OH BRAD! – by Mark Chadbourn
His sexy seduction scene with Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise may
have launched his career, but brad Pitt’s latest role as a killer in Kalifornia
makes it clear that he is as hot an actor as he is a pin-up.
Q: So what’s Kalifornia all about?
A: I play a serial killer named Early Grayce. It’s directed by Dominic
Sena who did the Janet Jackson videos and this is his first film. Juliette [Lewis,
Brad’s ex-girlfriend in real life] plays a girl called Adele Corners and
we go on this road trip across the country with another couple.
Q: What was it like to be both dating and working with Juliette?
A: Well, we hadn’t done anything together since we started seeing each
other on Too Young to Die [a TV movie they made three years ago], so it seemed
kind of natural to work together. We wanted to do something together anyway
and then this came along and we both liked our characters, and it’s great.
Q: Being Hollywood’s hottest young couple must have been a strain.
A: You wanna know the worst thing? Tabloids like The national Enquirer went
through our trash. We had no privacy at all. None. It was tough even just going
out somewhere if you wanted a quiet dinner or to be alone. That was hard.
Q: Are you into working out?
A: Not really I’ll do it for a part, not because I want to be all pumped
Q: How old are you really?
Q: How tall?
A: Springfield, Missouri, in the Ozarks, so I guess you could call me a country
boy. I love being outdoors.
Q: So you’re not a Hollywood type?
A: Nope. When I was in Montana shooting A River Runs Through It I nearly bought
some land there because it’s so beautiful.
Q: So what stopped you?
A: I found out that the next property belonged to Brooke Shields, so instead
I went back home and ended up buying some land with lots of woods in the Ozarks.
That’s much more my style.
Q: How did you get into the role of JD in Thelma & Louise?
A: I kind of admire those guys who are on their own. Those guys who are on their
own on the street and they learn how to survive by their wits, because it’s
only them. I know a few guys like that. You just draw from yourself, too. When
you first get out on your own you get burned a few times and then you smarten
up. Like when I first went to LA on my own.
Q: You got burned?
A: Sure, but it’s nothing special.
Q: So there was some of that in JD?
A: Yeah. Ridley [Scott, the director of Thelma & Louise] told me JD’s
a sociopath, and I didn’t know what that meant. In my eyes everything
was justified and he sees himself more like an angel on the road who wanted
to set Thelma free.
Q: Did JD stand for James Dean?
A: No, it stood for something else.
Q: How do the comparisons between you and James Dean make you feel?
A: Uncomfortable, I guess. I don’t pay much attention to it. I don’t
think I’m like James Dean and I don’t know that much about him,
honestly. In fact, I get very turned off by all these young actors who spend
so much time trying to copy other people—they want to be James Dean or
Mickey Rourke and then they don’t find what they love in themselves. But
then with every movie I’ve done, people compare me to someone. In River
people say I’m like a young Robert Redford. Well that definitely wasn’t
intentional, but if people think I’m like a young Redford, I’ll
take it as a compliment.
Q: Which actors do you admire?
A: I was always a big fan of Robert Redford! I used to watch all his films.
My parents were real big on him and I have a lot of memories of them taking
me to the drive-in and sitting in the car eating soggy popcorn my mom popped
before we left. I think that the actors, like Redford and Jessica Lang and Al
Pacino, let something of themselves shine through so you know that it’s
real. Others to me are just posing.
Q: How did you get started as an actor?
A: I dunno. I just liked films from a little kid and I got itchy in Missouri.
It’s beautiful and I love going back there, but I get itchy… but
I get itchy in LA or NY if I’m there long enough. So I told my parents
I was going to art school in LA, cos I’d just got it in my mind one month
that I wanted to be an actor. Though it could have been music or writing books—one
of those three things—and it turned out to be acting. I’d studied
journalism at the University of Missouri, but I left before I finished my courses
and just took off and put everything I had in my car and drove out to LA.
Q: Did you set yourself a goal?
A: No, I never did that. It was more like, “I’ll do this—and
then I’ll do that”. That sounds kind of cocky, but it’s not
cocky coz I’ve been wrong—but then something else has opened up
Q: When you moved to LA, how long did it take you to get your first job?
A: About seven months.
Q: Did you ever consider giving up?
A: No. I knew I had a lot to learn and it was always my plan, even if it was
a struggle. I didn’t know a single person when I arrived, so I looked
at all the ads and just started doing extra work. I got that the first week
and did that for a few months, and watched everything around me. And gradually
I started learning from my mistakes. At first you get real hurt when people
tell you you sucked, but then you know whether you did or not and instead of
getting hurt you start trying to fix it. I went through a lot of auditions where
I didn’t get the part, but I did get lucky and get an agent and that helped
Q: What were your childhood dreams?
A: I dunno, a million things. It changed weekly; like a musician.
Q: Was it happy times?
A: Yeah, my family is very supportive, very loving. They get a real kick out
of what I do, whether they agree with it or not. It’s pretty unconditional.
Q: Did you used to pose in front of the mirror with a make-believe guitar?
A: Sure, I did all that crazy stuff. I think every kid does.
Q: Your character was a musician in Johnny Suede—can you really play?
A: Not really, although I love to play around with it just for fun at home.
But I’m pretty bad at it.
Q: Do your parents have anything to do with show business?
A: No, my dad, Bill, works for a trucking company and my mother, Jane, is a
family counselor and teaches families with newborn kids to help get them on
the right track.
Q: Do you have brothers and sisters?
A: I have a younger brother and sister—and we are real close.
Q: Did you relationship with him color your performance in A River Runs Through
It, which is so much about sibling relations?
A: I don’t know how it couldn’t come out. I just remember that growing
up, I couldn’t stand it if someone took advantage of him or was mean to
him in any way. I just wanted to go and punch them in the throat. It drove me
crazy and I couldn’t stand to see him get hurt. Then it came to a point
where I realized I’d been through it and it had made me stronger, so I
just had to sit back and let him go. He’ll figure it out, he’s a
smart boy. So yeah, the brother thing struck a big chord with me and was very
important to me.
Q: You’ve been branded as one of the hottest up-and-coming stars. Does
that make you nervous?
A: If you are intelligent and have common sense, you can pretty much learn to
do anything I figure. But you also watch how people go—how they go up
and how they go down. So then it’s not so much of a surprise when it hits.