TAU Featurette: Brad Pitt


The Counsellor Released 22/11/2013

It's safe to say Brad Pitt is one of the biggest and most popular movie stars on the planet, and his personal life is plastered over media magazines all over the world. At nearly 45 years old, he has one of the most versatile careers in Hollywood and has the box office to prove it. With his new film, The Counsellor, out this week The Awesome Update has devoted a feature to examining his career.

William Bradley Pitt was born December 18, 1963, in Oklahoma. He worked in television until he was noticed for his small but memorable part in Thelma and Louise (1991); Pitt was an extremely good looking man, and he could have easily taken the heartthrob actor path and star in many soft, cheesy rom-coms – instead, he proved he was not just a pretty face, but a capable and talented actor with A River Runs Through It (1992) and True Romance (1993), in which he played the son of a Presbyterian minister and a stoner, respectively. It sometimes seems like have this image of Pitt - helped along by the media - that he is that good looking guy from Hollywood with the odd good film under his belt, but contrary to this belief The Awesome Update is going to shed light on an extremely impressive career.

 

Making and Impression in Thelma and Louise (1991)

In 1994, Pitt took on the decidedly different role of Louis, in Interview with The Vampire, and he again showed his obvious sex appeal as the 200 year old vampire with an interesting past, and there was a strong performance here with good chemistry opposite Tom Cruise – even though off screen the two apparently did not see eye to eye. He followed this success with Legends of the Fall (1994), a truly beautiful film in which he played Tristan Ludlow, one of three sons to Anthony Hopkins, living in the wilderness in early 1900’s America. Pitt plays a rebellious, solitary type, but is incredibly loyal to his brothers and family, with a terrible temper if crossed. This could possibly be my favourite Brad Pitt performance, and though it is not as well-known as it should be, this epic tale is definitely a must see for any film fan.

                                              

Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall and Se7en

As if taking on such range with those two films wasn’t enough, Pitt then took a darker turn with David Fincher’s Se7en (1995), where he plays a rookie detective searching for a serial killer who is basing his kills on the deadly sins. This is a thrilling piece of cinema with a host of acting talent, including Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. Pitt shows his real ability and range in this film, with a superb script to give his performance that extra shine.

Twelve Monkeys (1995) is a futuristic, time travel sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis. The film is good anyway, but it has a stand out performance from Pitt, who is so brilliant and hilarious you cannot look away. But if Brad Pitt was well known before, he hit the stratosphere when he played Tyler Durden in Fight Club (1999). Working again with David Fincher, Fight Club is an even more interesting, thrilling and complicated script than se7en; Edward Norton plays an average, bored office worker who starts an underground Fight Club with Pitts’ rules-be-damned Durden. To this day (mostly to males), Brad Pitt is still associated with Tyler, such was his performance in this cult classic. So far in his career, Pitt had chosen many great scripts and given a range of very different, but very memorable characters; he had worked with some of the best directors and won a Golden Globe for his performance as Jeffrey in Twelve Monkeys. Could Pitt carry on with such successes?

Brad as the now infamous Tyler Durden in Fight Club

Well history has proven, yes he can. After roles in The Mexican (2001) with Julia Roberts and Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (2000), Pitt had another major success as part of an ensemble in the remake of Oceans 11 (2001) with George Clooney and Matt Damon, with whom he has remained good friends since. Pitt could do no wrong, and he was about to show another side to himself - that of the action star. With 2004’s Troy, Pitt showed some muscle (and plenty of skin) playing the Greek Achilles, who took on Hector in the battle to take Troy. Pitt brought a depth to the character that perhaps would have been lost if played by someone else; he created a humanity in this killing machine and gave him heart, making him a much more understandable and relatable character. He followed this with another action film - though decidedly more modern - a remake of the action comedy Mr & Mrs Smith (2005). Though now remembered as the film that united him with Angelina Jolie, it is a likeable film in which he again proves he can turn his hand to anything.

As Achilles in Troy and John Smith in Mr & Mrs Smith

In the past five years or so. as he has turned and passed forty. Pitt has chosen his roles carefully and seems to have taken a more dramatic turn, with characters and films alike that have more depth than those in his earlier career. In 2008, he showcased new technology in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, proving that the paring of Pitt and Fincher strikes gold. This is the story of a man who ages backwards and his complicated life because of this. Just the fact that someone ages backwards is a risky performance, but what would that do to the person emotionally? Pitt is spellbinding in the film and was Oscar-nominated for his role. He then turned heads again in an altogether different role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009); Pitt plays Lt. Aldo Raine, the head of a group of Jewish American soldiers who plan to assassinate Nazi leaders. The film was a huge hit and Pitt gives another striking performance.


Looking old and menacing respectively in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Inglourious Basterds

 

In 2011 Pitt was inspiring in two Academy worthy performances, in both Terrance Malick’s The Tree of Life and Bennett Millers Moneyball - both completely different films and characters and both realistically brought to life. In The Tree of Life, Pitt plays the strict disciplinary father to a family in the 1950’s, struggling with loss and connecting with his family emotionally. Moneyball is the true story of the baseball manager of the Oakland A’s and how his new computer analysis methods helped him create a better team with a small budget. This doesn’t sound like an exciting plot, but in Pitt’s hands and joined by Jonah Hill, we are treated to an emotional, riveting inside look at the baseball business.

2013 looks to be a good year for Brad Pitt as well: he has already had a major success with his zombie apocalypse movie, World War Z, a sleeper hit despite rumours of controversy on set and major setbacks and delays. So he has reinvigorated a genre this year, how will he stand up in the unbelievably talented ensemble team in The Counsellor?

You can find out by reading Blacksmith’s review out now. The Counsellor is released in cinemas Friday 22nd November.

This has been Mary for The Awesome Update

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