A Life So Large

Brad Pitt won’t remember you. If you’ve met him, he’ll have no idea who you are when he meets you again. Even if you’ve had what he calls “a real conversation,” your face will start fading from his memory as soon as you walk away. He’ll try to hold on to its outlines, but your features will suffer an inexorable erasure, and the next time he sees you you’ll be brand-new to him. He used to try tricking those he’d forgotten into thinking he remembered them, or at least waiting them out for a clue or scrap of context. But then he decided to experiment.

“So many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them,” he says. “So I swear to God, I took one year where I just said, This year, I’m just going to cop to it and say to people, ‘Okay, where did we meet?’ But it just got worse. People were more offended. Every now and then, someone will give me context, and I’ll say, ‘Thank you for helping me.’ But I piss more people off. You get this thing, like, ‘You’re being egotistical. You’re being conceited.’ But it’s a mystery to me, man. I can’t grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view. I am going to get it tested.”

He is convinced he has that thing, that condition he read about a few years ago. What’s it called? Is he pronouncing it right? That’s it: prosopagnosia. It’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t even like going out — “that’s why I stay at home” — but he’s also a public person, the center of crowds. “You meet so many damned people,” he says. “And then you meet ’em again.”

And so, if you ever meet Brad Pitt, you should know a few things: He’ll probably forget you. He’ll probably worry about forgetting you. He’ll probably worry that you’ll think he’s an asshole for forgetting you. And then he’ll probably do or say something that will inspire you to tell people that you just met Brad Pitt, and he’s not an asshole at all….

Read more. Brad is on the cover of the June/July edition of Esquire.

• x029 Photoshoots – Set 222.


  1. I just wanted to say that my 5 year old son is also unable to recognize peoples faces. It has been very difficult to see him struggle with not being able to find his (best) friend in a room full of children, asking each one if they are the friend he’s looking for. People have a hard time understanding. He’s brilliant in other areas like math & reading, years ahead of his peers. His doctors say where there is genius, there is often something peculiar. So enjoy your talent and family! Best of luck!

  2. Ok, I might breathe again some time next week!! He should have done hair care product commercials (the one on the bike with his hair blowing–Oy Vey!!!)

    I love that he like to use film. I am an old school photograher (amatuer), but I love film and black and white is just so beautiful…Just like the man in the photos.

    I understand what he says about not remembering people too. I have had folks I met years ago come up and talk like we are old friends and I have no clue who they are!! I am in that type of business where I meet alot of people, but way too many to really remember. I know how he feels!!

    Thank you.

  3. The article piece is very interesting. When I met him in 2007 he stared at me as if he saw me from some place before. He didn’t blink just stared, it was all blue that looked at me. Funny, maybe he thought I looked like some one he knew! LOL Who knows!! LOL. Thank You for such great pictures… I will by the mag asap!!

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