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In Fashion – Spring, 1992

BRAD PITT – by Lori Berger

Fueled by three hot new films, this Hollywood loner cuts loose on the ultimate road trip.

Kicked back on a couch in a semi-seedy Hollywood hotel room with his red coon hound, Deacon, curled at his side, 28-year-old Brad Pitt sips a tall glass of milk, defying the ‘bad boy’ label he acquired last year playing a rough-and-tumble cowboy in Thelma & Louise. The upcoming releases of his next films, Johnny Suede, Cool World, with Kim Basinger and Gabriel Byrne, and Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It, should dispel anyone’s romantic notion of him and prove this good ol’ Missouri boy is more than Hollywood’s latest fad.

Have you always been attracted to unexpected roles?

Well, that’s one way of putting it. Or another way is a complete avoidance of boredom–which is more of how I look at it.

When you were growing up, was acting something you always wanted to do?

No, but later I started watching films more closely and I started looking around for a purpose. That’s it.

What’s your purpose?

You want me to tell you what life’s purpose it? To find your own purpose. That’s it.

What did you think when you first saw yourself on television in Dallas?

I remember thinking, ‘that’s it?’ Acting is mainly a search for some kind of happiness and understanding. My buddy’s dad says happiness is not a place but a way of travel. I heard that and I like that a lot.

Is your quest ultimately for happiness?

I think happiness is everyone’s priority in life whether they’re conscious of it or not. There’s just people out there who get hung up on it. I’ve found that the bad times are more important because they kick your butt. I guess it’s more about understanding than happiness. And what’s really sad is that it seems to me that a lot of what a person thinks of himself, unfortunately, comes from what other people think. I think that’s why so many actors get
whacked out.

Did you know you would break through with Thelma & Louise?

I had a feeling that I’d probably get my first real recognition in a strong role like that as a cowboy. But I really haven’t seen that much recognition to tell you the truth. You see, there’re so many dangers if you listen to all that. It’s like a lot of those big stars who start believing they’re worth their paycheck, you know. It’s that fear I have, that danger–you’ve got to avoid it. I don’t want to get sidetracked by garbage.

Do you ever feel the need to lighten up?

At times I ca get manic, but I definitely have to relax. Relax is my favorite word. it’s my dog Deacon’s command to sit.

How do you relax?

I go away. I love drivin’ through this country, we have a beautiful country here. The Northwest is my favorite. I get outside. You know, you just feel silly talkin’ about yourself when there are so many bigger things goin’ on.

What are those bigger things?

Survival. How to survive in the best way possible. And when I talk about survival I don’t just mean eating and sleeping… I mean feelin’ good.

Do you feel a responsibility to help people learn what’s right and wrong?

No, I feel the first responsibility to myself. There are all these people who are trying to decide what the hell to do with their lives. This is why I love Thelma & Louise. Here’s a woman, Thelma, who’s in a crummy situation, and she didn’t know of any alternatives and then something happens to her where she didn’t even have a choice and then she became responsible for her actions, she called the shots and became responsible for her life whether it was
right or wrong.

What’s the best advice your parents ever gave you?

Two pieces of advice from my Dad. First he said ‘You can never be anything more than number two in another person’s eyes.’ And that sounds selfish but it’s not necessarily bad, it’s realistic. It refers to the thinking that another person can make you happy. The second, ‘Always keep a spare role of toilet paper in your car.’ And I’m happy to say both have served me well.

Would we find one in your car right now?

About a third of a roll.

Did your parents ever give you advice on women?

Well that was my dad’s advice on women and travellin’. He was dead serious and dead right.

What’s been the worst thing about becoming a movie star?

Once you start getting sucessful, it’s so easy to get sidetracked from yourself because suddenly you have people catering to you. You have all these people tellin’ you you’re great and wanting to get you things like a soda. God forbid you get up and get your own soda. I’ve got legs and arms. It’s okay to have people around who are helping you get your shit together in acting terms, but it’s easy to start expecting. if you want to be completely
honest, this is the wrong business to be in.

What’s your idea of beauty?

When you see a person, do you just concentrate on their looks? It’s just a first impression. Then there’s someone who doesn’t catch your eye immediatly, but you talk to them and they become the most beautiful thing in the world. The greatest actors aren’t what you would call beautiful sex symbols. I’ll tell you who my favorite actress is–Dianne Wiest–and you wouldn’t call her a sex symbol. Dianne Wiest is, to me, the most beautiful woman on the screen.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to get away–and I love music. I think music is the greatest invention in the world. Getting away for me can be just driving anywhere for a weekend, popping a tent up, making a fire and playing some good times. I’m apprehensive to talk about it because, again, it feeds into that romantic, on-the-road label. And for me those times are very genuine and very personal. I don’t want it to be confused with. ‘Oh, he’s a cool guy.’

Is that so bad, to be a cool guy?

It’s okay for someone else to see your life and think, ‘hey, that’s a cool guy.’ And I don’t like the word ‘cool.’ But I have these nightmares about when I read articles about young guys and they’re calling themselves ‘cool’ because their hobby is bungee jumping. They smoke a lot. Collect Zippo lighters and wear a motorcycle jacket. I think a lot of these young guys would be better actors if they relied more on themselves and found what they had in themselves rather than what’s on the outside. And I’m only saying that because I was guilty of it too when I first started. I’d prefer for people to just think I was honest.

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