MORE CHAPLIN THAN JOHN WAYNE - by Alex Preston

Those who love Brad Pitt will be satisfied with The Mexican. It is simply delicious to see him for a change in an action-comedy, and all that in gloomy Mexico. Alex Preston had the following conversation with him.

SKIP: How are you doing as a married man?

Brad Pitt: Just great. Iíve never been this happy. Every time I see Jennifer, I am so proud that she has become my wife. And you have just more fun at everything, once youíve found the right one.

SKIP: You got married relatively late [in life].

Brad Pitt: Yes, I wanted to come clear with myself first. And I wanted to be sure that it was the right one. My parents have been married for 40 years and I never want to go through a divorce.

SKIP: What do you think about Hollywood dream couples like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman breaking up?

Brad Pitt: In my opinion that happens when your expectations and demands are too high. Life is not a Hollywood film. And marriage is simply a thing of everyday and you need to go about it in the right way. But in spite of being very romantic and believing in the great love, I also understand, from my own experience, that relationships can just fail. You have to overcome the I-mania and develop a we-feeling.

SKIP: In The Mexican Julia Roberts asks you: "If you love someone, when do you give up?" And you answer: ďNever!Ē Do you agree privately with that opinion?

Brad Pitt: Of course.

SKIP: Julia Roberts says that the thing she hated the most during the shoot of The Mexican were the scorpions. Did you feel like that too?

Brad Pitt: Certainly, I almost sat on one. Luckily nothing happened to me. But a girl dried her face with a hand towel one morning and was stung by a scorpion.

SKIP: Is it true that you always wanted to do a film with Julia Roberts?

Brad Pitt: Yes, thatís true. We have known each other forever and when we have gotten together we have talked about it, wondering how it would be if we could do something together. Over the years scripts landed on my table that were considered. But there was never anything good among them. But with The Mexican, we immediately agreed. Such an action adventure with a lot of funny scenes, in which we could argue with each other, that promised to be a lot of fun. And that was it. Somehow our arguing scenes remind of these old Hepburn/Tracy films, both of them really let each other have it. Yes, we, Julia and I, really had a lot of fun.

SKIP: Except for the scorpions Ö

Brad Pitt: ... (laughs) ... Certainly. All of us constantly checked our clothes and things looking for scorpions. And I also had to get used to the donkeys, they would bellow awfully loud at 3 am outside my window.

SKIP: Where did you stay during the shoot in Mexico?

Brad Pitt: In a house in the town where we were shooting. There was only one phone in the town. As true Americans we radically extinguished this culture. We installed all the modern technological standards there. The whole town is now online Ö (laughs)

SKIP: Is it true that you signed the contract for The Mexican before it even was clear who would direct the movie?

Brad Pitt: Yes, thatís true. The script was just great. The dialogues and scenes came like punches in a boxing match, left, right, bang! When James Gandolfini got on board, the whole thing was a done deal. I mean, we are all after all fans of the Sopranos.

SKIP: The director of The Mexican, Gore Verbinski says that you are the coolest person to ever walk on earth.

Brad Pitt: Thatís very friendly of him. But I also have my weaknesses, but I donít want to go into any detail about that.

SKIP: Do you take it as a compliment when someone says that you had more of Charlie Chaplin than of John Wayne in The Mexican?

Brad Pitt: I can live with that. To me, this Jerry Wellbach that I play in The Mexican, is a real anti-McQueen, because there is nothing cool about him. But he is upright, means it seriously and has a good heart. The bottom line is he is a jester. I had fun playing a comedic role for a change.

SKIP: Whatís next?

Brad Pitt: A project with the Coen brothers. Thatís going to be so cool. Itís going to be something they have never done before, a silent movie.

SKIP: Do you play against your good looks?

Brad Pitt: Iím asked that question frequently. But my choice of roles has nothing to do with that. To me itís a matter of finding something new. I donít want to repeat myself.

SKIP: You just shot the movie Spy Game with Robert Redford in Morocco. How was it up there?

Brad Pitt: Mexico is really romantic. On the contrary, Morocco has a romantic image, but I donít understand why.

SKIP: What bothered you there?

Brad Pitt: Many little details, but I donít want to get into that.

SKIP: Is Robert Redford a role model for you? Do you think that you will be in 30 years where he is now?

Brad Pitt: Of course, when you consider that he has shoot some of the biggest movies, either as an actor or as a director, you have to admire him. Nevertheless I do not want to imitate him. I want to find my own line.

SKIP: What would you have done if you hadnít become an actor?

Brad Pitt: I would have become an architect and I would have built Los Angeles completely new. Since Richard Neutra no important architect has worked there anymore. Instead they pave everything from Hollywood boulevard up with shopping malls. I canít stand that. Commercial thinking is okay, but you shouldnít give up completely on certain criteria of quality. When it comes to architecture I can get very emotional.

SKIP: Do you have any concrete plans?

Brad Pitt: Yes, when I take breaks between movies I work on a project. Itís going to consist of old, traditional materials that give more warmth.

SKIP: Do you also work on your own house? Do you have a crafts/manual talent?

Brad Pitt: No, I am such a snob about it. But I have a talent giving the workers the right directions Ö (laughs)

SKIP: Do you have a bad conscience because you get 20 million dollars for a movie?

Brad Pitt: I havenít gotten that much in a long time. Even for our new movie Oceanís Eleven, George Clooney, me and all the others that worked there did not demand the full pay. But surely, I am not a doctor who is saving lives and no scientist who has found a cure for cancer. Itís just that the film industry makes huge business where a lot of money is earned. And why should I give up my share?