CNN – November 13, 1998

He is one of the most elusive superstars in Hollywood today, and one of the most sought-after by women of all ages. Brad Pitt seemed to come out of nowhere and into the spotlight with 1992’s "A River Runs Through It," and he hasn’t been able to escape the glare of the paparazzi spotlight since.

Through it all, Pitt has remained tight-lipped on most personal issues, including his relationship and break-up with actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

CNN’S Laurin Sydney met up with him recently to talk about his new film "Meet Joe Black," and he responded to some probing questions about who he is, who he wants to be and why.

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN "SHOWBIZ TODAY" ANCHOR: What about all this attention you’re getting ever since "A River Runs Through It"? For the first year you kind of hid out. Can you deal with it now?

BRAD PITT, STAR OF "MEET JOE BLACK": It’s more comfortable now. At first you don’t know how to take it because you’re getting this attention and people are saying you’re greater than you feel or worse than you feel and you know, I just didn’t know what to do with it, so I hid out. But now it is more comfortable. You just gotta understand the nature of the beast.

SYDNEY: Was it a beast for you at first?

PITT: Listen, I know it sounds funny because I chose acting and it doesn’t make sense, you don’t want the attention. But it’s just a big life change and something you gotta make adjustments for, you know?

SYDNEY: Does it help at all that there are new kids on the block like Leo DiCaprio or Matt Damon?

PITT: Yeah, sure that helps.

SYDNEY: You’re a romantic guy. You’ve been quoted as saying, "I am pretty much mush." Does that mean you cry at Hallmark cards?

PITT: Yeah, well you know, I shed a tear at that commercial.

SYDNEY: So you’re still mush to this day?

PITT: A little bit. Listen, I wish I could be tougher.

SYDNEY: Any quotes that I read about people that truly know you, or people that you’ve worked with — they are astounded by your morals, astounded by your ethics, and you just made a face.

PITT: Listen, I don’t … morals, morals … I have a hard time with morals. All I know is what feels right, what’s more important to me is being honest about who you are. Morals I get a little hung up on.

SYDNEY: But yet the trappings of superstardom, they haven’t touched you one bit.

PITT: You know, traps, traps … it’s a mine field basically.

SYDNEY: And do you try to dodge it every which way you can?

PITT: No, I just try to walk through it and not get hit.

SYDNEY: You’re you comfortable sitting here doing interviews?

PITT: I’m alright.

SYDNEY: The name of your new film is "Meet Joe Black." If it was "Meet Brad Pitt" what would it be about?

PITT: Geez, hell if I know … work in progress, still trying to figure it out myself.

SYDNEY: Martin Brest said he was sure that you have a lock on the Academy Award nomination.

PITT: Oh, that’s silly, but that is really sweet.

SYDNEY: But critical Brad Pitt, I read that you really didn’t think that this was your best performance.

PITT: Oh, no. Listen, sometimes people have to find angles and things get stretched out a little more. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and I could say that about every one of them. Always, there’s something you get up and I would love a second shot at it. But that is all it ever is. But yeah, I think it is a lovely movie.

SYDNEY: A lot of messages were beautiful in this and I know that you choose your films from your own gut reactions. At first you weren’t going to do the film, but after you read the script you decided "This is good one." What was the message, what made you want to do this one?

PITT: Listen, I can be a cynic at times but at the end of the day, these beautiful thoughts on love and family that I actually hold high. It’s all in the movie. I don’t want to make too much of it, but it is all in the movie.

SYDNEY: Now I am not here to talk about your personal life and I know that you don’t like to talk about your personal life, but during the making of this film was when your relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow did break up. Do you think your personal life had anything to do with your professional life?

PITT: Well there’s no way that whatever you are going through at the time — you know what, it bleeds into the performance, it colors the performance. That’s all, that’s good stuff.

SYDNEY: I had read that your favorite line in this film is … "You do the best you can and if you’re lucky, you take some perfect pictures with you."

PITT: In the film it is coming from the Easter character and she is just saying basically, "Listen, the daily grind is tough, you’re thrown things but they are there for a reason, and every now and then you have these perfect moments that remind you of how great, how fulfilling and wonderful things are and it gets you to the next." And that’s what it is about, not the happily ever after kind of things.

SYDNEY: I know you majored in journalism. I know you are not going to like this question, but your gonna understand and have empathy that I have to ask it.


SYDNEY: What is with you and Jennifer Aniston?

PITT: Um, I can’t … I can’t help you on that one.