The London Independent – January 27, 2002

Q THE INTERVIEW – by Saffron Lyons

It’s 10 years since Brad Pitt took off his shirt in Thelma and Louise. Since then the 38-year-old from Missouri has appeared in numerous films requiring six-pack exposure, including Fight Club, Snatch and Legends of the Fall. Pitt’s Hollywood career began after he dropped out of university, where he studied journalism. His new film, Ocean’s Eleven, in which he stars with George Clooney and Julia Roberts, is a remake
of the 1960 Rat Pack hit. He is married to the Friends actress Jennifer Aniston. They live in Beverly Hills.

Why are you always eating in Ocean’s Eleven?

I think it started because I was making one of my many attempts to quit smoking. I didn’t want to smoke in the film, so I ate instead. My first scene was at the circus, and there were sticks of cotton candy. I just grabbed one and it continued from there.

You appeared in an episode of Friends. How was that experience?

It was a laugh. I play a kid who was a friend of Ross and Monica’s from high school, but I can’t stand Rachel Green. She used to pick on me because I was overweight. I admit it was a bit of shameless promotion for a couple of movies I have coming up, but by the same token, Friends is a show that makes me, and a lot of other people, very happy when they watch it.

Would you like to make a movie with your wife?

They call couples working together the kiss of death. And I might be an example. I don’t have to name names, but there have been a few cases in the past.

Are you looking for a script together?

Not actively, but it’ll come up.

How has marriage helped your wellbeing?

I always saw marriage as a piece of paper. I imagined the relationship would continue as it always had, but I was surprised; there was definitely a change. I’ve realised that marriage denotes a dedication to each other that I respect. Marriage is a great mirror for yourself.

What is the best game you’ve ever played?

Oh my God, I like playing charades. But in the game of life, stardom is a bit of a game, I guess.

Do you have someone who advises you on your career?

Oddly enough, not anyone specifically. I draw more from peers. Tom Cruise is a great businessman, Ed Norton is very inventive, Benicio Del Toro breaks down a character, and George Clooney handles the business better than anyone and manages to have fun with it. I take something from them all.

Do you think your face gets in the way of your career?

In a way it does. As actors we are required to support the films we make because there is so much competition out there. Part of what the producers pay us for is to get out there and be supportive of the film. But the problem with that is the public start to know me as a personality in my own right. That can only subtract from the credibility of the characters I play.

Do you believe in God?

Yes and no, although I have never actually sat down and thought: “Do I believe in God?” Yes, I believe in something. I don’t care what the label is. If I have a religion it should be nature.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I was in high school – I was 15 – I used to play tennis, and although I wasn’t bad, I wasn’t that great either and I had a real McEnroe problem, which didn’t flow too well where I lived in the Bible belt. We had a neighbourhood tournament and this guy, who was actually a friend of mine, was beating me. I let go of my racket and shouted, “Bastard!” Then I saw my dad coming down from where all the parents were sitting. It seemed like he was walking in slow motion. I thought, “I’m in for it now.” I was expecting him to smack the shit out of me because I was really embarrassing the family. But he just calmly said, “Are you having fun?” I said, “What?” So he said again, “Are you having fun?” I replied, “No.” And he said, “Well, don’t do it.” Then he turned around just as slowly, walked back to the stand and sat down while I finished the game. That was the best advice I ever received.