WHAT IT FEELS LIKE – by Evan Fisk
… To Be the Brother of a Movie Star
Doug Pitt, 40
All that America knows about Brad Pitt is what’s on the big screen or in the tabloids. But Springfieldian Doug Pitt grew up with him and has a completely different perspective on fame.
Growing Up With Brad Pitt
He’s 43. He’ll be 44 in December. And our younger sister is two years younger than I am. We were really close [growing up]. We’ve got a close family, and that has absolutely nothing to do with what or who he is. We were his brother and sister then like we are now. Naturally there was something in Brad that made him jump in the car and drive to L.A. that I didn’t possess. But at the same time, I wouldn’t say we’re a whole lot different.
I’m 40 years old, and I’ve spent most of it here in Springfield. I spent six months living in L.A. when I was 20-21. I went out there to stay with Brad for a month and ended up staying for six because it was so much fun. Then I came back to finish school, so it was nothing more than an extended vacation. He had done a lot of TV at that time, and he had gone to Yugoslavia to do his first film, Dark Side of the Sun. I spent a lot of that time by myself, and I had a blast.
Going to Premieres and Tapings
Our first premiere was probably A River Runs Through It. We got to meet Robert Redford and do that whole hoopla in New York. It was quite a deal. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t enjoy that part. I’ve been to tons of [movie sets]. The last one I was on was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It’s fun. It never gets old. It’s not a glamour deal at all. In fact, it’s pretty arduous. They’ll do the same scene 20 times, and to me they all look the same. But the novelty of the production side—seeing how the machines work—is so far removed from what I do day-to-day. That part’s fun. And again, I get to watch my brother work.
Brad’s First Film That the Family Saw Together
Thelma and Louise. He did a little one called Cutting Class, but really the first big one was Thelma and Louise. And even in the first decade, yes, we all met to see it, and it was a big deal with friends and all that. Now I try to get there on opening night, but sometimes I don’t get that done.
Unwanted Media Attention
I can’t say I’m bored with it, but I’m in the neighborhood. [Laughs.] We’ve been doing this for 20 years. The novelty has well worn off, you know? We covered that in the first decade. Now I guess we’re in maintenance mode. You deal with it as you have to.
Naturally, we were getting to do a lot of things for the first time: Go to premieres, meet people, do some things. That part was exciting. That was fun. Now we’ve been there and done that. But on the flip side, people are coming to my doorstep, and I have to change phone numbers and deal with people coming to the office. The intrusion. That was not fun, but we had to experience that for the first time as well and kind of work with those issues and learn how to respond. What is the casual fan, and when does someone cross the line? And how are we prepared to respond to that? Again, there were a lot of unknowns in that first decade. Now I think we’ve got it down pretty well. Like I said, I just consider it maintenance mode. We kind of try to mind our own business.
My skin is a lot tougher than it used to be. Part of that is by choice and part of that is just by necessity. I couldn’t tell you what one gossip magazine says, you know. It’s so far from the truth that it’s not even worth discussion. To say they’re lies, I’m not even sure if that’s descriptive enough. They’re completely fabricated. It used to be they’d take a little fraction of the truth and build lies around it. Now they don’t even bother with that 10 percent anymore.
But I like looking at the pictures because I can keep track of what the family’s doing. I don’t get bent out of shape about stories anymore. What I’m probably most protective of is just our visible space. When they come to Springfield, some of them are still brazen enough to try to come to the front door at the office. That’s not a warm reception for them. [My employees] are actually really good at [dealing with reporters]. They do a great job. When I have to get involved, we usually don’t see those people again.
When Brad’s in the news, my phone is ringing. Unfortunately he’s in the news a lot. I was raised to be polite. I even tried to treat the media that way. But in the last few years, I had to kind of take control. Sometimes that means being outright rude, being curt in how I handle some of these people. I wouldn’t say that’s in my personality, but unfortunately, that’s the way I have to handle it now. I can’t say I’m real apologetic about it either. We’ll leave it at that.
When there’s a statement to be made on something that really has my brother’s interest at heart, or there’s something he’s made a comment on, I’ll make a single comment to People Magazine. But outside of our local paper or local magazine, I just have nothing to say. That’s kind of my line to them: If Brad has something to say, he’ll say it.
Working with Brad on Humanitarian Projects:
Probably one of my biggest deals the past few years has been a number of different humanitarian projects. I’ve had Africa in my scope for the last two years, and right now that’s where my concentrated efforts are, although we are looking at a deal in Cambodia. And also I really want to do something in the States.
Even today, [Brad and I] are talking about some projects, but so far I’ve done my own deal, and he’s done his. I wish I had news for you about this thing coming out, because we’re working on something. It’s a monster. But I just can’t talk about it right now. But it’s… big. It’s really big.
I will tell you that even now [Brad and I] are involved in a fundraiser in Pennsylvania, and we’ll be doing one here in Springfield. Between the two, we expect to raise in the neighborhood of $400,000 for Africa relief.