Brad Pitt reclaimed his movie star status this year in a big way with the releases of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” the former of which is widely expected to win him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Pitt has emerged over the last decade and a half as one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood and one of the most underrated great actors of his generation, and it definitely wasn’t by accident. In a new interview with The New York Times, Pitt reveals that he made a conscious decision to shift his career following the making of Wolfgang Petersen’s historical war epic “Troy.”
“I had to do ‘Troy’ because — I guess I can say all this now — I pulled out of another movie and then had to do something for the studio,” Pitt says. “So I was put in ‘Troy.’ It wasn’t painful, but I realized that the way that movie was being told was not how I wanted it to be. I made my own mistakes in it. What am I trying to say about ‘Troy’? I could not get out of the middle of the frame. It was driving me crazy.”
Pitt continued, “I’d become spoiled working with David Fincher. It’s no slight on Wolfgang Petersen. ‘Das Boot’ is one of the all-time great films. But somewhere in it, ‘Troy’ became a commercial kind of thing. Every shot was like, Here’s the hero! There was no mystery. So about that time I made a decision that I was only going to invest in quality stories, for lack of a better term. It was a distinct shift that led to the next decade of films.”
Pitt’s career choices after the 2004 release of “Troy” mark a clear shift in his priorities as an actor. While he did star in two “Ocean’s Eleven” sequels and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” he also began working with some of the best directors around: Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”), Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”), Joel and Ethan Coen (“Burn After Reading”), Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”), Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”), and more.
For his work on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” this year, Pitt won the National Board of Review’s prize for Best Supporting Actor. Pitt has also picked up nominations in the same category from the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards. Head over to The New York Time’s website to read Pitt’s latest interview in its entirety.