Brad Pitt, who will soon be seen in Killing Them Softly, gets candid about the film, fatherhood and his visit to India
Did you read the book Cogan’s Trade by George Higgins or his, on which your film Killing Them Softly is based?
I didn’t know George Higgins personally but he is a big personality. And, I never read his book Cogan’s Trade before. Andrew (director of the film) came up to me with this story idea and he deliberately asked me to read the book as he believed that I would get a clear idea about the story rather then reading the screen play first.
This is your second collaboration with Andrew Dominik. After The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, where you reached out to Dominik and the struggle over the final cut of the film with the studios, what was it like to work on Killing ... ?
There is struggle for every good actor, so that really didn’t make any difference to me. Film Jesse James made quite a splash on the festival circuit. I also received the best lead actor award in Venice. Working for Killing Them Softly was wonderful as there was times when I came across many alien things which I really think was fun delivering as an actor.
You’ve been an admirer of Dominik’s work since Chopper. However, in both your collaborations, you’ve also been the producer for the films. Was it easy keeping the actor and the producer in you from overlapping while shooting?
Yes. Coordinating a film with Andrew has always been great for me. I guess there are many qualities that I keep grabbing while working with him. We share our points of view and I always adopt some thing or the other from him as he is the best director and maybe that’s why I honestly admire his work. Being a producer and actor is definitely not similar but I manage somehow. It is not that critical to handle.
Your character in Killing Them Softly is seen as a chain-smoking shot-gun toting hitman. The film demands it — yes, but quite a few of your acclaimed roles are that of a violent man with a charisma. Have these roles become easier to play? Also, in one of your interviews you mentioned you grew up hunting. Do you think that’s influenced you as an actor?
Showcasing violence is something very difficult where you have no idea of presenting it because it is something very unpleasant. It’s a pretty challenging task to perform. I watch action movies with a wide perspective as it always serve you with something unique to experience. Hunting has always been like a hobby to me, but it never influenced me as an actor except to use guns more proficiently.
You share screen time with James Gandolfini and Richard Jenkins, both not new to serious action-thrillers and also both of whom you’ve acted with before. What was it like to collaborate with the actors again?
It was a wonderful experience working with the two. Watching Jenkins, I felt like I was watching Peter Sellers. And then watching Gandolfini I felt like I was watching (Marlon) Brando. For an actor, you have respect for other actors when they do something that is under the skin and unexpected.
On a different note, you were last in India for the shooting of A Mighty Heart. How did you like it here and tell us about one experience that stands out in your memory.
I got to see a lot about India. I have seen nothing like it before. And it’s so diverse — both the south and the north — that one cannot get to see all of it in a couple of weeks. But, I found Varanasi absolutely staggering. I found it so holy and divine. The city just spills into the River Ganges. It’s a really extraordinary place and this was one of my most memorable experience in India.
You have a bouquet of characters to your credit and you have also produced a few. There must be favorite — which one would that be?
(Smiles) One of the most favourite characters of mine was ‘Jesse’ in the film Jesse James directed by Andrew again.
Do you see yourself taking to direction any time soon?
You never know, it might just happen. Never say never.
Again, changing track, you’re in a relationship with another accomplished actor, soon to be wed too. How chaotic does it get with you and Angelina Jolie at home, working the schedules you do and raising six children all at once?
I really have no date. Talking about Ange and my schedule — is absolutely hectic as raising children is not easy. You need to be very careful when it comes to nurturing. It’s a big time job, but certainly not chaotic because whenever I am with my kids I feel relaxed — they just make my day even better.
How has fatherhood changed the twice World’s Sexiest Man?
I guess everyone has a multiple side of people when we actually get to play them or explore them in our lives. My persona has somewhere changed with time. I have been appreciated with the tag line of Worlds Sexiest man and it actually feels good, but when it comes to me as a father, then I don’t think it has anything to do with me being sexy. Fatherhood is an amazing feeling. Being a father and an actor are two completely different aspects and I never mess them up.