Obviously, I’m a Brangeloonie and I’ve never pretended to be anything else. Maybe that’s why I didn’t interpret Brad Pitt’s Esquire comments as some kind of “slam” on Jennifer Aniston. The problem seemed to be that Brad used similar wording to his 2011 interview in Parade, where he famously said “I wasn’t living an interesting life myself. I think that my marriage had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn’t.” It was one of the first and only times Brad had ever specifically bad-mouthed his marriage to Jennifer. But was Brad doing that again in his Esquire interview? Here’s the relevant portion:
“For a long time I thought I did too much damage – drug damage. I was a bit of a drifter. A guy who felt he grew up in something of a vacuum and wanted to see things, wanted to be inspired. I followed that other thing. I spent years f–king off. But then I got burnt out and felt that I was wasting my opportunity. It was a conscious change. This was about a decade ago. It was an epiphany – a decision not to squander my opportunities. It was a feeling of get up. Because otherwise, what’s the point?”
People are hitching their wagons to his “about a decade ago” caveat. A decade ago, he was married to Jennifer. A decade ago, he hadn’t even met Angelina for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But I interpreted that whole thing as “Brad had been f—king around for his entire life, even before he met Jennifer.” I think Brad is trying to take ownership of what a dumb, burned-out and useless existence he lived and yes, maybe his marriage was part of that but he doesn’t even say that explicitly. So why is everyone like “Brad sucks for slamming Jennifer like always, commence pity party”?
Anyway, there are more excerpts from the Esquire interview, including a shout-out for Gwyneth Paltrow’s late father Bruce Paltrow. Oh, Goop will love that. She’ll dine out on that for months.
Brad always lists his occupation as “self-employed” when he is filling out forms: “I learned that from Bruce Paltrow. I always liked it. It’s a humble way to explain what we do.”
What if a stranger asked him what he does for a living? “Well, I’d be very Midwest about it, very Missouri. I’d say, This and that. I’d say, I’m a dad just like you.”
Camping north of Santa Barbara: “I woke up way too early and way too wet. But it was really fun. Six kids — six of ‘em. Including one of our young ones. Angie as well. It’s a great thing, a great thing. Then we drove nine kids three hours in an Econovan. The kind you take a crew in, with bench seats. No other vehicle is big enough. There’s no car we fit in as a family. Everything else holds seven, eight tops. An SUV only holds seven. And we had nine — our six and three friends. Eleven, including us. It’s no frills, man. I’d love to have it all tricked out, shag carpet on all four walls. But we live in a different world. We rent our vehicles. We don’t want things so identifiable because we don’t want to get followed. We spend a lot of time trying to evade the paparazzi. It’s a big annoyance. But everything in life’s a trade-off….”
The ‘troubled production’ of WWZ: Pitt dismisses the notion that Z has been any more troubled than any other enormously troubled movie. He says that its notoriety came about “because of me — there’s a big bull’s-eye on my back.” What he does admit is that Z is a “big, big bet” for both Plan B and Paramount, “with a lot of money on the table,” and that he had a lot to learn about what it takes to make a big commercial movie. “You gotta be able to make it pop,” he says. “You have to keep paying off, keep paying off, and in order to do that you have to be able to set the trap and snap it at the right moment. There are guys who are just great at that, and I didn’t understand how technically sharp you have to be to pull off some of that stuff.”
In the newest Esquire excerpt (go here to read it), the writer glosses over the reported tension between Brad and WWZ’s director Mark Forster. Brad hand-selected Forster to direct because – as Brad says in the piece – he thought Forster “would know how to keep building character even when his character is living up to his summertime obligation to kick some undead ass.” But then Brad spent most of his time finding technicians who could actually do the action-drama stuff while Forster was off “building character” and Brad says he was “more hands on” than he’d ever been. What I get from this excerpt is that Brad owns WWZ, for better or for worse. If the film is a box office disaster, Brad knows he’s going to have a hard time getting financing for future projects. But if the film makes money… well, I guess Brad will own that too. He will be responsible for saving my generation’s Ishtar or Heaven’s Gate.
Cover photo courtesy of Esquire.