WHAT IT FEELS LIKE - by Evan Fisk

Ö To Be the Brother of a Movie Star

Doug Pitt, 40

All that America knows about Brad Pitt is whatís on the big screen or in the tabloids. But Springfieldian Doug Pitt grew up with him and has a completely different perspective on fame.

Growing Up With Brad Pitt

Heís 43. Heíll be 44 in December. And our younger sister is two years younger than I am. We were really close [growing up]. Weíve got a close family, and that has absolutely nothing to do with what or who he is. We were his brother and sister then like we are now. Naturally there was something in Brad that made him jump in the car and drive to L.A. that I didnít possess. But at the same time, I wouldnít say weíre a whole lot different.

Iím 40 years old, and Iíve spent most of it here in Springfield. I spent six months living in L.A. when I was 20-21. I went out there to stay with Brad for a month and ended up staying for six because it was so much fun. Then I came back to finish school, so it was nothing more than an extended vacation. He had done a lot of TV at that time, and he had gone to Yugoslavia to do his first film, Dark Side of the Sun. I spent a lot of that time by myself, and I had a blast.

Going to Premieres and Tapings

Our first premiere was probably A River Runs Through It. We got to meet Robert Redford and do that whole hoopla in New York. It was quite a deal. Iíd be lying if I said I still didnít enjoy that part. Iíve been to tons of [movie sets]. The last one I was on was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Itís fun. It never gets old. Itís not a glamour deal at all. In fact, itís pretty arduous. Theyíll do the same scene 20 times, and to me they all look the same. But the novelty of the production sideóseeing how the machines workóis so far removed from what I do day-to-day. That partís fun. And again, I get to watch my brother work.

Bradís First Film That the Family Saw Together

Thelma and Louise. He did a little one called Cutting Class, but really the first big one was Thelma and Louise. And even in the first decade, yes, we all met to see it, and it was a big deal with friends and all that. Now I try to get there on opening night, but sometimes I donít get that done.

Unwanted Media Attention

I canít say Iím bored with it, but Iím in the neighborhood. [Laughs.] Weíve been doing this for 20 years. The novelty has well worn off, you know? We covered that in the first decade. Now I guess weíre in maintenance mode. You deal with it as you have to.

Naturally, we were getting to do a lot of things for the first time: Go to premieres, meet people, do some things. That part was exciting. That was fun. Now weíve been there and done that. But on the flip side, people are coming to my doorstep, and I have to change phone numbers and deal with people coming to the office. The intrusion. That was not fun, but we had to experience that for the first time as well and kind of work with those issues and learn how to respond. What is the casual fan, and when does someone cross the line? And how are we prepared to respond to that? Again, there were a lot of unknowns in that first decade. Now I think weíve got it down pretty well. Like I said, I just consider it maintenance mode. We kind of try to mind our own business.

My skin is a lot tougher than it used to be. Part of that is by choice and part of that is just by necessity. I couldnít tell you what one gossip magazine says, you know. Itís so far from the truth that itís not even worth discussion. To say theyíre lies, Iím not even sure if thatís descriptive enough. Theyíre completely fabricated. It used to be theyíd take a little fraction of the truth and build lies around it. Now they donít even bother with that 10 percent anymore.

But I like looking at the pictures because I can keep track of what the familyís doing. I donít get bent out of shape about stories anymore. What Iím probably most protective of is just our visible space. When they come to Springfield, some of them are still brazen enough to try to come to the front door at the office. Thatís not a warm reception for them. [My employees] are actually really good at [dealing with reporters]. They do a great job. When I have to get involved, we usually donít see those people again.

When Bradís in the news, my phone is ringing. Unfortunately heís in the news a lot. I was raised to be polite. I even tried to treat the media that way. But in the last few years, I had to kind of take control. Sometimes that means being outright rude, being curt in how I handle some of these people. I wouldnít say thatís in my personality, but unfortunately, thatís the way I have to handle it now. I canít say Iím real apologetic about it either. Weíll leave it at that.

When thereís a statement to be made on something that really has my brotherís interest at heart, or thereís something heís made a comment on, Iíll make a single comment to People Magazine. But outside of our local paper or local magazine, I just have nothing to say. Thatís kind of my line to them: If Brad has something to say, heíll say it.

Working with Brad on Humanitarian Projects:

Probably one of my biggest deals the past few years has been a number of different humanitarian projects. Iíve had Africa in my scope for the last two years, and right now thatís where my concentrated efforts are, although we are looking at a deal in Cambodia. And also I really want to do something in the States.

Even today, [Brad and I] are talking about some projects, but so far Iíve done my own deal, and heís done his. I wish I had news for you about this thing coming out, because weíre working on something. Itís a monster. But I just canít talk about it right now. But itísÖ big. Itís really big.

I will tell you that even now [Brad and I] are involved in a fundraiser in Pennsylvania, and weíll be doing one here in Springfield. Between the two, we expect to raise in the neighborhood of $400,000 for Africa relief.