Have Brad Pitt and his “Ocean’s Eleven” director Steven Soderbergh been trading notes? As both men approach fifty, it seems they’re eager to step away from the limelight. Hitting the other side of the planet to promote “Moneyball,” Pitt has revealed to the Aussie version of “60 Minutes” that he plans to retire from acting. Asked by journalist Tara Brown, “How much longer would you like to do your business for?” the actor had a very simple answer.
“Three years,” he said. While revealing, he’s not quite sure what he’ll get to next, it appears that he wants to put a harder focus on producing. “I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. And getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher time otherwise,” he adds.
Certainly, there are a few actors in Hollywood who have had the run Pitt has had. He’s worked with nearly every top tier director, his resume boasting names like Terrence Malick, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, The Coen Brothers, Edward Zwick, Robert Redford, Jean Jacques-Annaud, Gore Verbinkski, Wolfgang Petersen, Doug Liman, Alejandro González Iñárritu and more. And certainly as his fame has grown, he’s used his clout as a producer to get movies like “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” and “The Tree Of Life” off the ground. He’s been nominated twice for an Oscar and he’s pretty much done it all as an actor so, like Soderbergh, it’s easy to see why he may be looking to fulfill his creative juices in another venue.
Via his Plan B shingle, Pitt has been developing a plethora of projects including Malick’s gestating “The Voyage Of Time” documentary and upcoming starring vehicles “Cogan’s Trade,” “World War Z” and “Twelve Years A Slave.” But therein lies the catch-22 that will be interesting to see how Pitt navigates.
The big reason why he can get difficult or unconventional projects off the ground, is largely by producing and starring in those kinds of films. Or if he doesn’t feature in them, they are low-budget enough to get by without his presence (“Kick-Ass“) or have another big name actor in the lead (“Eat Pray Love,” “A Mighty Heart“). But certainly he has the connections and integrity within Hollywood that he can play the game with the best of them to get things made, even if it will be a bit more challenging without the promise of his presence on-screen to push things through.
Now, will Pitt really step away from acting entirely? We doubt it. Perhaps he’ll slow down, and certainly as he also reveals in the interview, he is getting far more choosy with his roles as he becomes more conscious of the legacy that he’ll leave behind not only in the industry but for his kids. “If I’m choosing a film now, I want it to be maybe less immature than things I have done in the past. I’m very conscious, when they’re adults I want it to mean something to them,” he explained. “I want them to think, ‘Dad’s alright.’ It changes everything. Everything. And it’s so damn interesting.”
So whether we’re witnessing the start of Pitt’s slow decline out of the spotlight, or perhaps a midlife crisis of sorts we’ll have to see. But if anything, he’s eager to try and do something different.