Brad Pitt & Leo DiCaprio geeked out when they met Luke Perry on ‘OUATIH’

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino cover the latest issue of Esquire, and it’s surprisingly good. As in, I was genuinely surprised by how much fun this was to read. The three men are all interviewed at the same time, around the same couch, as they talk about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and their career journeys and what it all means. They gossip about what Hollywood was like in the ‘90s, and what it meant to work with Luke Perry (in one of his final roles in OUATIH), and how this is a movie about Hollywood. Leo and Brad have an easy sort of chemistry and it feels like they have a lot of respect for each other in general. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Tarantino on OUATIH: “This film is the closest thing I’ve done to Pulp Fiction…[it’s] probably my most personal. I think of it like my memory piece. Alfonso [Cuarón] had Roma and Mexico City, 1970. I had L. A. and 1969. This is me. This is the year that formed me. I was six years old then. This is my world. And this is my love letter to L. A.”

Brad liked the dynamic between his character and Leo: “Doing this with Leo was really cool and a rare opportunity. Then there was just the whole thing, where we all grew up with the lore of the lead actor and his stuntman. That relationship and craft. I mean, there are epic stories of these duos: Burt Reynolds had Hal Needham. Steve McQueen had Bud Ekins. Kurt Russell had his guy. Harrison Ford had his. These guys were partners for decades. And it’s something that is not the same in our generation, as the pieces became more movable.

Brad on the youths: “The positive of the new landscape is you see more people getting opportunities. But I see something else happening with the younger generations. I was dismayed at how many twenty-year-olds have never seen Godfather, Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men—these films that are in the Bible to me. And they may not even get to see them. I’ve always believed every good film finds its eyes, inevitably. But there’s a shift in attention span. I’ve been hearing from newer generations that they’re used to something shorter, quicker, big jump, and get out. And the streaming services work that way; you can move on to the next one if you’re enticed. What I always loved about going to a cinema was letting something slowly unfold, and to luxuriate in that story and watch and see where it goes. I’m curious to see if that whole form of movie watching is just out the window with the younger generations. I don’t think so completely.

Brad’s tragic Hollywood story: “I remember back in the early days I hung out with Brandon Lee. He drove a hearse and lived in Echo Park. We went out one night and everyone else had peeled off, and we ended up back at his place and it was like six in the morning. A real, you know, drunk and stony night, and he proceeded that night to tell me how he thought he was going to die young like his dad. And I just chalked it up to, you know, stony 6:00 a.m. talk. Then he got The Crow the next year.

Leo’s tragic Hollywood story: “I have one. One of the most ominous and sad ones. I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand. And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in Vertigo, because I saw there was something in his face, and I’d never met him—always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him—and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze. And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone. I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, “Where did he go?” And he was . . . on his way to the Viper Room. It was almost as if—I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends. The actor we all talked about. Just to be able to have that, always wanting to just—and I remember extending my hand out, and then . . . Two people came in front and then I looked back, and then he wasn’t there. [Pauses.] I actually flew later to New Orleans to meet about Interview with the Vampire to play the part Christian Slater ended up playing. [Phoenix had been cast in the role.]

Brad on getting to work with Burt Reynolds: “Well, you’ve gotta understand, for me, growing up in the Ozarks and watching Smokey and the Bandit, you know, he was the guy. Virile. Always had something sharp to say—funny as sh-t. A great dresser. Oh, man. And I had never met him, so being there with him reminded me of how much I enjoyed him as a kid. And then getting to spend those days with him in rehearsal, I was really touched by him.

Leo on Luke Perry: “And for that matter, you know, Luke Perry! [Perry plays Scott Lancer, another fictitious TV actor.] I remember my friend Vinny, who is in the film as well, we walked in and we both had this butterfly moment of like, “Oh my God, that’s Luke Perry over there!”

Brad on Luke: “That’s Luke f–king Perry!” We were like kids in the candy shop because I remember going to the studios and [Beverly Hills, 90210] was going on and he was that icon of coolness for us as teenagers. It was this strange burst of excitement that I had, to be able to act with him. Man, he was so incredibly humble and amazing and absolutely committed. He couldn’t have been a more friendly, wonderful guy to spend time with. I got to sit down and have some wonderful conversations with him. It was really special.

[From Esquire]

What they say about Luke is so nice, and it’s weird to think of Leo and Brad – who have been considered the “coolest” Hollywood guys for decades – geeking out about Luke Perry, but really – Luke was the model for their fame too. Both Brad and Leo (especially Leo) started out as that kind of Teen Beat coverboy with the hair and the sensitive misunderstood-outsider vibe. I also found their sad/weird Hollywood stories fascinating – I don’t know if Leo has ever told that story about River before? And I’ve never heard Brad speak about Brandon Lee either.

Once upon a time in Hollywood premiere at Cannes Film festival

Cover courtesy of Esquire, additional photos courtesy of WENN.

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73 Responses to “Brad Pitt & Leo DiCaprio geeked out when they met Luke Perry on ‘OUATIH’”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    Pitt is older than Perry and it’s hilarious to hear him go on like Luke was older. Leo sounds more genuine in his geeking out than Pitt. But Pitt saying he looked up to Burt Reynolds? That explains a lot, imo.

    • Original Jenns says:

      EXACTLY. Sorry, sounds like he just wanted to be one of the cool kids admiring Luke Perry, and didn’t know what to say.

      • Eliza says:

        Yup. A good man died young. He worked with them on the production and the question is going to keep coming up. As if Brad and Leo were excited a tv actor was in their orbit on set… but they can’t say that. I’m sorry they just feel fake, especially Pitt, with these comments.

      • Kebbie says:

        Luke Perry was iconic by ANY standards. He was beloved in and out of Hollywood, and he was a hugely famous heartthrob before Leo or Brad had their big breaks. Calling him a “tv actor” like that somehow makes him less than is gross. Maybe you’re projecting your own prejudices onto Brad and Leo.

      • Steph says:

        Brad Pitt lived with Jason Priestly when 90210 began. I think it makes sense that he went to the studios with Jason and hung out with Luke during the first stages of fame.

    • ATLMathMom says:

      Came here to say exactly that. BP is older than me, and I was in my early 20s when 90210 started. Seems kind of disingenuous on his part.

    • SKF says:

      So I read this quote and went whaaaaa…? I looked it up. Brad is 3 years older than Luke. Luke had his breakout role in ‘90 in 90210 when he was 24. Brad was 27. So I don’t know why Brad was talking about loving him as a teenager? That was weird! Nevertheless, in terms of fame, Luke hit massive fame a few years before Brad or Leo. Brad and Leo both had their breakout films a few years later and then consolidated that into bigger and bigger roles. It is crazy to think that Luke was way bigger than both of them for a few years though! I remember he was called the James Dean of the 90s at the time. I loved them fan-girling over him!

      Gotta say, I’ve always wondered if Leo would have been so big if River hadn’t died… similar to: would the Hemsworths have been so big if Heath was still alive? And on the subject of the Hensworths and this interview, Chris is really tight with his stunt guy Bobby Dazzler. Bobby is one of his besties and one of the people involved in his new fitness app. Jason Momoa is also tight with his stunt guys and got them small acting roles on his tv show Frontier (hilariously I know one of them! So hot…) Keanu is also supposedly close to his stunt guys and buys them amazing gifts like motorbikes.

      • holly hobby says:

        Well to be fair the story about Brad in awe may have been true. The age was probably incorrect because he finished high school before he moved to LA. Him talking about seeing Luke Perry at the studio may have been his starving actor years – not necessarily teenage years.

        Luke was somebody before Brad became famous. So the context was right.

        I found Brandon Lee to be so troubled. His life was tragic.

      • perplexed says:

        I can believe he was excited seeing Luke Perry, but I really don’t get why he said “for us as teenagers.” Brad Pitt was not a teenager! What weird phrasing. I’m a little puzzled as to why he said it like that unless he was having some kind of brain-freeze moment or something.

      • entine says:

        Maybe Brad was referring to the time as when he was a teen, not when Luke “made it”.
        I try to remember the 70s, 80s shows, there was not a show for teens that exploded like 90210 did, and the aura of Luke Perry’s character Dylan was that of a modern James Dean, in a rich, misunderstood, -bad-boyish- poor richie rich kid setting. That was different that more relatable and moral Brandon character.
        Of course the male actors would’ve want to play the Luke Perry character.

    • An18 says:

      Wasn’t Brad Pitt roommates with Jason Priestley (aka Brandon Walsh)?

      • Ann says:

        He was! I have Jason Priestley’s memoir and he has a few stories about Brad in it. That was my first thought about this before I read the article. It’s possible that they may have never met but Priestley talks about parties they had and I find it unlikely that Brad and Luke had never met.

  2. Lucy says:

    That bit about Luke was lovely. It’s impressive how so many people have all these great stories about him, considering how low-key he seemed to be. I still can’t believe he’s gone, and it sounds like neither can they.

  3. crogirl says:

    Wait, how old was Brad Pitt when BH90210 was shooting? Certainly not a teenager LOL

    • elimaeby says:

      I thought the same thing. I was in elementary school when that was big, so if he were a teen, he’s be in his 40s at the oldest. LOL.

    • Originaltessa says:

      He’s 3 years older, both in their early 20’s when 90210 started. I’m sure Brad was still auditioning for “teen” parts at that time. Luke was the cool guy that got the big tv gig. I can see all the young actors taking notice.

    • lingli says:

      Well, with a bit of research on IMDb and Wikipedia,it appears that Brad is 3 years older than Luke (born 1963 and 1966, respectively) but BH90210 started in 1989 and Brad’s breakthrough role in Thelma and Louise wasn’t until 1991 – and even then that didn’t propel him into the stratosphere the way that Luke was through 90210. So I guess I could see him being a bit starstruck. Neither or them were teenagers at that point, though, although Leo would have been – he was born in 1974.

      • Becks1 says:

        90210 started in 1989?? No wonder my parents didn’t let me watch it, lol, I was 7! I just remember my older sister was allowed to watch it and I was so jealous.

      • crogirl says:

        “So I guess I could see him being a bit starstruck. Neither or them were teenagers at that point, though, although Leo would have been – he was born in 1974.”

        LOL Exactly. I have no doubt he was starstruck but dude we all know you weren’t a teenager. If BH started in 1989 he was 26 and complete adult.

      • Alissa says:

        @Becks I also remember my sister and older cousins getting to watch it and being mad I couldn’t. I didn’t realize it was on the air for so long though – I was born in 1989!

    • Amide says:

      Even odder, since Jason Priestley and Pitt were once roommates.😳👀

    • Kebbie says:

      Lol he’d have been 26 in the first year of the show. I get what he meant, but yeah, definitely not a teenager.

    • Seraphina says:

      Yeah, I was trying to do the math in that one too.

  4. LolaB says:

    I’m going to have to read the whole interview now.

    Did Quentin not hear the Esquire photographer tell everyone to squint on the count of 3?

  5. Becks1 says:

    I do think hearing older Hollywood types – people like these, who have been in the business for decades at this point – sitting around and talking is just fascinating, even if you have issues with who they are as people. There are so many stories, so many bits of gossip, people like Leo and Brad probably have “a story” about basically everyone in Hollywood over the age of 25/30.

    • Kebbie says:

      These kinds of articles that are like listening in to famous people talk with each other are my favorite.

    • Abby says:

      Yeah, I really like that part too. And not just trash talking, with some respect.

  6. Amide says:

    From reading that I got the impression Leo didn’t interact much with Luke.
    Brad’s comments were touching and personal. 😢😭

  7. Sierra says:

    I am sorry but I just cannot get around the fact that two of my fav actors are in a Tarantino movie.

    Tarantino is a horrible human being and I just can’t get past that. Extremely upset that Leo & Brad finally acting together but in a movie I won’t ever watch.

  8. Eyeroll says:

    That was a nice read. They do seem to have easy camaraderie and similar sensibilities. I do like this statement from BP thought: “The positive of the new landscape is you see more people getting opportunities.“ I haven’t seen this movie or read the full reviews so I don’t know how it plays out, but it’s easy to reminisce and long for the good old days of Hollywood and forget that many people were shut out from the industry for a long time. It’s important to give more people opportunities to tell their stories and I’m glad BP acknowledged that. Probably helps he’s made it a point to help provide those opportunities. The Luke Perry story was cute, but all BP’s part made me think was that he’s definitely older than Perry who wasn’t a teenager when the show started. I guess the point is that Perry was a famous actor that he was star struck by.

  9. Megan says:

    Young people reject the toxic masculinity of Cuckoo’s Nest, Godfather, and All the President’s Men and Leo blames that on streaming services? Someone needs to get a clue.

    • Becks1 says:

      Eh, I think he was right about that. Maybe not streaming services, but just the fact that there are endless choices right now. The reason I’ve seen Shawshank Redemption so many times isn’t because I love it (although I do think its a good movie), its because I remember years when it was the only movie airing on a Saturday afternoon lol.

      I don’t think young people today are like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? no thanks, I’ve heard its problematic.” I think they are more like, “I don’t want to watch a movie about birds.”

    • H says:

      All the President’s Men is important not just because it has Redford and Hoffman that the height of their careers, but because it tells the story of investigative journalists who were writing about Nixon and Watergate. My students couldn’t fathom Watergate when I would teach it, but put a movie in? Then visually they could see what Woodward and Bernstein went through to publish about Nixon’s White House.

    • Original T.C. says:

      It sounds too much like “get off my lawn”. I’m pretty sure when they were younger, older actors were going on about how Hollywood is going downhill hiring pretty boys like Leo and Brad instead of actors of substance! People who are interested find good films to watch regardless of the generation.

      I have seen all the films he named, however I don’t watch other films considered “classics” because it’s always some old guy in his 40’s and 50’s with a leading lady or love interest in their early 20’s. And this film for example is going to have these older guys but the female lead can’t be in their age group. If they are playing younger actors why not hire younger male actors? It’s ridiculous and older women will continue seeing these films and rewarding the exclusion of their age group.

    • stormsmama says:

      wasn’t that BRAD who said that?

    • perplexed says:

      I think it was Brad Pitt who was talking about streaming services, not Leo.

    • Nic919 says:

      Young people are still watching films with toxic masculinity they just are not into “old films” outside of a few film nerds. Are we going to pretend that the avenger films are feminist manifestos? Or that the fast and the furious series has serious roles for women? Or Michael Bay films? I mean I could go on.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    River Phoenix. I so remember that. I remember reading Leo was gutted. And Luke Perry. You know I never really liked him until he was far away from 90210. It’s truly sad he’s gone because he was obviously a true gem. Listening to these guys discuss movies makes them sound really old lol. Yes, things are different now, but there’s still a desire to see history. Maybe on average newer generations haven’t seen The Godfather or Cuckoo’s Nest, but I think that falls to those with flatter brains lol. My children actually used IMBD lists as references for what to retroactively watch, and you know Godfather and Cuckoo’s Nest are near the top. Now, have they seen Bill and Ted or Car Wash or Orca? No. They have, unbelievably, seen every Rocky lol. Kids who want to become interesting adults normally delve into our past in order to understand our present. But my youngest can’t sit through anything yet except for back-to-back My Little Pony. : [

    • Becks1 says:

      We do a movie night every weekend, and we rotate who gets to pick the movie, mainly bc if my kids chose, it would be Cars every single weekend. They’re younger, so no Godfather yet, lol, but that is how we expose them to older movies so they aren’t just watching the newest releases every weekend.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I love it! It’s hard NOT to want watch old favorites with offspring.

      • Esmom says:

        We used to do that when my kids were younger and it was a great way to expose them to all sorts of stuff. Blues Brothers ended up becoming a huge favorite of theirs as a result. And my now 18-yo learned he loved Wes Anderson. A few years ago after watching Moonrise Kingdom he turned to me and said “I just want to live in that world, I want to be a Khaki Scout.” Lol. It was cool to see him so enthralled.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      Car Wash FTW! Nice reference.

    • Eleonor says:

      Leo has told the River story countless times, he always says how seeing River state that night was a cautionary tale for him about drugs.

      • Kebbie says:

        Yeah, I remember in one he said River was white as a ghost and obviously on something – or something to that effect.

  11. launicaangelina says:

    Their stories were very interesting and Luke Perry was forever cool. The Brandon Lee story was sad.

  12. Pineapple says:

    i just read the whole article. Man, old, white guys can really wax poetic about old, white guys. XO

  13. anp says:

    Question have these two guys ever hung out with Luke in the last 20 years, trying to promote this overrated film at the expense of Luke.

  14. Kris says:

    Jason Priestley actually was roommates with Brad Pitt in Hollywood when they were getting their start. I love the positive memories of Luke Perry. I still can’t believe he passed 😭

  15. Lala11_7 says:

    One of the NICEST things that has happened as of late…is hearing what a MAGNIFICENT human being Luke Perry…was….

    • Jb says:

      Indeed! But also heart breaking because he’s no longer here and that’s one less good guy in the world, one less decent human in Hollywood.

  16. No post :) says:

    I do liked those movies they are probably timeless and the cucu nest is also humourious? …
    .. I dont understand the side eye about him telling how he was star struckedupon meeting someone he think is cool at any age ….i probably would act like a teenager if i met brad or cr the footballer i intrgued and by etc etc…

  17. DS9 says:

    Brad is smoking all the crack talking about Perry like that.

    I’m 37, nearly 38. When I was a teenager, I had to sneak watch 90210 and my mother flat out refused to let me rent Legends of the Fall for my 15th birthday sleepover. These events happened in the house I only lived in for two years.

    Then we moved to Texas where I saw Titanic in the theater twice.

    • Esmom says:

      Eh, I tend to think he just meant that Perry was beloved by all teenagers, not trying to pretend that he was a teenager when he wasn’t.

      • perplexed says:

        He said “for us as teenagers.” Maybe he misspoke, but the phrasing is quite odd in this particular anecdote. Leo was a teenager, but Brad Pitt wasn’t.

    • Originaltessa says:

      Brad was a young actor in Hollywood and Luke got his break before him. They were close in age. He misspoke, but it’s pretty easy to discern what he meant. He was the BIG deal, way before Brad and Leo were.

  18. MrsDeAndre says:

    This was a great interview! But jeez Brad is such a tool 😂

  19. Case says:

    Totally disagree with Brad’s comment on streaming services. I’m in my mid 20s and I’ve seen SO MANY MOVIES because of streaming services that I wouldn’t otherwise think to watch or have access to. I’m a huge cinephile so I seek out the classics anyway, but Netflix suggests some movies that I know I should watch but wouldn’t necessarily think to search for.

    • Esmom says:

      I love it, but I tend to think you are an exception. My sons and their friends have watched The Office way, way, way too much. They have a few go-tos and usually ignore everything else. It can be overwhelming. It’s a lot different than checking the newspaper for show times, deciding on a film, and making it an event to go see it. That experience really seems to have dwindled.

      • HELEN says:

        “My sons and their friends have watched The Office way, way, way too much.”

        i feel attacked!! lol

    • entine says:

      I think netflixand TV in general, allows you to have many “tabs open”, and even several screens , TV, iPad, phone at the same time.
      I am one of those with several movies open that I haven’t finished. I know younger people (overall) that bore easily and jump from one song to the next just after hearing 10 seconds of it.
      Patience, absorbing/enjoying music or movies as a whole, enjoy a full record.That is mostly gone.
      I remember wanting to leave the movie theater when I was watching Farewell, my concubine or Dancer in the dark.I did not appreciated them at the time, but made it to the end. The art of paying attention and being patient regarding art is getting lost.
      I agree with you, tho, streaming has all the goodies.I am struggling because we love classic films and are so hard to find where I live. Netflix does¡t have the, TCM channel plays only cr*p in my country, so we search online, sometimes in obscure downloading sites for our classic movies and old series.

      • Tosca says:

        @Entine Netflix still has DVD mail service and ALL the great old movies are still available.

  20. ChiaMom says:

    Hate both of them and they way they treat women so much that although it’s almost cute I still hate them

    • Karen2 says:

      There was a newspaper that recently called ScarJo out for her ‘promiscuity’. They still havent labelled Leo ‘ageing Sugar Daddy.’ Lol.

  21. mar says:

    I like these interviews.

  22. jen says:

    I want to see this movie, but whenever I hear actors talking “about their craft” I just can’t take it seriously. All I can think of is Team America, which rips into every stereotype of acting lol.

  23. anp says:

    Luke Perry was a way better actor than Pitt.

  24. entine says:

    Brad and the Ozarks, really Angelina liked those midwestern men. The area is so beautiful.

  25. HELEN says:

    isn’t brad pitt *older* than luke perry? what is he even talking about?

    the “truuue” leo relented to when quentin got him about titanic was hilarious. like, dude, this is your life.

  26. A says:

    Okay. The stuff with Leo and River Phoenix and River Phoenix’s death….there’s so much more to it, there’s some really shady aspects to the story, some of it involving Johnny Depp so like. Just side-eyeing Leo here tbh.

  27. Misty says:

    Pitt used to hang with Joason Priestly in the early 90s so I have a hard time believing he didn’t know Perry (and he wasn’t a teen). I think it just sounds good.

  28. Katebush says:

    Oh I liked reading this interview. I’m sorry but I just love these two!