In observing my peers, I developed a theory: the people that were raised within conservative, religious families are always the ones who go buckwild in adulthood. Of course that’s not always the case. If it was, all of the Duggar kids would be marching in Pride Parades. But I do think that in many cases, raising kids in conservative, religious households tends to backfire on the parents once the kids become adults. Take Brad Pitt – raised in a deeply conservative, Republican family, raised in the Southern Baptist church… and nowadays, he’s an atheist and a political leftie. Brad sat down with The Telegraph Magazine to discuss that and much more. Some highlights:
On ‘By the Sea’: “It’s very subtle and European in its cadence, and its palette. Which is really surprising, because neither one of us is well versed in that. There are no explosions, no earth-shifting events, no big, shocking tales. The whole movie takes place in a cafe, a hotel room and a car. That’s it. I mean, it doesn’t get much more sparse. It’s very quiet, but elegant – it’s such an elegant film.”
His real-life marriage: “Certainly the attrition rate of Hollywood couples looms large. And I’m surprised how much our history – Angie’s and mine – means to me. That we have this story together. That we know each other. That we watch each other getting older, through amazing moments, joys, pains. That we know each other. It means so much to me. I don’t know. I’m just surprised, because you hear people talking about the old ball and chain, and people trying to recapture youth, as if that’s the impulse – but it’s not the impulse, it’s not the impulse at all.’
He wanted more kids: “Listen, Angie and I were aiming for a dozen, but we crapped out after six.”
His background: A Baptist upbringing, ‘with all the Christian guilt about what you can and cannot, should and shouldn’t do’. (He now describes himself as an atheist.) His father was ‘very, very tough’, but not, he says, in the ‘father knows best’ way. ‘He could be a softie. But one thing my folks always stressed was being capable, doing things for yourself. He was really big on integrity – and that informed a lot of what [we] try to do now.’
Is he the disciplinarian of the family? ‘I am with the boys. Girls do no wrong so I don’t have to be. I feel like my job is to show ’em around, help them find what they want to do with their life, put as many things in front of them, and pull them back when they get out of line, so they know who they are.’
How Angelina Jolie changed his life: ‘I think you can see it in my work. I was a pretty good actor before, but definitely hit and miss. I think I became a really good actor. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with age and wisdom too. But I see an absolute shift from the day I started my family. And I think it’s because family – and certainly kids and a stable relationship – is something bigger than yourself. They need you to sit down with them, be there for them when they wake up in the middle of the night… also I’m more efficient with it, because it’s taking me away from them. I don’t f— about. I get in there, I get the job done, and I go home. You know, nowadays I really can’t wait to get home. More than at any time in my life, I’ve got purpose – real purpose. It feels like I’ve found my place.’
He also refers to Angelina as a “matador” about their schedules and making sure the kids have everything in their lives organized. He also offered up some advice for the younger actors who seem to try to plan out their careers as one studio film, one small indie, etc, and Brad basically says that the younger guys should just focus on what they’re passionate about, which scripts move them.
As for the atheism… he’s actually talked about that stuff before, so I’m not really surprised. He’s made references to religion not working for him and to his rejection of his Southern Baptist upbringing. That being said, I think he’s still really close to his family, and Brad, Angelina and the kids make regular trips to Missouri to spend time with the whole Pitt clan.
Photos courtesy of WENN.