Brad Pitt on being a dad: “I’ve certainly made mistakes & had to make up for it”

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I put a link to some of these interview excerpts in the links yesterday, but the quotes were too good to pass up. Brad Pitt is knee-deep in Tree of Life promotion, and many outlets are using the same quotes for whatever reason. In the film, Brad plays a father who is either “hard” and abrasive or out-right abusive to his sons. Obviously, the subject matter of the film has caused Brad to discuss his own parenting style for his kids, and how he worked with the child actors he had to mean to (in character).

For the Jolie-Pitts, life doesn’t always imitate art. In director Terrence Malick’s new film The Tree of Life, which received Cannes Film Fest’s top honor despite receiving mixed reviews early on, Brad Pitt plays a strict disciplinarian and sometimes abusive father to three young boys.

“I certainly don’t raise my kids the same was [as my character does],” he told Us Weekly Tuesday night at The Tree of Life’s premiere in L.A. ” I am painfully aware that my actions leave an indelible mark on them in these formidable years. So I make sure I don’t bring my crap home. I want to keep it free.”

Asked if he’s ever felt that all-too-common sinking feeling like he’s just made a terrible dad error, Pitt tells PEOPLE, “Not [like I'm] a horrible parent, but I’ve certainly made mistakes and had to make up for it.”

Pitt, 47, and longtime love Angelina Jolie, 35, have six children together: Maddox, 9, Zahara, 6, Pax, 7, Shiloh, 4, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 2.

“I want to keep them able to explore that innocence as long as possible and find out what’s really interesting to them,” he added. “I just don’t want to encumber them in any way.”

Was it tough for Pitt to be so tough on the child actors in the film? “We had to be careful, because hey are young boys, and you don’t want a scar them in the process. So it was explained to them ahead of time who I was playing and they knew it was coming and they knew when it was coming,” he said. “And in between [takes], we made sure we had a lot of time like everyday life, throwing the ball around and riding bikes, and I think everyone got through it unscathed.”

But just in case, Pitt made sure to win the boys’ hearts off-screen – by buying them motorcycles. “They are great,” he said. “We come from the same neck of the woods.”

Back at home, Pitt says neither he nor Jolie is nudging their kids to follow in their acting footsteps. “Listen, I just want them to follow their bliss. Whatever makes them happy,” he says.

And right now, making his family happy includes his next role, recording a voice for the animated sequel Happy Feet 2. “I mean Happy Feet is on heavy rotation in our house,” he says with a laugh, “so it was a must!”

[From Us Weekly & People Magazine]

I like the part where he talks about working with the child actors. I would imagine it would be difficult to try to act opposite those young kids, especially given that Terrence Malick was barely working with a script and so there probably weren’t actual scenes that Brad and the kids could “rehearse” together. Do you think he actually got them motorcycles? I bet he got them something like dirt bikes or go-carts or something.

In other Brangelina news, In Touch Weekly (via Hollywood Life) has a story this week about one of the “nastiest” fights in the history of their relationship. Apparently, their fight this week is all about where they’re going be for the summer. Brad wants to go to Missouri. Angelina wants to go to France. ZOMG FIGHT. A “friend” tells In Touch, “Brad wanted his kids to experience a summer like he has as a boy in Missouri. That involves dirt bikes, tubing in the lake, camping under the stars — just some good old-fashioned American fun.” But, “Missouri is not Angelina’s idea of a vacation… she told Brad to make other plans.” You can read more of the story here, at Hollywood Life. The rest of it is just some psychological talk about why Angelina is a she-devil.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Reporters Magazine, and a promotional image from Tree of Life.

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46 Responses to “Brad Pitt on being a dad: “I’ve certainly made mistakes & had to make up for it””

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  1. Bite me says:

    Too bad brad is suppose to e filming a movie this movie

  2. Enny says:

    Team Brad on this one. Missouri may not be Angie’s cup of tea, but I like that he’s trying to give those kids a taste of normalcy in their otherwise chaotic, uber-privileged lives.

  3. Folly says:

    I think he is a good father,i love that part about winning those kids heart.

  4. mln76 says:

    Cute quotes, I’m glad the movie is so well-received by critics. On the supposed ‘worst fight ever’ ( the tabs have so lost the right to use that phrase in a Brangelina story) Brad’s shooting a movie in the UK so logically speaking they’ll either stay there or in France.

  5. Ruby says:

    He really is a beautiful man. When you see him on the big screen you can’t help admit that he is stunning to look at. Even my hubby agrees. I don’t think he is all that smart. Just from the interviews I have seen. But he does love his kids and Ange. That is a good quality in a man a genuine love for his family :)

  6. duh says:

    I don’t know what kind of a father he is but he has some VERY STRONG GENES!!! His three bio kids look just like him!

  7. Folly says:

    There are pictures of angie and brad out and about yesterday,they seems cool and relaxed,i think in touch should bring something more original.

  8. Jollyjolie says:

    Ok dont get me wrong cause I adore Angelina but has anyone noticed that the she has not had those bulging veins since Cannes? I have looked through all her pix the Kung fu Panda interviews, photocalls in Cannes and LA as well as the Tree of Life in both Cannes and LA. Am loving it though, she looks great.

    p.s Sorry about my gramma, English is my 2nd language

  9. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Wow Love People Magazine for not doing the Bio/adopted kids thing. I hate that. I hope future news outlets just name them like People Magazine did, but I doubt they will.

    I loved Brad’s quotes about being a dad, he is such an amazing father and so happy to be a dad that makes it me truly like him.

    The In Touch Story is clearly false. Brad and Angie clearly work together very well and they do things to make each other happy so if Brad really wanted to do something they could work in what he wants to do and what Angie wants to do. They have the money and time to do it.

  10. really says:

    Did Angie bath him yet? He seems like a great dad who just needs to keep shampoo by his side.

    And I dont believe for one minute that they got into a nasty fight…. because all BEAUTIFUL Angie did is tell Brad to get his “butter-cups” on the plane to France, and the kids are probably already in France! Viva la France.

    As for Missouri, as Angie yawned ……. I am sure she bought the kids amazing puzzles or color books of Missouri… it is a WIN WIN for all.

  11. Quest says:

    I am always a sucker for great dads and Brad seems to be doing very well in the dad department. Loving the quotes, we all make mistakes as parents (all of us)

  12. You don't say says:

    Funny, Brad talks about how much he loves France and wants to make their second home there. I guess In Touch just did not read that quote and decided to make up more “crap”. Luckily for Brad, he does not bring “crap” home, so he never knew what he was supposed to be upset about.

    All the true garbage available and they still prefer to make up this junk from their trusty “insiders” with no names. Does anyone buy this magazine anymore and if so, they must have money to waste.

  13. anonymous says:

    What I will like to know is how Jolie get that complexion, her skin is just amazing, hope she will tell us.

  14. LadyJane says:

    Is Jolie doing the trademark Aniston pose in that last photo – her hand on his tummy? As if to say, “He is mine?” We all know how well that works.

  15. EdithP says:

    “Follow their bliss”? Who is he, Cher?

  16. gee says:

    That kid looks just like him. Angelina’s genes are so strong in their kids though.

  17. Jenny says:

    Brad the Dad is Brad at his best and he really enjoys that part of his life and takes it very seriously. Anyone who saw the photos of him with his twins in the park and the smiles they gave him would see that he was meant to be a daddy. And I really like how he wanted to protect the child actors. Good for him.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Sadly for Brad’s supposed plans for a summer in Missouri – it is under water right now due to flooding. So it looks like it France this summer, kids!

  19. Praise St. Angie! says:

    I often wonder about young kids on the set of movies like that. either where the parents are abusive, or there’s lots of cursing…

    It must be hard to keep the kids isolated from stuff, but it sounds like he and the director did it in a way that the kids weren’t upset about it too much, if at all.

    I had read something about the filming of “The Shining” and how Kubrick kept the kid playing Danny away from anything TOO scary. Supposedly, the kid didn’t even know he was acting in a horror movie. THAT’S the way it should be done, and it sounds like these kids did OK, too.

    oh, and that summer in Missouri sounds like fun! (for a week or two, then I’d want to go back to France.)

  20. RHONYC says:

    @ really

    hahahahaha. *chuckling*

    :lol:

  21. N.D. says:

    Sadly for Brad’s supposed plans for a summer in Missouri he will have to work in UK and Malta for the most of the summer. So, no Missouri. No France either, at least until filming is done.

  22. Whatever says:

    I like that he wants the kids to follow their bliss. I tell my kids that all the time. That’s what life is about.

  23. Mizz Tickles says:

    In the first photo Brad looks so much like Ethan Hawke,

  24. tapioca says:

    “Listen, I just want them to follow their bliss. Whatever makes them happy.”

    Isn’t this exactly what Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes are doing with Suri and are widely criticised for?!!

  25. LindaR says:

    Did he mean to say “formidable” years or “formative” years? Ha. Maybe a Freudian slip. If so, he truly is parenting 6 children.

  26. Melissa says:

    Did he really mean “formidable years”, or did he mean to say “formative”?

  27. S says:

    He’s 47?!?!?!?!???!?!!?

    Goddamn.

  28. mln76 says:

    @ tapioca actually Tom and Katie are following strict Scientology doctrine with Suri that goes way beyond choosing a career path when she’s an adult. She is according to their beliefs already fully capable of making all decisions.

  29. sharylmj says:

    He seems like such a great dad, those kids are so blessed to have him in their lives. If he really wants them to spend time in Missouri, I’m sure he will make it happen. They can afford to go wherever want, whenever they want. It’s just a matter of scheduling.

  30. Tiffany says:

    I remember an interview Diane Sawyer did with the cast of Oceans 12 and they were all asked where they see themselves in five years and when it got to Pitt he said kids and was on the verge of tears talking about. Everytime he talks about his kids I think back too that interview for some reason. Sweet.

  31. Anoni Mus says:

    I must say, Brad strikes me as a nice, uncomplicated kind of guy. I think he loves being a father. And although he does nothing for me in the hotness department, he IS handsome and looks great for his age.

    So, rooting for him and Angie all the way!

  32. Solveig says:

    Despite what magazines and critics say the movie has a plot and surely there was a script Malick was working with. Fact is that the movie doesn’t have a linear time continuum, a linear succession of events, but it doesn’t affect actors’ since they are used to filming unrelated scenes.

  33. Kim123 says:

    The #ssholes at Intouch weekly are fully aware he starts filming World War Z in June they simply couldn’t think of another lie so they make up this BS story. They used this same BS story when Angie was about to direct her film last year.As I’ve said before someone at that magazine hates her I guess they want Brad to leave her and run away with her(or him) smile.

  34. Lucy says:

    We all know that Zahara will choose where they are going to spend their Summer… I guess they are fighting over who’s going to persuade/convince her where to go, ha!

  35. Kim says:

    Wow i imagine that was a hard role for him to play AND those boys. What a heavy subject matter for them to play. Nice to hear Brad befriended them & explained the bad scenes etc.

    The kids should spend time in Missouri. Spending time in middle America is just as rewarding and educational as spending time elsewhere. Its the root of America and you see how the average middle American that makes up this country lives. You are away from bright lights & big cities and get a real feel for American life.

  36. Joe's Mom says:

    I remember Halle Berry saying similar things when she did “Monster’s Ball”. She had to treat her son in the movie horribly, and she said between takes she’d apologize to him and tell him it was only for the movie, etc. That’s one reason I realy liked Halle. But, she took herself down a few notches in my eyes after the Gabriel Aubrey debacle. Just sayin’. Anyway, I think Brad Pitt’s a great dad and a compassionate human being, and I’m sure his kids adore their parents. They are lucky kids.

  37. Eve says:

    @ Mln76:

    My favorite part of that article about Scientology’s former member Paul Haggis was that one where it’s stated that, according to Scietology’s method of analyzing your thetan…Cruise is in a much higher level than Buddha and Jesus Christ. They’re just “a shade above the clear level”. Cruise is OT 8 or 9.

    Oh, I’d laugh harder if I wasn’t so creeped out by them.

  38. DD says:

    Is that pic from the movie? I’m shocked Brad cleaned up that well. Wow. He looks so young and fresh there, it’s hard to believe it’s not from 10 years ago.
    Anyway he gives me cool dad vibes. They don’t have a conventional family, but that’s definitely not a bad thing.

  39. Camille says:

    Brad sounds like a good Dad. Nice quotes.

  40. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Formidable. This is why we can’t put celebrities on a ‘pedal stool’ because they’ll fall off and we’ll be the ones feeling like a ‘damp squid’.

  41. Louise says:

    Brad always seems so happy when talking about his kids. I don’t understand why people/tabloids keep saying he can’t stand them. I know this is a gossip site and facts are not important but the IT story is obviously false. Brad is shooting a movie in a couple of weeks so there’s no reason to argue. Also the comments that the kids desperately need to go to MO are ridiculous. The family have been photographed many times in MO. Plus family members visit LA and movie locations all of the time. It’s bizarre that haters are obsessed with the notion Brad’s family and Angelina can’t stand each other.

  42. Rosanna says:

    The more I read his interviews, the less I find him interesting. He does look gorgeous though!!!

  43. Eve says:

    @ Louise:

    Brad always seems so happy when talking about his kids. I don’t understand why people/tabloids keep saying he can’t stand them.

    They often say that about Jolie, I think. You know, she’s often at the receiving end of all the wrath. Brad Pitt is the loving father, Angelina Jolie is the bitch for the tabloids and conspirancy theories aficionados.

  44. eternalcanadian says:

    Whoa, that third picture of an orange Brad shows how bad his skin looks and he’s not aging well. :o

  45. sandy#1 says:

    wow!! brad is 47? brad looks great for his age, he obviously loves his children, that’s why i respect his decision to make his move in life to meet his life goal, that takes courage, he’s a humble, decent, smart, handsome,dad, hey! what more can you ask for?

  46. Brad Pitt really annoyes me, he didn’t before but now he thinks he is really something. Him and his wife.