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Manila Times – September 16, 2019

Life lessons from Brad Pitt

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

TOKYO: Even though he was dressed ruggedly from head to toe — his newspaper boy hat down to the worn out shoes — Brad Pitt couldn’t get any dreamier at age 55.

To be sure, his entrance was still grand even with such a regular look, driving home the fact that we were about to have a chat Hollywood’s undisputed golden boy.

Doing press for his new movie “Ad Astra,” which he co-produces with 20th Century Fox, what we loved about interviewing Brad is how his gorgeous looks equally match his wit. He is profound and sensible at the same time, not only when choosing his movie projects but in his overall outlook in life.

We were lucky because even if he was absolutely jet-lagged from flying all around the world, his mood was also a hundred percent playful and engaged.

From the one-on-one interview to the red carpet, he was just —well — golden indeed. In fact, he even called out our name during the premiere. “MJ!” You can imagine just how giddy we were!

Ad Astra is a sci-fi thriller set in the future, where Brad stars as an elite astronaut. He travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of the planet. His character Major Roy McBride has to deal with longing for a paternal presence in his life and finds him emotionally lost that he even ends up alienating his wife unintentionally.

In The Know with Hollywood’s forever golden boy, Brad Pitt.

“I only get to do one film a year and this one lined up at a time when this was on my mind — the subject matter of this film. [So this] film is such a commitment… [and] I believe in the story they’re trying to tell,” he opened up.

It was in 2016 when Brad agreed to both star in and produce Ad Astra. After that, things moved quickly. His production company Plan B went into a deal with New Regency and provided financing and distribution through Twentieth Century Fox. Filming then began in August 2017.

The world remembers, of course, that it was during this time when Brad was going through a highly publicized break up with wife Angelina Jolie, and was on the brink of losing his family. That’s why director James Gray was “very pleasantly surprised” when Brad agreed to play Roy McBride.

Speaking more about his role, Brad said, “We see Roy at this point in his life where this is no longer working for him, and he’s becoming aware of it. And that is set against finding out that his father may still be alive. And so for James and I, it was really a discussion of vulnerability.

“What is vulnerability? What is strength in a man? Where does strength really come from? And our conclusion — what we were striving for — is that our strength comes from actually being vulnerable.

“True confidence comes from us as individuals being able to acknowledge our foibles, our shortcomings, our insecurities; and instead of hiding or trying to cover that to actually be very open.

Starred and produced by the actor, ‘Ad Astra’ is a sci-fi thriller set in the future where Pitt portrays an elite astronaut.
“And I’ve certainly found that in life a great peace, and I will say strength, comes from that very thing, which is antithetical to certainly how my dad would’ve grown up.”

Having screened the film before meeting Brad, we see how just how space became a metaphor for how far one will go just to make things right. So when we asked Brad what his favorite metaphor in the film was, his answer came from somewhere deep.

“My favorite metaphor from the film is just the space, this endless darkness; the abyss, you know? It’s utter loneliness, it’s hospitable, it’s dark void that I think we all have to face in the end. It’s death. It’s pretty beautiful and the fact that he [McBride] has to travel to the outer limits of our solar system to find himself, it moves me, ‘cause metaphorically it feels like that in life — we have to travel to extremes in our psyches to really discover ourselves.”

Brad also shared how he loves using cinema as a medium to deliver a message he wants to showcase and put out there. He eveb laid down the current issues he has yet to tackle in film as one of the producers of B Side Entertainment Productions.

“The world is like a cauldron. You’re talking to an American and in America right now, it would be about, for me, inclusion, equality and not demonizing others to advance yourself.”

After Ad Astra, Brad is cooking something new, and as always something out of the franchise-centered formula that brings in the box office. Here’s a teaser: “I do have a comedy in mind but I’m not going to talk about it yet. Haha! I tend to take years to develop.”

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