Brad Pitt: ‘I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot’

Brad Pitt was chosen as one of the actors profiled for the New York Times Magazine’s Great Performances feature. This is not really the awards-season feature I look forward to the most – something about the fact that it’s with the NYT Magazine, this series usually comes across as very fart-sniffy and pretentious. So it is with Brad Pitt, who – to his credit – tries to limit the fart-sniffing with his “aw shucks” answers. Still, he agreed to this! He swore he wasn’t going to campaign for an Oscar and look at him, aw-shucksing his way through a campaign. He’ll probably win too. You can read the full profile here. Some highlights from the piece:

What he brought to his OUATIH & Ad Astra characters: “With Cliff it’s connected to my dad, the way he carries himself. It’s also the iconic figures like Butch and Sundance and in Clint Eastwood movies. Then it’s where I am in my life. I don’t care who you are, life is struggle. It’s how you perceive those struggles. As I’ve gotten older, I take them more as another day in the office, acceptance of what the day throws you. And in “Ad Astra,” we were looking at this idea of being older, being a dad. You become more aware of your shortcomings. You look into starting to break some of that open, which is not always comfortable.”

Whether he’s lied on camera: “I must have somewhere. Some days you’re drowning on set. You just can’t quite get there.

There was a shift in his career starting in 2004: “You’re absolutely right. I’m happy someone could read that. It was really a turn on “Troy.” I was disappointed in it. When you’re trying to figure things out in your career, you get a lot of advice. People are telling you that you should be doing this, and other people are saying you should be doing that. There was this defining film I never got to do, a Coen brothers film called “To the White Sea.” We had an opportunity to go, and then it was shut down. Then another interesting opportunity arose, and instead I was talked into: “No, you need to be doing this other thing. You can get to your art project later.” I ended up taking that advice.

Why he had to do ‘Troy’: “I had to do “Troy” because — I guess I can say all this now — I pulled out of another movie and then had to do something for the studio. So I was put in “Troy.” It wasn’t painful, but I realized that the way that movie was being told was not how I wanted it to be. I made my own mistakes in it. What am I trying to say about “Troy”? I could not get out of the middle of the frame. It was driving me crazy. I’d become spoiled working with David Fincher. It’s no slight on Wolfgang Petersen. “Das Boot” is one of the all-time great films. But somewhere in it, “Troy” became a commercial kind of thing. Every shot was like, Here’s the hero! There was no mystery. So about that time I made a decision that I was only going to invest in quality stories, for lack of a better term. It was a distinct shift that led to the next decade of films.

Whether he’s aware of his movie-star persona & how it affects people: “The answer is no. I mean, I’m aware of when a director is using my persona really well. Fincher in “Fight Club” was twisting it. In “Jesse James,” it was pretty blatant. But no, I’m not really aware, and I’m not sure I should be. I stopped reading all press about 2004. Not just reviews. I mean any magazine in the doctor’s office. Because some of it would bounce around like a rat in the skull. It would stay there, and it would inform some of my decisions and choices in work, in life, and I didn’t find any of it helpful…. I don’t go out of my way to avoid [the gossip], I just don’t seek it out. I don’t know how many women they’ve said I’ve been dating the last two or three years, and none of it’s true — I just flashed on something, but maybe it doesn’t mean anything.

He doesn’t walk into a room thinking ‘I’m a movie star!’: “Yeah, but you don’t know how you read. I’ve had moments where I’ve seen pictures of myself from years ago and gone, “That kid looks all right.” But I didn’t feel that way inside. I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot. I was too uncomfortable with all the attention. Then I got to a place where I was aware that I was imprisoning myself. Now I go out and live life, and generally people are pretty cool.”

[From The NYT]

“I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot.” Same. Man, the ‘90s were fun. We were all baked AF and hiding out constantly. What I found interesting was that… at no point does he acknowledge another reason for the shift in his public or career “persona” in 2004. I mean… at the start of 2004, he was one half of Hollywood’s golden couple and his image was “People’s Sexiest Man” starring in big studio movies. Then… Angelina Jolie happened. And his career changed around the same time. I’m not saying Jolie was the reason for everything, but she was PART of the change.

Brad Pitt at the Ad Astra press conference in Tokyo, Japan

Cover courtesy of the NYT Mag’s Instagram, photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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44 Responses to “Brad Pitt: ‘I spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot’”

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  1. (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

    I don’t think he’s being honest about his timeline. Didn’t JA say that BP spent most of their marriage on the couch, stoned? And I could swear alcohol was involved in the plane incident with AJ and the kids. Just another drug substituted.

    • Thanks says:

      No he said he spent the late 90’s, early 00’s laying on a couch smoking pot because his life/marriage wasn’t interesting.

      • Jadedone says:

        Oh the unnecessary shade

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        Thanks, if he was doing it BEFORE he got married, I don’t think it was his MARRIAGE that was uninteresting. It was HIM (the only coinciding factor in both).

      • lucy2 says:

        I think he’s just not as interesting as he wishes he was, and spends a lot of time brooding about it. That’s no one’s fault but his own.

      • BabyYoda says:

        I’ve always been annoyed by his acting. Just on the edge of major irritation. He did a film about Tibet w that fake orange hair & equally brassy Austrian accent- twas virtually unwatchable. He’s a beautiful looking man, but the wealth & handsome bubble = Cringey schmaltz.

  2. A Girl is No One says:

    He looks like Benicio Del Toro in the top picture

    • Nightsky says:

      Yes he does! I’ve heard BDT referred to before as the Spanish Brad Pitt. Although I’ve always thought BDT was the hotter of the two. And a better actor. I would love to see them do a movie together as brothers 😄

  3. CharliePenn says:

    Well. I warmed up towards him a bit reading this. He’s human. I don’t know details but I’ve heard he was not always good to his kids, and even bad to them maybe. I can’t stomach all that tabloid crap about his divorce so I never read much about it, but it made me sad to consider.
    Because besides any actions like that, he’s just navigating being a very very famous man, along with his own personal issues that we all have, and talented types are often complicated people who make their own lives harder for themselves than it needs to be.

  4. Jegede says:

    Well……………

    Going by the news of the past 2 years, Brad’s habits didn’t much change btw the 90s and the 00s.🤔🤔

  5. Stef says:

    He’s coming across better than usual in this interview.

    Ah the 90′s, I too spent it smoking weed and hiding out with friends. Best decade ever!

    We all have to grow up eventually though, ditch the spliffs, get out of our shells and become functioning adults/parents. Maybe for Brad, that will be in this late 50′s – sixties…

    • Jadedone says:

      I think there are plenty of functioning adults who smoke weed. I think its ridiculous that people think its acceptable to criticize people who smoke weed while holding a glass of wine.

      • Well said. I smoke pot everyday. Rarely drink. I used to be prescriped Xanax for anxiety and haven’t taken that or had a panic attacks in the 5 years I’ve been smoking weed now. I’m a highly functional professional and mother. I hate the stoner stereotype.. I’m not lazy nor do I have an increased appetite after using. Everyone is different.

      • Erinn says:

        LOL, I think there would be a lot of people surprised by the amount of weed smokers out there. People that they consider very successful ‘functioning adults’ can manage to smoke responsibly while maintaining a healthy social life and career.

      • Mo says:

        Yeah, but there are also people who wake and bake and fritter their life away. If the days you are able to work pay as well as Brad’s, you end up OK. If you are trying to run a blue collar business, you end up with a bitter ex-wife and kids who hate you.

        It’s the same as alcohol, yes people drink responsibly, but a substantial minority don’t. And don’t get too high and mighty about booze, the industry is built to serve alcoholics. The top 10% of drinkers buy 60% of the alcohol.

      • Stef says:

        Hi Jadeone,

        Please know I was speaking for myself here about “adulting” and not trying to put any stereotypes on anyone else. I still smoke a little herb when I feel like it. In no way way do I try and pass judgement onto anyone else who may, or may not, choose to indulge, drink, smoke etc. To each their own so long as no one else is being hurt.

        Cheers, Stef

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Jadedone, exactly.

        JessicaWakefield, first…I’d like to say that I LOVE YOUR SCREEN NAME. Sweet Valley High 4EVA! second, glad to hear you found a med that works for you. I think that, if I didn’t smoke the good stuff, I’d likely be on some type of anti-anxiety meds. weed helps me relax and, frankly, think more calmly, clearly and rationally.

      • Jadedone says:

        Appreciate the follow up Stef, cheers!

      • enike says:

        @Mo
        ” If the days you are able to work pay as well as Brad’s, you end up OK. If you are trying to run a blue collar business, you end up with a bitter ex-wife and kids who hate you.”

        well, Brad ended up with a bitter ex-wife (Jolie) and kids who (apparently) hate him

        so no big difference between blue collar and white collar, I guess

      • m says:

        @enike
        Brad ended up with an ex wife that actually cares about the kids and takes care of them all unlike him. The bitter one has always been him because she left him and he’s ego was hurt. Funny how you say she’s a bitter ex wife with no proof but say “apparently” when saying kids hate him, something that even his own sources are helping to prove.

      • Lady D says:

        Yeah, I don’t think she’s bitter either. It’s just not in her DNA. Then throw in the fact that she’s good friends with both exe’s, and she just doesn’t come across as bitter at all. She actually was exuding a wounded animal vibe for a while, glad that’s passed.

    • Carol says:

      @stef. I agree. Pitt finally seems to be working on understanding what an adult is. He always came across as a nice person. people I know who have worked with him said he was the nicest guy on the set and everybody loved him. Yet Pitt seems to struggle with personal relationships whether its with either of his wives or children. Maybe in his 50s and 60s he can finally grow up

    • Leonz says:

      So to be an “adult” and “grow up” you need to stop smoking/indulging in thc, get a house and become a parent? That is a ridiculous comment. I am a very functional smoker and enjoy edibles as well. And I don’t abuse narcotics or alcohol. I don’t have kids nor do I want them but I am a great auntie and close with my friends’ children. Like everything, moderation. Sorry, never wanted to be one of the Joneses- THAT is a nightmare to me.

  6. Lowrider says:

    Brad hated his life personally and professionally in the late 90’s early 2000s. He sure loves to remind people just how miserable his life was even though he was a big movie star married into a golden coupling.
    He is one weird dude.

  7. Michelle says:

    This is all part of his non-campaign. He can talk in circles about being a dad & shortcomings all he wants, but it doesnt change the fact that he & his team have been planting hit jobs in the press against Angelina for last 3 yrs & his eldest children want nothing to do with him. He’s not the charming, sweet mid-western golden boy people think he is.

    • cee says:

      I agree. There is a reason he chose the Hollywood lifestyle. It is who he is. Glitzy and fake and full of PR stories that torture those of us who have long memories.

  8. Cindy says:

    I don’t think he was that great in OUATIH. That Spahn Ranch scene was great and memorable yes but not because of Brad. As someone who thinks Leo is one of the most overrated actors ever, I thought he was the one who really shined in that movie tbh.

    • Grant says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I was expecting some kind of tour de force performance from Brad based on all the reviews… yet when I watched the movie, I feel like he was just playing Brad Pitt. Honestly, I found his performance mostly forgettable and thought Leo was the one who gave a really nuanced, layered performance.

    • Nightsky says:

      I agree he came across mostly as Brad playing Brad. Although that ending cinched my love of the movie and his character. But Brandy was the true star in my opinion. She stole every scene she was in.

  9. jade says:

    I agree, he is being childish not mentioning that Angie played a big part in his life after 2004, and changed him as a person, he became a father, he became more popular and was able to choose better roles for himself being sought after by big the studios as part of Brangelina couple, at the same he became successful as a producer. I guess, he has not moved on yet up to know.

    Also all the things that he said about not reading tabloids and any shit about him in the press was an influence from Angie and as well as being accessible to the fans, giving authographs and taking photos with them. I dont think Brad was that open and generous to his fans during premieres or events pre- angie days.

    • Sidewithkids says:

      Exactly. I’m glad someone gets it. Remember these last two movies he did, Angie was there w/ him when he picked them. I’m still convinced Angie helped BP as she took a bit of a backseat to him, taking care of the kids while he acted and produced more and I’m still convinced even tho he had that, he became jealous of her and her success esp internationally.

      After Feb., people will pass out awards and then he will be dropped, no one will care about him except his stans but let’s face facts dude is 56 and he does look it, he’s aging out of HW and he’s he’s trying so hard not too. He will try to hang onto Angie’s name b/c every time she says something, here comes an article about him and prob badmouth her a couple more times next year b/c she has movies coming out but believe me BP will go back to being this same guy he talks about here b/c that’s who he is ultimately. He has nothing underneath and uses women (like he’s using JA right now in the tabloids and JA just needs it too). He tried to find a younger actress/woman (Sienna Miller, this professor, Alia Shawat, which is the funniest of all of them) but he couldn’t get one his stans really liked other than Charlize Theron but she wasn’t playing his games so he’s going back to old reliable JA. Lol. It’s quite funny to me b/c it’s so obvious and you have to be dumber than bricks not to see it.

      Look at Angie tho, just minding her business. All their attention seeking (for her attention btw) and she goes on loving her life. Look how you hear nothing from her. It was always him and CAA running to the tabloids to prompt him up.

      I’m glad Angie finally saw the light and is out of all this mess. Bring on the divorce so she can really be rid of him and subsequently JA as well.

    • Lowrider says:

      He will never credit Angelina.

      Brad returned to CAA’s micro-managing of his personal and professional life. The micro-managing that made him so unhappy in the lates 90s – early 00′s that had him sitting on his couch bonging his life into oblivion. Brad and Jen were initially set up by their agents and relentlessly promoted as Hollywood’s golden couple. Their agents are just re-booting what they wanted to happen before Jolie entered the frame. Brad and Jen will tag team through out the awards season for PR, but then it will be interesting to see what he does after the awards are complete.

  10. jbyrdku says:

    I do that now. Hideout and smoke pot. Nothing wrong with it.

    • Booie says:

      Agreed. I don’t like the guy but people look down on smoking yet are perfectly ok with consuming alcohol.

      I mean I understand BP clearly has a substance abuse problem with alcohol and that’s clearly an issue but if you can responsibly consume a glass of wine at dinner or a couple beers, then you can responsibly smoke a joint every once in a while.

  11. tealily says:

    Hm, maybe the shift isn’t because of his relationship with Jolie, but the end of his marriage to Aniston/ beginning of his relationship with Jolie was part of him making all of these broader changes in his life.

  12. Katherine Hughes says:

    If I was Brad, I would be so mad that they made that pic the cover- he looks horrible!! Especially since he has been looking so great recently.

  13. Trish-a says:

    Spending the 90’s smoking pot only reminds me of him saying he was bored being married to Jen. He’s off the NYE party list!!! I really don’t care about him but found that so hurtful. Yes, he is missing a empathy chip. And that phrase will never go away!

    • enike says:

      it was a “sensitivity chip”, if we want to preserve that phrase correctly

      empathy chip and sensitivity chip is the same, imho

  14. elle says:

    Whether it’s due to lip filler or just a particular look he aspires to, he holds his lips in a particular way in all recent photos and it makes him look… duckish? Something.

  15. ranny says:

    Too much of Brad Pitt these days, and im sure we’ll hear leading to the oscar awards.. I dont know what to make of what he says in his interviews, he just give snippets and always just want he wants to say. I blame it to the interviewers also, I dont why they dont ask him the most controversial questions, like what happened on then plane, how’s his relationship with the oldest child, does he still talk to his kids Mom, etc. Are these questions not allowed by his PR team?

  16. Kkat says:

    I always thought Brad was a crappy actor. He always looked like a boy to me, not a man. The first time he was interesting to me was when he got with Jolie.

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  18. Annaloo. says:

    Maybe he spent the 90′s on the couch smoking pot bc he was dating Gwyneth? I mean, wouldnt you be on the couch smoknig pot all the time if you were dating Gwyneth?