There will be few halfhearted reactions to Terrence Malick’s grandly ambitious new film, “The Tree of Life,” which last week was awarded the Palme d’Or, the Cannes Film Festival’s highest prize.
Partisans of the director, one of American film’s few genuine visionaries (“Days of Heaven,” “The New World”), will see it as a deeply moving, poetic meditation that addresses classic spiritual and philosophical questions with sublime images and minimal dialogue. Viewers of a different temperament will find it self-important and arty in the worst way.
The cast includes Brad Pitt as the authoritarian father, Bay Area native Jessica Chastain as his wife and Sean Penn as the grown-up son. Chronicle Movie Critic Mick LaSalle calls Pitt’s performance one of the actor’s finest.
Pitt spoke by phone from Los Angeles.
For Brad Pitt, the Cannes Film Festival is almost a perennial rite of spring. He’s been there four of the past five years, either with his own films (Ocean’s Thirteen, Inglourious Basterds) or accompanying his partner Angelina Jolie (for Changeling). But this year, as the star and one of the producers of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, Pitt was also the impromptu spokesman for the absent, famously shy writer-director. The film, which won Cannes’ highest accolade, the Palme d’Or, features what many have called Pitt’s finest, boldest performance, as the severe father of three young boys in suburban Texas in the 1950s.
Read more. Big long wonderful interview! Can you guys keep up on the SB updates of today? Be sure to scroll down for more goodies.
In the parking lot outside a Los Angeles photo studio, a scruffy-looking guy sporting a goatee, black T-shirt and motorcycle boots sits on the curb puffing a cigarette. He’s listening intently to a stylish man rave about a cool camera shop. A passerby would barely notice the pair as they head into the building.
But when the photographer starts shooting, the bearded guy seems to undergo a transformation. Grooving to Jimi Hendrix on the sound system, he assumes an expression of ineffable cool, his posture somewhere between rakish and regal. He radiates glamour by the gigawatt. Suddenly, he’s Brad Pitt.
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Snapshot: An unseasonably hot May night in New York, 1991. The feminist road movie “Thelma & Louise” has just had a splashy premiere, with an after-party at a Mexican restaurant. A 27-year-old actor named Brad Pitt, who started the night as an unknown, has emerged from the screening as the breakout story. At the party, he and his girlfriend, Juliette Lewis, greet well-wishers at their table — not a crush of fans, mind you, but the kind of high-energy scrum that announces to everyone present: From now on, this young man will be a star.
A friend and I happened to witness the transformation firsthand that night. But as we watched the blond, baby-faced actor throw back beers with his posse, we weren’t entirely sure whether Pitt knew that his life had irrevocably changed.
“I remember that night,” he said in a call from Los Angeles last week. “But I was absolutely naive and was not prepared for what it would mean. I just wanted to be in movies, I wanted opportunities, and that’s what I saw from that.”
In his latest movie, The Tree of Life (opening in New York and Los Angeles May 27, and nationwide soon after), Brad Pitt plays the domineering father of three young sons in 1950s Texas – a small-town setting that hit close to home, he says.
Pitt, 47, says he was reminded of his own boyhood in Springfield, Mo., while making the film, in which Sean Penn plays his grown son.
“We were out running around until dark, chasing fireflies with tennis rackets, up to all sorts of mayhem,” Pitt recalls of his childhood.
These days, the actor is raising six kids of his own (three adopted, three biological) with partner Angelina Jolie, while roaming the world on movie shoots and humanitarian missions.
Read more. Thanks marypoppinsmyass. (Updated with some more bits)
And along with the portrait session posted below came a lovely new interview which was of course added to BP Press.
You won’t catch Brad Pitt doing fatherhood in a small way, on screen or in his real family life with Angelina Jolie.
In Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” which premiered this week at the Cannes Film Festival, Pitt plays a father of three in a drama that deals with the biggest of questions about our place in the cosmos.
In his home life, Pitt and Jolie are parents of six — three biological children, three adopted. For Pitt, who was childless into his 40s after his marriage with Jennifer Aniston broke up, it all happened in just a few years.
“I know it seems extreme from the outside, but I’ve always kind of operated this way. When I know, I know, and why mess around?” Pitt, 47, said in an interview.