AFP – September 08, 2007


US star Brad Pitt on Saturday said it was “great fun” to win the Venice film festival award for best actor for his role in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

“I could try to play it down, but it’s great fun,” Pitt said in Toronto, where thousands of fans packed the streets looking for a glimpse of the actor following the film’s North American premiere.

“We all have our jobs (to do) and want to be really good at it, and to have this kind of acknowledgement is a real honor,” he said.

“The nicest thing is how excited my friends are for me and … to be amongst the lineage of people that have also been bestowed this honor. It’s a really nice honor.”

The two-and-a-half-hour saga examines the infamous American outlaw’s complex relationship with his admirer turned traitor, during the last year of his life.

Since his death on April 3, 1882, Missouri-born gunslinger Jesse James has become a figure of folklore.

Being from Missouri himself, Pitt said he drew from the “cadence and the temper of how people relate there,” as well as the local dialect, for the role.

“The nice thing for me … was doing something related to the area where I grew up,” he commented.

“Every time I see (Missouri) come up on screen, it quietly gives me a little bit of pleasure. It’s just nice for me to have something that has some kind of connection to the place that shaped me.”

Of course, “The Assassination of Jesse James” was filmed in western Canada, where Pitt also filmed “The Legends of the Fall” in 1994.

Pitt also said he was grateful for his partner Angelina Jolie’s criticisms of his acting, saying: “I rely on it. She’s the best sounding board I have and I value her opinion. It pisses me off sometimes, but she’s good.”

On fame, he said: “I know the deal. I understand the trade-off. There are great perks, we get to travel and see the world. And we manage it. The only time it gets unmanageable is when it’s a full frontal assault on the kids.”

“Unfortunately, there is no line concerning family these days and that concerns me. This day and age, that’s the only thing that really bothers me.”

While in Venice, a female fan lunged at Pitt. Commenting on the incident, Pitt said: “I hadn’t been jumped like that in some time.”

“I don’t want to change my life because of paranoia. It could be pointed out that we can be very vulnerable in these situations and there are a couple of people out there maybe not playing with a full deck, but I’m not changing a thing.”