Brad Pitt compares the end-of-era Manson murders to the Weinstein situation

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If you’ve seen Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, nothing in this post will be a spoiler. If you haven’t seen the film, I’ll be as cryptic as possible: Quentin Tarantino purposefully leaves the audience unsure about whether Brad Pitt’s character’s relationships with women. The ambiguity is probably Tarantino’s way of showing the “not every predator is all-bad, and not every good guy does the right thing” argument. Which is interesting given… well, Brad Pitt’s own life these days, and why Angelina Jolie ghosted him and filed for divorce and all that. It’s also interesting given the additional context of Tarantino’s long-time creative partnership with Harvey Weinstein, a serial predator, abuser, rapist and sexual harasser. But sure, let’s have Brad Pitt make a Harvey Weinstein reference in a discussion about “end of an era” Hollywood.

There are always events in history which mark the end of an era. During an interview with The Sunday Times, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood costars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio opened up about the massive impact the Manson family murders, which are depicted in the new film, had on Hollywood — and the parallels that can be seen today.

“When my parents described it, it was as the end of this idealized revolution,” DiCaprio, 44, explained. “My parents are still hippies, but it was the loss of this dream. As Quentin [Tarantino] describes, you sort of portray this utopia, but there is a mildew around the canvas that brought the darkness of humanity into play and ended a lot of my parents’ hopes for how they could infuse that ‘love and peace’ ideology into the rest of the world. It all sort of crashed, and ended so much that some talk of it as a conspiracy. It was the total end of an era — immediately.”

Pitt, who was 5 years old at the time of Tate’s death, also weighed in: “People started locking doors again. We were coming off a tumultuous decade of assassinations and the free-love and civil rights movements, and, as I understand it, there was still hope. But when this hit? And even rich white celebrities were in danger? No one was safe. Even people living the dream.”

When asked if anything has “rattled Hollywood” in a similar way, Pitt was quick to respond. “Harvey Weinstein,” he replied, later asking: “Can I say that?” After Pitt questioned whether his response was in “bad taste,” he was asked if he was referring to, as the writer put it, “a similar loss of innocence in a world that was cocooned and thought of in a glorified way. It’s more that I think we’re getting recalibrated,” Pitt clarified. “But in a good way.”

In addition to speaking about Weinstein, the two stars talked about masculinity and how the idea around it has changed.

“When I started, I loved Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn,” Pitt told the newspaper. “I loved them because there was a toughness to them, which was how the male I’d grown up being taught about was meant to be. But they were also vulnerable, raw and open, and I always appreciated that. What I see now is a new masculinity, especially with people who have gone through Hollywood and its recalibration, a new male who is more vulnerable. I’m not talking mushiness — I mean a man who owns his own flaws and is aware of them and open about it. And vulnerable, with real feelings, rather than being this macho, trying-to-be-tough guy. But that might just be me in my old age, on my own trip, projecting onto everyone else.”

[From People & E! News]

Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke were both accused of assaulting girlfriends too, but when they were young, those were the two guys most young actors wanted to be. I’m not sure what that means.

What do you think of Brad’s comparison to the Weinstein situation being an “end of an era” in Hollywood similar to the Manson murders? I don’t know. It’s difficult to judge whether the Weinstein situation really changed anything, because we’re not even two years past the initial revelations. Weirdly, I sort of see Brad’s point – the revelation with the Weinstein situation was that Weinstein was preying on every type of woman, even massively famous women, women who everyone assumed were “protected” by money and fame and access. That was what made the #MeToo movement so powerful and so tragic – the realization that so many men are abusive scum and that so many women, from all backgrounds and socio-economic statuses, were all victims and survivors. But did Hollywood change after that? To be continued…

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt attending the 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' premiere during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2019 in Cannes, France | usage worldwide

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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13 Responses to “Brad Pitt compares the end-of-era Manson murders to the Weinstein situation”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Damn it! my post got eaten.

    Anyway, to sum up again bc it was long – my first thought upon reading this headline was “omg Brad, STFU.”

    But then after reading more of the context, I can kind of see his point? Weinstein and #metoo is a fairly concise moment in Hollywood history and it will be interesting to see how that impacts Hollywood going forward. Things are starting to change, but its slow. Maybe in 20 years we will have a better idea of the impact of MeToo.

    I also think in many ways Weinstein-era Hollywood was a bit of a golden age – big stars, big movies, splashy awards campaigns, etc. So looking back and realizing how much ugly stuff was going on behind the scene – its a bit disconcerting and troubling. I think for 1960s Hollywood the same can be said – it seemed to many like a fun, happy, sunny time, but the Manson murders sort of reset things and made people realize what was under the surface.

    I don’t know. I think its a weird comparison to make, and I think Brad Pitt, working on a movie with QT, with an ambiguous storyline about his wife, and his own personal problems – probably should not have made it.

    • Pixie says:

      Yeah, I kind of see his point too. It isn’t the most eloquent or thoughtful of comparisons but they were both hugely impactful events that shaped Hollywood and beyond. A good friend of mine is currently writing her Masters’ thesis on the impact of Harvey Weinstein and Me Too on rape culture in the workplace and it has certainly affected industries far beyond just Hollywood. I guess only time will tell if it truly made a difference. Also, its always odd and tone-deaf to me how people romanticize the 50′s and 60′s in America when it seems like it was a horrific time for anyone that wasn’t a wealthy, white man.

  2. ds says:

    Sorry for spoiler but if anything the film proves things haven’t really changed that much. Here goes Tarantino altering the history and all he ends up doing is giving Leos character a chance to get inside cool Hollywood new crew and failing to destroy one person who planned the murders – Manson himself.

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      I would argue he made Manson irrelevant. He was barely in the film and IRL Manson did not take part in the murders, just told everyone else what to do. If the first set of murders had failed, what do you think Manson/his followers would have done, particularly because they built him into this “Jesus” figure.

      I can see why Debra Tate approved of the film.

  3. Sierra says:

    No just no Brad, one is a horrible murder while the other is a serial rapist.

    Brad seems to be seriously messed up and all the alcohol seems to have damaged his brains.

    And you are right Kaiser, he should not have acted in this movie while still trying to repair his relationship with his children and ex wife.

    • Mac says:

      I don’t think Brad is comparing rape to murder, he is pointing out two significant turning points in the film industry.

  4. Mia4s says:

    Yeah I’m not much for Pitt these days but it’s not a bad analogy. Especially for those of us who were following Hollywood and the Oscars in the 90s. It was a golden age (!) of indie cinema (!), Art (!), It Girls (!!). But the world is and remains awful.

    Now even the most naive know it was actually a well protected cesspool of rape, abuse, bullying, and bought awards (which continues). The male heroes and heartthrobs and rebels were mostly in on the abuse, or complicit cowards.

    Tarantino as it turns out was both…which in the context of this movie is interesting. Gives a loving tribute to Sharon Tate but f**k all the living women you could have been there for right Quentin? 🙄

  5. Carol says:

    I didn’t get that Brad Pitt compared Manson’s murders to Weinstein as both being responsible to an end of an era. The journalist asked them what they thought rattled the entertainment community as much as the Manson’s murders and Pitt said Weinstein which I kind of agree. The accusations against Weinstein really forced the industry to at least publicly recognize how pervasive the mistreatment of women by powerful perverts was/is in the industry and how these perverts were sheltered by the industry as a whole.

    On a side note- I cant wait to see Tarantino’s movie! It looks horrible but it has received some good reviews.

    • MoreSalt says:

      I took it as end of the innocence regarding power dynamics and harassment, and the upending of the ‘boys will be boys’ power player mentality. I bet it was eye-opening realizing that ‘the way things have always been’ was full of problems, problems he was never forced to acknowledge before. Sucks finding out your friends are garbage people.

      I think the ‘rattling of Hollywood’ was a lot of people going “holy shit guys things are actually pretty abusive and rape-filled around here.” I genuinely don’t think it had occurred to a lot of them before.

  6. Kate says:

    I think learning that Leo’s parents are hippies is the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen him reveal in an interview.

    • schmootc says:

      I remember seeing photos of his Dad somewhere and yeah, there is no question about him being a hippie.

    • Becks1 says:

      Definitely hippies lol. I remember googling once after seeing his mom at an awards show and I was like, ohhhh. LOL.

      • Anne Call says:

        Leo went to my high school in Hollywood/Los Feliz/Silverlake area. The first family that was murdered by the Manson family (LaBiancos) lived a few blocks from our high school. Their kids went to local schools. It was terrifying and beyond scary. It’s a very hipster area now and was back in those days also. So his family and everyone else in LA felt very personally affected by the horrendous events.