Category: BP Press

Pitt sees his Lower 9th Ward homebuilding efforts as a model

Actor Brad Pitt didn’t have much experience with financing forgivable loans when he built his first home in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Lower 9th Ward in 2008.

But seven years later, Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation has gained worldwide attention for the eye-catching home designs and “green” building features — such as solar panels and rainwater collectors — that it has incorporated into a growing development for low-income residents seeking to return to the neighborhood.

“I walked into it blind, just thinking, ‘People need homes; I know people who make great homes. Let’s solve this problem of the inequality and low-income housing in a place that’s been ravaged by the environment,’ ” the 51-year-old Pitt said Friday in a telephone interview.

Although Pitt and his wife, actress Angelina Jolie, put their French Quarter mansion on the market earlier this year, he said they’re not planning to leave the city for good and may buy another home in time.

A decade after Katrina’s floodwaters destroyed more than 5,300 homes in a neighborhood once known for having the highest rate of black home ownership in New Orleans, Pitt’s efforts have paid off: His foundation has spent $26.8 million to build 109 homes in a 20-block area.

In part because of his efforts, the neighborhood has managed to bounce back somewhat, though slowly. It now has about 37 percent of its population before the storm — a lower figure than most other devastated parts of the city.

Though he said there’s still work to do, Pitt considers the Make It Right development to be an example of how to rebuild in a neighborhood that some city and federal officials had suggested should not be rebuilt at all in the storm’s aftermath.

He called it “an oasis of color, an … oasis of how to build with dignity for low-income housing, and I see it as a template for how we can build our cities and certainly our neighborhoods in other areas in the future.”

Read more. Also added to BP Press.


• x002 Magazines – The New Orleans Advocate.

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• x033 12 Years a Slave: DVD Extra: A Historical Portrait
• x015 Hola

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Doug Pitt: Not easy to know but ‘the guy who will step in’

Doug Pitt, businessman and founder of Care to Learn, is not an easy man to get to know.

“He is just not a real outgoing guy,” says long-time friend Matt Miller. “His dad is that way. Doug can be seen as distant, disinterested, stand-offish. That is more of a personality thing. … And then you couple that with his life experiences.”

Those life experiences involve having Brad Pitt as an older brother. As a result, people give Doug screenplays for his brother to read. One man came to Doug’s business to ask why Doug and Brad had placed a microchip in his head. Others simply want to hover near the glow of reflected fame.

But there’s something about Pitt few people know, says Miller, a real estate developer who graduated with Doug Pitt from Kickapoo High School in 1985.

“Doug is kind of a bad ass. He is a tough guy,” Miller says. “He would not fight you. Well, he would if he needed to. But with all the charity work he has done — as polished as he has become — you might think you know him.

“He has a very strong sense of right and wrong,” Miller says. “That is one area where he is not bashful. If he ends up in a situation when there is a wrong being done — even if it’s a random situation where it’s being done to someone else — he is the guy who will step in.”

Douglas Mitchell Pitt, 48, stepped in to help his community back in 2007. It started when he was at a Springfield Chamber of Commerce meeting. He was astounded by stories he heard of children in poverty right in his hometown.

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Mindfood

We chat to just married actor Brad Pitt about his new film Fury, being married to a Dame and on meeting the Queen.

There’s not much that can impress movie stars the likes of Brad and Angie, but it seems that royalty is in a league all of its own.

In New York City to promote his WWII drama, Fury, just days after Queen Elizabeth awarded Angelina with an honorary Dame title, Pitt couldn’t keep the smile off his face, recalling this most prestigious event.

“Well, that was just cool. Grand Dame Commander,” he says, shaking his head.
It was a family affair for the Jolie-Pitt’s at Buckingham Palace.

“It was a lovely day for our family, and we were offered the opportunity to meet (the Queen) afterwards and bring the kids in,” he laughs. “And to see the kids like that; I have never seen them that still and respectful in my whole life. And to see them bow and say ‘Your Majesty,’ and curtsy. It was an absolute delight and just a lovely day for us all.”

Read more. Thanks Gabriella.

Details magazine

We went behind the scenes of Brad Pitt’s Details magazine photo shoot, where the actor talked about his love of the outdoors and how he ranks himself as a parent.

“I’ve discovered I don’t suck at being a dad,” Brad, 50, told Details.

The father of six has traveled the world with his children Shiloh, Vivienne, Maddox, Zahara, Pax and Knox — plus their mom and recently wedded wife, Angelina Jolie. With such a large family, the Oscar winner has little time alone, but when he can get away, he gravitates towards the California Redwoods.

“I will always be most comfortable in the outdoors,” Brad told Details. “I grew up in the Ozarks … and I’m quite reverential when it comes to a tree.”

So much so that he had the height of the world’s largest sequoia — 311.4 feet — tattooed on his forearm.

Brad’s issue of Details hits newsstands October 28, and he can next be seen on the big screen when his WWII film Fury opens October 17.

Read more. Thanks Gabriella. And thank you Yukko for the pictures below!


• x013 Details November ’14 France.

Brad Pitt and Rachel Boynton Reveal the Backstory of African Oil Doc ‘Big Men’

Made over seven years and in partnership with Pitt’s production company Plan B, Boynton’s film tracks American oil company execs and African politicians as they negotiate a drilling deal that could benefit everyone except the local population.

On Wednesday night, following a Los Angeles screening of Rachel Boynton’s documentary Big Men — an edge-of-your-seat film that offers an unprecedented inside look at how American oil companies and African governments interact when oil is discovered in Africa — The Hollywood Reporter met up with Boynton and one of the film’s executive producers, Brad Pitt, to discuss how the project came together and what they hope people will take away from it.

Boynton spent seven years of her life making the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, screened theatrically last year (unfortunately rendering it ineligible for Oscar consideration this year) and is now playing in select theaters across the nation.

It seems to be the hope of Boynton and Pitt — whose Plan B production company champions films of social value, such as this year’s best picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave — that Big Men will raise awareness and bring about reforms that will benefit the people of African nations who have heretofore rarely shared in the profits of the discoveries of oil within their borders.

Here is a transcript of our conversation.

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