Jack Davison’s photographs capture this year’s best actors with a minimalist and inventive approach.
Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.
Released in December, just before awards season, the Great Performers Issue is one of The New York Times Magazine’s most anticipated of the year. After watching many hours of movies released in 2019, The Times’s co-chief film critic A.O. Scott and critic-at-large Wesley Morris narrowed down their choices for most striking performances in film this year to 10 actors: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Elisabeth Moss, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianne Moore, Antonio Banderas and Robert De Niro. All 10 appear in this weekend’s issue of the magazine.
“You have to kind of read the room,” Mr. Davison said. Some actors asked questions and wanted to collaborate; others wanted him to do his thing. Mr. Pitt, for one, “was quite interested in what the materials did when I was shooting through them,” Mr. Davison recalled. Mr. Banderas even got playful. All told, Mr. Davison spent two days shooting in Los Angeles, two more in New York and one in Spain (to shoot Mr. Banderas).
Category: BP Press
As the stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Brad Pitt laid down a performance of vintage Hollywood dudeness. His character is equally at ease being a human security blanket for his B-list-actor boss, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, as he is subduing murderous Manson family members while tripping on acid. In James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” Pitt used the same tools he wielded so deftly in Tarantino’s film — laconic cool; understated emotion — to build an entirely different version of masculinity. In it, he’s Roy McBride, an astronaut on an interplanetary mission to find his absentee (in multiple senses of the word) father. But McBride’s imperturbability is rooted in repression and hurt, nothing like Booth’s so-it-goes acceptance. “The two characters could be connected,” Pitt says, “in the sense that you have to go through an evolution to get to a place of comfort. You have to go through profound internal hardships.”
• x004 New York Times
Brad interviews Anthony Hopkins!
After well over a hundred starring roles, in a career stretching back to the 1960s, it’s a wonder Hollywood hasn’t run out of meaty, memorable archetypes for Sir Anthony Hopkins to portray. In the past, the 81-year-old Welsh Oscar winner has played more than his share of deviously brilliant psychotic murderers (The Silence of the Lambs and its sequels, Fracture); restrained, restricted Englishmen on the brink of emotional crises (Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger); iconic artistic geniuses who defined the 20th century (Surviving Picasso, Hitchcock); and more Shakespeare characters than should be expected of anyone (Hamlet, King Lear, Titus). Not to mention the other gods of celluloid he has traded dialogue with over the years (his third movie role had him starring opposite Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole in 1968’s The Lion in Winter).
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Ad Astra”) and Adam Sandler (“Uncut Gems”) sat down for a chat for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”
As has become a tradition for Variety’s Actors on Actors conversations, two superstars realize they have even more in common than celebrity. The careers of Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler ran on parallel tracks after they arrived in Hollywood in the late 1980s, emerging among the last generation of A-list superstars in the ’90s through wildly different genres of film. Sandler made hits of raucous comedies like “Happy Gilmore” and “The Waterboy,” while Pitt burnished a character-actor reputation with turns in “12 Monkeys” and “Fight Club.” This past year, Pitt was as melancholic as he’s ever been in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” while Sandler was characteristically outsized in the New York freakout “Uncut Gems.” And yet, during a lengthy exchange, they keep stumbling over what unites them as artists.
“What I love when we started were cables everywhere, and massive lights,” Pitt tells Sandler, reminiscing about their early days in movies. “You’d be sweating all the time, and big-ass cameras that were super loud. Now it’s getting down to, we’re almost sitting in our own room in the dark. It’s a whole ’nother thing.”
WASHINGTON – Brad Pitt leans back and relaxes in a Georgetown hotel chair a mile and a half from the White House, though he’s light-years away from worrying about presidential tweets.
It’s been three days since the 55-year-old actor told a French newspaper that President Donald Trump represented a “much bigger threat” on “more serious issues” than tariffs on the French vineyard Pitt owns with ex-wife Angelina Jolie.
No angry social-media missives have been thrown his way yet, though, and “truthfully, I don’t even think about it. It probably says I’m doing something wrong,” says Pitt, brandishing his signature grin.
This mind-set is in line with the overall Tao of Brad: The star of the space adventure “Ad Astra” (in theaters Friday) is self-effacing and thoughtful, kind and cool, philosophical yet also guarded.
In recent years in the public eye, Pitt has navigated a two-year divorce and got sober. He’s also found two of his most memorable characters onscreen: The enigmatic and easygoing 1960s stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” – which has Pitt in line for his fourth Oscar acting nomination – and stoic, introspective “Ad Astra” astronaut Roy McBride, who blasts off into the cosmos seeking his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones).
Brad Pitt has a great laugh: a sort of staccato, slow-rolling ah-huh-huh-huh that makes you think of surfers and cowboys and movie stars. He uses it more than once to excellent effect as Cliff Booth, the laconic stuntman-cum-sidekick who stumbles into the dark heart of the Manson family in Quentin Tarantino’s showbiz Babylon Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and not at all in the lonely-astronaut epic Ad Astra (out Sept. 20), though it often punctuates his conversation with EW about both those roles.
To say that one of the world’s most beloved and best-known celebrities is having a moment 30-plus years into his career feels, at this point, pretty much indisputable. But don’t call it a comeback, or a Brad-aissance; several times over the course of a friendly, sometimes philosophical interview he’ll insist that his only goal is “putting stories out into the world” — which in 2019 means not just starring in a pair of films that may well end up dominating the coming awards season but also continuing to head up Plan B Entertainment, the boutique production company responsible for a vanguard slate of films, including Vice, Moonlight, Beautiful Boy, and 12 Years a Slave.
That laugh comes tumbling out again when he’s asked to find the thread between Hollywood’s Cliff, a sort of beach-boy Lebowski with a singular gift for sudden violence, and Ad Astra’s Maj. Roy McBride, an almost pathologically contained spaceman on a solo mission to Mars. “Well, Cliff is by far a much easier way to live, and certainly I would say what we’re all striving for,” he says, chuckling. “But to get to Cliff’s peace of mind and acceptance in the day, you’d probably have to go through Roy’s dilemma to get there.”
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!