Brad Pitt tells Adam Stone about making his latest release, Bullet Train, during the lockdown, being directed by his former stuntman, and getting older
By Adam Stone
What was your reaction when you were pitched Bullet Train?
I like to think of it as the perfect movie for right now. It’s a great heist movie with really funny stuff happening. We have an amazing cast, which I was very happy to be asked to work with at a time when not many people were able to work. I felt very lucky to be a part of it.
Would you say this movie saved you during lockdown?
Sure. Like everyone, I went a little stir-crazy, got a little depressed and went a little bit cuckoo during that whole time, so when (director) David Leitch came to me with this, I couldn’t wait to get going. The script came along at that really dark period of lockdown, before we knew how we were going to get out of it, and it was just so damn funny. It had so many great parts, which meant we could attract a great cast. It just seemed perfect for that time, and I’m really happy the movie came out at a time when the streets are open again and we can be around each other.
Bullet Train includes some great action scenes. Did you enjoy that?
Yeah. David comes from the stunt world, so he understands that stuff very well. He was my stunt double back in ’98. We met while making Fight Club and he trained me for the fights. It worked so well that we went on with that pairing with a bunch of other films until about 2004 and then he left me to do other things. Now he’s a big-time director and it’s come back full-circle. It’s really nice for me to have him as the boss now.
Your character talks a lot about luck and fate. What is your personal take on these topics?
I do like that in this really funny film, there is this undercurrent message of how we are all agents of fate in some way. I argue with myself a lot about how much is fate and how much is personal will and manifestation, or however you want to define it. I think they’re both at play, but only because I don’t have a better answer.
Did you miss the red-carpet premieres and all the hype that comes with a big release like this?
No, not in that way. I didn’t realise that it had been three years because we were in lockdown and so we hadn’t brought anything to the table in a while. At the same time, it was nice to put everything we had into this story and that it came together, because the planets really have to align for a movie to be good. We’re really proud of this one and now it’s nice to let people finally see it.
Was there a new experience while making this movie?
We pulled this whole thing off on one soundstage and it took technical mastery of the latest equipment to be able to do it. That was really exciting. But I just can’t say enough about that time. We were all kind of losing it, so to be able to get to work, have a laugh and know that we were bringing something that is going to be nice for everyone was really the prevailing theme. That will always resonate with me.
There were reports that you might retire from acting and then you made Bullet Train.
That’s not what I said… not what I meant, at least. I think I described it as being on the last leg of the journey. I was talking about going from being a young adult to middle-age and how it feels like I’m going from middle-age to what I called the last leg. I didn’t mean I was retiring or anything like that.
Does getting older worry you?
Everyone has to contend with getting older. There’s a time when you’ve just got to let go and accept it. So, do I worry about getting older? No.
You mentioned working with David Leitch when he was your stunt-double for Fight Club. How do you look back at that time and that film now?
Fight Club is one of my favourites. I’m very proud of that movie. It was the most fun and working with Fincher (director of Fight Club) was an incredible experience. Making that movie made me realise that it’s the people I’m working with that matters more than anything else.
How do you pick your projects now?
Same as always. I’m looking for something new, something that I haven’t explored before, something that feels fresh and is in a new direction. As I say, more than anything, as I get older, it’s about the company I keep and the people I get to work with, and variety.