Fotogramas – December, 2006


Brad Pitt is a new man: after divorcing Jennifer Aniston, his relationship with Angelina Jolie has given him a daughter, Shiloh Nouvel, born this year in Namibia, and the two children of the actress, Maddox and Zahara, that Pitt has turned into his children. They are my own blood as my natural child, states the actor from Shawnee (Oklahoma). His relationship with Jolie, that started during the shoot of Mr. And Mrs. Smith (Doug Liman, 2005) has also born other fruits: for instance, the film A Mighty Heart, directed by Michael Winterbottom, that is produced by Pitt and where Jolie stars, or the Jolie-Pitt Foundation that donates millions of dollars to fight against poverty. We knew that a lot of money was going to be spent on Shiloh’s first photos(People magazine paid them four million dollars – 3,2 million euros that they donated to charitable work in Africa), and that someone was going to make a big profit, says the actor, this weighted heavy on our consciences. That is why we destined this money to people who really needed it.

But besides being
a philanthropist, taking care of his children (waiting for Shiloh to burp after eating is the biggest satisfaction right now in my life, he says) and loving his spectacular partner, Brad Pitt also has time to take care of his career in front of the cameras: this month opens Babel, directed by Alejandro Gonz·lez IÒ·rritu, where he downplays once again his glamour (which he gets back on Ocean’s Thirteen, shooting right now) to get immersed in a tortured character that could get him near (a second time in his career after 12 Monkeys) to the Oscar.

FOTOGRAMAS: In Babel you distance yourself from your glamorous image like you’ve done before.

BRAD PITT: Hollywood has always tried to type cast me and I have had to make an effort to get other things, like 12 Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995), Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999) and Snatch (Guy Ritchie, 2000). At the beginning they thought I would be good for TV sitcoms, but that is not what’s natural for me. After Legends of the Fall (Edward Zwick, 1994) I was seen as a leading man and I said to myself: OK, I can do it, but first I want to try other things and then we’ll see. Now I try to mix the kinds of films I do like Ocean’s Thirteen (third installment of Ocean’s Eleven) and Babel.

F.: In Gonz·lez IÒ·rritu’s film you experience an extreme situation.

B.P. The film shows how spoiled we are to the comforts, how we have everything at our fingertips. But, when you travel to a different country, one immediately thinks that something will be missing. It’s a fantastic subject.

F.: Is it a relief not carrying the weight of the film on your shoulders, being one more actor in such a choral ensemble.

B.P.: Being part of a group is always more fun. I had spoken with Alejandro a year and a half earlier, I understood the piece of the puzzle that I got to play and I wanted to be part of the message the movie is attempting to convey. The film turned out being exactly what Alejandro told me it was going to be.

F.: What was it like shooting with improvised non-actors in Morocco?

B.P.: We picked out many from the towns we were shooting at and they caught the trick for acting very quickly. My jaw dropped when I saw them acting without any preparation and then, watching the movie, I had trouble telling the professional actors from the improvised ones. It was funny.

F.: For someone used to be the center of attention it must have been nice shooting in a town where almost no one knew you.

B.P.: I liked it, we didn’t have fancy dressing rooms, there was no electricity, I could calmly walk on the street without being recognized… In this aspect, the atmosphere gave us a certain freedom and I could concentrate on the work without distractions.


F: Do you consider yourself a superstar?

B.P.: Only when the paparazzi camp in front of my house or when people go through my garbage.

F.: You earn 20 million of dollars (16 million of euros) for a movie. To which extent is money important to you?

B.P.: What is important are the scripts and the people I work with. I am interested in growing as an actor and what I am concerned about are the parts, not my image. I like playing charismatic roles. It’s no longer a matter of money.

F.: With what kind of directors would you like to work?

B.P.: With the ones that let you do your job and laugh at people’s egos.

F.: When you shoot a film, do you sense whether the audience will be interested?

B.P.: You never really know because there are many factors in play. Even if you have a good script the film can end up being a piece of shit. So I choose projects that interest me and work with people I respect.


F.: Do you choose you film differently than when you were young and starting?

B.P.: Being an actor is a hard job, so if you are going to dedicate a lot of time shooting, the film should mean something to you. What I care about is making good movies and becoming a father has changed the way I choose the films I will do, I have matured in that sense. Nowadays what comes to my mind when they offer me parts is: What will my children think of this movie? I believe that when they are old enough to see and understand Babel they will be very proud.

F.: What is the place of your children in your life?

B.P.: I can’t think of anything with more priority that raising my children; I can’t imagine my life without them. Having them has changed my perspective of the world: I have been fortunate in my life and the time to share a bit of that luck has come. Besides, being a parent makes you stop thinking only about yourself, something I was getting tired of. Now I always want to be with them, not miss anything. It’s a feeling of sheer joy, a very deep love. You can write a book, paint a picture or make a movie, but having children is the most extraordinary thing I have ever done.

F.: And adopting is a big act of love…
B.P.: There are ten million children that have lost their parents because of AIDS and that number will double in 2010. I look at Zahara (daughter of a seropositive) and I think how her life might have been… When you go to those countries and see those children, you would like to shelter as many as you can; they need our help and we should be able to do more for them.


F.: As a matter of fact, you and your wife are already doing that through the Jolie-Pitt foundation that acts against poverty in Africa and other parts of the globe.

B.P.: Of course. I have seen the damage that poverty causes and how easy it is to get a remedy, remedies that cost cents to the rich countries. Industrialized nations get of Africa more than triple what we give in aid. For instance: we buy coffee grains, but we do not allow them to process them, which is the part of the chain where the money really is. So that what we do is dig a deeper hole they can’t come out of and, once in a while, we throw them some coins.

F: Where does your fight against poverty come from?

B.P.: From the desire to understand, something we lack a lot, I want to educate myself as much as I can to understand the situation and comprehend the solutions.

F.: Was that what attracted you to the story of Daniel Pearl, the journalist that was decapitated in 2002 in Afghanistan? The film A Mighty Heart shot in India, produced by you and starred by Angelina Jolie, is based upon his story. Is there a connection between it and your own personal interests?

B.P.: Yes, I would like for the film to increase the understanding between people of all religions and that it shows the story and the people that lived it as honestly as possible, without rage or prejudice. The film is focused on the close collaboration of many people around the world to find Daniel.

F.: It seems like you are always traveling, professionally (Troy, Ocean’s Twelve, Babel) and personally, accompanying Angelina Jolie in her shoots or in her solidaristic initiatives in favor of the most needy.

B.P.: I have become a citizen of the world. I love the feeling of adventure that I get from shooting in far away places like Morocco. It’s one of the good things that actor can experience: immerse ourselves in the places we shoot at/ I’m in this business because of it.


F.: The shoot of this movie in India was complicated by the paparazzi chasing you. How do you free yourself from the aggressivity that this tension generates?

B.P.: Singing. I turn the volume up and I sing. I also love traffic, it’s good to release frustrations: you can yell at someone or play nice and let someone else mess with you. It makes you feel like you are in control of the situation and that is rare nowadays.

F.: What do you do when you are at home?

B.P.: I spend time with the kids, write bad songs and play my guitar. I love music but I do it poorly. We watch DVD’s, ride a bike and play with the dogs. We make barbecues, travel… we have a good life.

F.: Besides acting, what are your biggest passions?

B.P.: Architecture. As a matter of fact I enrolled in college to become an architect but I dropped it because it was too hard. People never had fun! They worked day and night; I imagined college as something else.

F.: What is it about architecture that you like so much?

B.P.: It moves me like music. It has rhythms, harmonies… it’s like a symphony. I love the part of discovery that it has: a guy in a room finds a line, an angle and he follows it to see where it leads him.

F.: Which architects do you admire?

B.P.: Daniel Libeskind and Frank Gehry.

F.: You have brought your passion for architecture and your social concerns together by leading a project to build ecological houses in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina…

B.P.: Our first responsibility is to help the most vulnerable and we have failed miserably at that. We are a naÔve country and the fact that we haven’t been able to go to New Orleans and clean up that mess is ridiculous and embarrassing. That’s why I am promoting the construction of ecological houses that use solar energy and save a lot of energy.

F.: Politicians should take note…

B.P.: The United States consumes 25 pro cent of the world’s oil and generates only 3 per cent. Our buildings consume 40 per cent of our energy and are responsible of 45 per cent of environmental pollution because of the materials that are used to build them and how they are organized. We are still the most powerful nation in the world and through politics we could inspire other nations and become the leader of this kind of ecological initiatives.


F.: Define love.

B.P.: The idea you have of love changes as you grow up. You thought you were in love when you had a girlfriend in high school, but it is now when I understand what is important, what is important for the team, what is important for your partner as you get to know her. I am better than ever. And love needs to remain creative. But I disagree with the idea that in a relationship two become one. I believe that what happens is that each one becomes stronger and more independent.

F.: There have been many rumors about a possible wedding of you and Angelina Jolie. Are they true?

B.P.: Angie and I will consider marriage when the law in the United States allows everyone to do so, regardless of their sexual preference.

F.: What’s your worst habit?

B.P.: Smoking.

F.: Your favorite food?

B.P.: I like steak.

F.: Piece of clothing?

B.P.: Jeans.

F.: A sportsman?

B.P.: The pilot Valentino Rossi. He is a magician: what he does on a motorcycle is pure ballet. He is like the Lance Armstrong of motorcycles. It’s poetry for your eyes.

F.: And the most important thing: what does the two times sexiest man alive according to People Magazine wear to sleep?

B.P.: Naked.