Brad Pitt could have made all the right moves and been a teen idol by now. Instead, he made interesting ones.

All of the patience and taste may finally be paying off. His scary, funny portrait of a laconic serial killer in "Kalifornia" proves that he doesn't necessarily have to trade on his looks to carry a tough lead role. In "True Romance," he's a big hoot in a small part as a couch-bound, TV-addicted, pot- smoking, sort-of-likable slug.

Reporters who encountered him at Toronto's Festival of Festivals (for the premiere of last year's "A River Runs Through It") were taken aback by the long hair and scruffy beard he was sporting for "Kalifornia." He clammed up when the questioning ran toward his background or anything personal, but he still didn't seemed fazed by the media frenzy.

"Aw, that stuff don't bother me," he drawled in characteristic aw- shucks style when asked about all the attention he received.

Pitt got his break as the charming, larcenous, country-boy hitchhiker in ''Thelma & Louise," and then followed it up with "Johnny Suede," a low- budget independent movie that hardly anyone saw. The actor brought a dreamy innocence to a character who otherwise might have seemed just pitiful.

His next splash was in Robert Redford's "A River Runs Through It." As the amiable fly-fishing brother with a streak of the devil in him, Pitt reminded audiences of Redford himself from way back when, and the camera absolutely loved him.

The actor should find an even bigger audience next year co-starring with Tom Cruise in the already controversial "Interview With the Vampire," to be directed by Neil Jordan of "The Crying Game." The casting has rubbed fans of the book and its author the wrong way. Anne Rice, who concocted the tale of ageless, sexy, decadent vampires, likened the duo of Cruise and Pitt to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Whether the project stumbles or succeed, at least Pitt has done it his way thus far.