Story transcripts

Being Brad

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reporter: Tara Brown
Producers: Stephen Taylor, Sandra Cleary

He has the most confident swagger in the business. And who could blame him?

Even compared to other Hollywood stars, Brad Pitt's life is utterly charmed.

With looks that make women go weak at the knees, he shares his life with the equally stunning Angelina Jolie.

Together they balance their happy brood of children with careers that go from strength to strength.

But when Tara Brown spent some time with him in Tokyo this week, the man who has it all dropped a bombshell.

At the peak of his fame, the world's biggest film star is ready to call it a day.

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Brad Pitt's new film Moneyball opened nationally in cinemas on November 10, 2011.

Full transcript:

TARA BROWN: They’re the world’s most telegenic couple – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were born to walk the red carpet. And with close to 100 movies between them, they certainly know how to work a room. Do you like this? Is this a fun part or the hard part of filmmaking?

BRAD: No, it’s nice just letting it go. You know? Like, it’s been years in the making so it’s nice just to release it.

TARA BROWN: Brad and Angelina are in Tokyo for the premiere of his latest film, ‘Moneyball’, a movie about baseball that’s already getting Oscar talk. Do you get a lot of kudos making a film like this with your kids, a baseball film?

BRAD: I get more mileage with the zombie film.

TARA BROWN: After more than 20 years at the top of his game with one of the recognisable bodies of work and faces in the world, the most surprising thing about this 47-year-old superstar is how uncomfortable he is with any sort of scrutiny. Did you ever think at some time in the future, that the world would be watching your every move, that they’d be interested in your every step? Was that your quest?

BRAD: I don’t think the world is that interested. I think it sells some publications. So I think there’s a good factory around it, you know...

TARA BROWN: When you, if you ever, first accepted or realised that you were being treated like a superstar, even if it was as a commodity to sell magazines, how did you deal with that fame?

BRAD: I didn’t deal with it very well for a good 10 years or seven years. I didn’t know what to do with it. I found it very discombobulating. I didn’t think that far ahead, you know? I love films and wanted to be a part of films.

TARA BROWN: So when you say up didn’t do too well with it, what happened, how did you lead your life?

BRAD: I hid. I started sequestering myself in a way that I got rather sick of.

TARA BROWN: What got you out of it?

BRAD: Just that, just the realisation, “I don’t want to keep doing this.”

TARA BROWN: You don’t want to keep hiding?

BRAD: Yeah. You know, what’s the point? “What’s the point? I’m not enjoying this. What’s the point?”

TARA BROWN: Beyond the flash bulbs and the cinema smiles, the Brad Pitt we meet today seems fed up with stardom. It’s not hard to see why. With Angelina and their supporting cast of six children, the world has gone crazy for this glamour family. Obviously the real risk was the career path you took. But it’s not a choice your kids made, is it? How do they cope with the scrutiny and being under the spotlight?

BRAD: Their idea is that when they go out beyond the gate – because we have to live behind a gate – there’s people standing there in line with cameras that try and take your picture. Their idea is everyone has to deal with that.

TARA BROWN: Everyone?

BRAD: Sure, sure. Because that’s the world as they know it. And our older ones are getting a little more savvy.

TARA BROWN: That is, I would assume, such a different upbringing to the one you experienced?

BRAD: Yeah, a little bit.

TARA BROWN: Just a little bit?

BRAD: A little bit.

TARA BROWN: Do you worry about them?

BRAD: Sure I worry. It’s the only thing I get hot about, I’m ready to...fight about. But on the other hand you know, it’s a trade-off, like anything. There’s a great trade-off. And we, these guys, I’m so happy for them, because they get to see the world. And their lives are so enriched by it. The privacy issues are something we’re always battling. But you know, it is true that a couple of ours do not like it. You know, they don’t like it and I’m sure that will colour them in some interesting way.

TARA BROWN: They won’t become paparazzi for or journalists, you don’t think?

BRAD: Or maybe they will. Doesn’t the abused become the abuser? Ah, c’mon it’s not that serious.

TARA BROWN: Do you sometimes feel that?

BRAD: No, no. I was making a joke.

TARA BROWN: While the greatest casualty of their privilege is privacy, experience means this week arriving in Tokyo, this family faced the paparazzi like a well-oiled machine. Do you and Angelina have an antidote at home to make life as normal as possible?

BRAD: It’s not even an antidote. I mean, family’s family, isn’t it? When you’re around trying to make breakfast for everyone, it seems to be the same –

TARA BROWN: And trying to get some sleep and...?

BRAD: Yeah, sleep is a foregone conclusion in our home. But…later. Not that interested. I mean, because those late nights are so fun when one of them’s up or those mornings when they get up and make pancakes or something. That’s what it’s about.

TARA BROWN: You enjoy the chaos?

BRAD: Well, obviously.

TARA BROWN: How big do you want your brood to be?

BRAD: Uh, you know, I don’t know that we’re finished. I don’t know yet. I don’t know.

TARA BROWN: Yeah. Have they changed you as an actor?

BRAD: Of course.

TARA BROWN: In what way?

BRAD: I’m supposed to say how, I’m supposed to explain why…

TARA BROWN: Yeah, of course you are. You don’t get an easy ride!

BRAD: If I’m choosing a film now, I want it to be maybe less immature than things I have done in the past. I’m very conscious, when they’re adults I want it to mean something to them. I want them to think, “Dad’s alright.” It changes everything. Everything. And it’s so damn interesting.

TARA BROWN: Brad Pitt’s latest movie choice will most likely make his kids proud and could be his best yet. In ‘Moneyball’, he plays real-life Billy Bean, the general manager of the financially-strapped Oakland As baseball team. Out of sheer necessity, he finds a better way of choosing a winning team, using science to identify the strengths in under-valued players and turning the tables on the rich clubs. It appealed to his loathing of injustice and his passion for sport, any sport. We brought you a gift.

BRAD: I see, I see some cricket going on over there.

TARA BROWN: You even know what it is…

BRAD: I know that much.

TARA BROWN: Here’s a bat. Here’s a hat.

BRAD: Man, they are really heavy.

TARA BROWN: Yeah. And here’s some stumps. So it’s a game the whole family can play.

BRAD: Fantastic. Thank you very much.

TARA BROWN: It’s a pleasure.

BRAD: Thank you.

TARA BROWN: Critics love his performance. Perhaps because it strikes such a personal chord. It’s hard to believe that Brad Pitt was once an underdog too.

BRAD: I had my first film audition. I called up and said, “how did I do?” They said, ‘“Have you ever thought about acting school?” So I had that point where I went, “Oh, so I was shit today. OK. I thought I was progressing alright.” So I did re-evaluate. So I gotta learn more. I’ll figure it out.

TARA BROWN: You’re a good listener. You listened. You took the advice?

BRAD: Well, the sad thing was I was already in acting classes.

TARA BROWN: Oops.

BRAD: Yeah. Yeah.

TARA BROWN: Oh, that’s OK. Look at you today. Maybe it’s easy to say today, but looking back, the Pitt ‘wow factor’ has always shone on screen. Anyone can see the camera loves him. And it seems so do his co-stars. There was his engagement to Gwyneth Paltrow, his five-year marriage to Jennifer Anniston, then now Angelina Jolie, the mother of his children. But this is dangerous territory. I’ve been warned the Pitt women are a touchy subject. There’s been great speculation on your private life, in particular your past high-profile relationships. Are you prepared to say right here and right now that your one true love is George Clooney?

BRAD: Yeah, no, I’m definitely not prepared to say that! In fact, I’m a little upset. What – at the thought? They are all my loves, don’t you know? George, Matt, Cheadle – they’re all my loves.

TARA BROWN: I promise I won’t tell him, but out of you and George, who is the sexiest man alive?

BRAD: I’m gonna – I’m gonna go out on a limb. I’m gonna say me. I’m gonna say me.

TARA BROWN: It’s silly stuff, isn’t it?

BRAD: Yeah, it’s all in good fun.

TARA BROWN: It is in good fun. But have you fought against that pretty-boy tag, the sex symbol stuff, or do you embrace it?

BRAD: Well, that’s the thing I was describing earlier, it gives you – as soon as you get categorised as pop you can turn around and come back with some classic rock or something. So the limits actually become the – a nice set of...

TARA BROWN: The strengths?

BRAD: Well, you can set up, you can surprise...In my business, discovery is a big part of it.

TARA BROWN: If Brad Pitt wants us to be surprised, then he’s left the best, and for his fans, the worst, til last. At the height of his fame and game, he’s preparing to turn his back on acting. How much longer would you like to do your business for?

BRAD: Three years.

TARA BROWN: Three years?

BRAD: Yeah.

TARA BROWN: And then what happens after three years?

BRAD: Hell if I know. Hell if I know. I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. And getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher time otherwise, so...You know, I have gotten away with a few things in writing and I have been pissed off about a few things. How’s that?

TARA BROWN: Do you want to tell me what? What have you got away with and what have you been pissed off by?

BRAD: Oh, dear God. I mean, come on. I’m gonna pass on that one.

TARA BROWN: You once said there are three terrible karmas – beauty, wealth and fame, they are the things that stop you finding true happiness. That would make you one very unhappy man, wouldn’t it?

BRAD: Yeah, what was it again?

TARA BROWN: It was “beauty, wealth and fame.”

BRAD: Yeah, I vaguely remember this. Listen, I’m a heathen, so I don’t know who I’m quoting most of the time.

TARA BROWN: That’s OK. I guess the point is are you happy or are you unhappy?

BRAD: I think happiness is overrated, truthfully. I do. I think sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re not. There’s too much pressure to be happy. I don’t know. I don’t really give a shit. I know I will be at times and I know I won’t be at times. Satisfied, at peace, those would be more goals for myself.

TARA BROWN: So, is Brad Pitt content today?

BRAD: Content. OK, I will go with content. Uh, I dare say so. I probably won’t be next week.

TARA BROWN: But then you will be the week after?

BRAD: But then I will be the week after, so I’m content with that.

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