, matt Demon, or others, he steps back. "I don’t hang around with movie’s peoplemy real friends are all from others contest" And after acting, maybe a directing career? "Never. There is a lot of fantastic professionists…" Among those whom he would like to work with, there are names out of the establishment, as Spike Jonze, Darren Aronofsky (‘Pi’, ‘Requiem for a dream’) and Andrew Dominik (Chopper). Interesetd in Dominik first movie, Pitt really appreciated Eric Bana, leading role in ‘Chopper’, and he was him to name Bana to director Petersen for Hector. Any role he’ll like for the future? "Usually I choose the next role based on the previous one. In this moment I’d like the role of a happy man, kind and tender, who takes care of his beloved ones". And in his spare time, what does Brad Pitt? "I like music very much, and I play, very badly, guitar. And I like to take pictures too, very much, mostly in black and white. But don’t expect too much in this either, I can mess it up very often. really right now I’d like very much to travel. Egypt maybe. Or Angkor Vat".