All right. How’s this for a success story? Ten years ago, a college kid
from Springfield, Missouri, who loves movies decides he’ll just drive
to California and become an actor. And in fact, in seven months, Brad Pitt has
his first job.
Of course, it helps that as Dustin Hoffman has said, “Next to Brad Pitt,
everybody else looks like an onion.” But out here, they talk more about
the young actor’s constant search for serious roles, new mountains to
We first saw him last February north of Vancouver on top of the world, making
the movie “Seven Years In Tibet” about a mountain climber who stumbles
into spiritual clarity. The 33 - year - old actor loved the danger, the bitter
cold and the prospect of getting back to the 24 - year - old woman he couldn’t
wait to marry. He called her his Gwynie.
But as mountain climbers know, any moment the weather can turn. As helicopters
brewed up a blizzard for a movie shot, there was turbulence ahead in life. Soon,
he would learn that a magazine had paparazzi photos of him and Gwyneth Paltrow
on vacation, happy and naked. He sued for recall of the magazine and won. Later
in the year, there would be a scare about his father's health which ended up
OK. Add to it all, the breakup. Gossip sheets have blamed Pitt. They've written
stories that he had a roving eye, but the gossip sheets apparently have it very
wrong. Last Monday, we met up with him again outside a blues club in LA. He
is tall, famously polite and hates interviews -- especially those personal questions
about why he broke off the engagement and about his broken heart.
Well, that happens to everyone. But listen, that's -- are we on the love conversation
The love line?
We are. Everybody has been speculating it was about somebody else for one or
the two of you.
It wasn't one thing. It wasn't, you know, it just -- boy, I hit a brick wall
here, didn't I?
He says for everyone, love is about commitment and trust (on camera) Still believe
in happy endings?
Yeah, absolutely. Happy endings. Um, happy endings? No, I believe in perfect
moments. And then I believe in miserable moments. And then you collect another
But you know, listen, oh, boy. This is the big one. It's love, I think -- I
think it's a fantastic thing. It's fantastic. I think it's - I don't know, when
you first meet and you have that first touch and there's this euphoria, and
it's exciting. But that's -- that's not it. I mean, that only lasts for so long.
And love is work. Love is work. And so, you've got to make your choice, if that's
what's most important to you, you know? What do you want? Do you want to be
with someone, or do you want to play around? You make your choice. And you've
got to be honest about it, if -- if you find yourself going another way, that's
all. It's very simple stuff, honesty. Yet it seems to be the toughest thing
to grasp. Honesty with yourself. How're you really feeling? Honesty with others.
Otherwise, you're better off alone. Don't waste someone's time.
You really believe in fidelity?
Me? Yeah, I do. But it's taken me a while to learn it, you know? I had to screw
up a couple times. I had to fail to figure it out.
But how long ago did you learn this?
I would say coming out of college, you know? Because your college years, you're
all over the place. At least, I was. Listen, I'll go on to the next one just
as open. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. You know, I'll keep trying.
I have a lot of respect for love. And I think I'm speaking for the both of us
here. You -- you put yourself into a relationship and you expose yourself, and
it doesn't work. Sometimes you know, you see it's not -- it's not going to be
so healthy for the long run. You'd better get out.
Will you be friends again? Will you be close again?
Oh, I don't see how we can't be. Um, shared a big part of our life together.
Sure, we will.
Do you think men and women are essentially different?
I don't know. I have no idea. What is that book, "Men Are From ...
... "Pluto, and Women Are From" ...
Who knows where.(Laughter)
I have no idea. I think women are fantastic.
Does it ever make you happy at all when the girls are screaming?
Oh, sure it does. What am I, crazy?
But can you experience it? Can you say, "They all want me"?
No. It's not like that, though. You know, it's -- I mean, my sister had Andy
Gibb up on the wall, you know? I mean, really, you know?
Fame is fleeting.
Yeah, yeah. And it's a poster.
But every now and then, you get the individual who comes up and you know they
were moved by a movie you were involved with. You know, they were honestly moved.
Because that was my experience as a child. That's why I love movies. Because
someone demonstrated or articulated something that I had felt but never been
able to put it that way and it made sense to me, and someone showed me some
clarity and it really moved me.
Do you like the money? Would you ever be nervous about losing it?
No. No. My father said to me when I was a kid, which I -- it really took me
off - guard. He said -- because he's very practical. And I'm not very practical.
He would always say, "You either are going to be filthy rich or dirt poor.
So prepare yourself."
Tell me about your mom and dad. Tell me about your dad.
He's integrity. He's very unassuming, but he walks -- he just walks it. You
feel it. And where we grew up, it was all about actions and not words. We didn't
have much of a vocabulary. It was just actions.
And your mom?
She's goodness. Lovely, lovely woman. Growing up we would, you know, we would
have our bedtimes and so the three of us siblings, we'd jump in our beds, separate
rooms, and we'd all be yelling for her, because she'd take turns coming from
room to room, right? And we'd just talk for hours sometimes. Just talk.
But the all - American kid came to California ready to take chances. Just look
at the risky roles he keeps playing, the opposite of what he calls "the
Velveeta," the glamour.
They start throwing all this money at you, you got a responsibility. You feel
more pressure if the movie's successful because they give you this money. You
want them to make their money back, you know?
But do you worry about what they're going to think? Do you worry about whether
you're going to be embarrassed?
No, no, no. No, no, no. No, I worry about the getting it right.
The new movie is a true story of Austrian Heinrich Harrer -- Olympic athlete,
epic bully. The real Harrer recently surprised the filmmakers by admitting he
had joined the Nazis before the war. (on camera) On Heinrich Harrer ...
Mm - hmm.
... did it cause a jolt when you found out that, indeed, he was confirming that
he had been a Nazi?
Oh, yeah. It threw me a little bit. Sure because I—you know, the first
thing are those images that come in the head. You think of Auschwitz, you think
of the atrocities that went on, and they certainly went on. But he wasn't a
part of it.
He was a man of great hubris and an ego - maniacal, and he would have signed
up with anything if it advanced himself. And this was a big honor at that time
before the war, and that's what -- it was never stated this before the war broke
Would you have done something differently?
No, that's the story. I think it should have been enhanced in the story. That's
That he goes from the person who could do that?
That's the metamorphosis of this man, yeah.
It is the story of Harrer's transformation when the tired adventurer meets the
Dalai Lama, a boy lit from within.
(Clip from "Seven Years In Tibet")
The character he plays finds serenity, a sanctuary. Looking at this, you wonder
if Brad Pitt ever will.(on camera) Among the things that have to have been --
sort of rocked you this year were the "Playgirl" pictures and the
whole paparazzi issue.
Sure. There was all that to deal with as well.
Did you immediately think, "I'm going to sue"?
Yeah, I think so. You know why? Because things are printed every week, and I
got to tell you they are always wrong. Listen to me, they are always wrong.
I don't fight it. I don't say anything. I just let it go. But when this thing
came out, I felt like, you know, enough is enough. You know, if people -- I
was on a private property, and to get those photographs, you would have had
to have trespassed on private property. And if people aren't going to have common
-- any kind of common decency, which I see it dwindling, then I felt like it
was time to make someone accountable for it. And I don't want to infringe on
the press, but correct me if I'm wrong, the code of the journalism was, I believe
it was an unbiased account of newsworthy events. Is that the goal?
Unbiased is tough, I know. But that's the goal. But it's that key word, newsworthy.
Right? And the fact that Pitt has a penis and here's proof, it's not news. It's
not needed. Do you know?
Do you hate that people who buy those magazines and look?
No, I don't because it's everyone's impulse. It's my impulse. It's human nature,
you know? But I, again, I say I see it slipping. I need to know if I need to
shut all the shades in my house. Because right now, I think the laws have not
kept up with technology. I don't think that our forefathers saw telephoto lenses,
you know, when they were writing it out, so listen, I'll take the line. I just
need to know.
The paparazzi themselves, of course, have been heard to say, "Look,he's
a grown - up."
"Shouldn't be running around" ...
Yeah. I mean, "What is he going to think when he comes out like that?"
Well, yeah. Listen, I never expected it to come out. That's what I'm saying.
No, but when you walk out the door like that.
It was in a private property and, believe me, I checked it out ahead of time,
because I'm paranoid. I'm paranoid of these things. Well, see, I would hate
to think I couldn't have these special moments, you know? Because they are,
I mean, come on, it was a special moment. And they're private moments. And again,
you know, common decency. That's what I think.
Private moments, which brings us back where we began -- talking about what he
wryly called "this Charlie Brown year," a year he can't wait to leave
behind.(on camera) What is a Charlie Brown year? What do you mean?
A Charlie Brown year?
It means you can have the best intentions, but you're still going to end up
with rocks in your Halloween bag, you know? You just have periods where you
know, your number's not coming up. Things aren't working right. I just call
it the Charlie Brown year.
People have much worse years, and people survive. That's what's, you know, that's
where -- it's just when you don't think you -- you're not sure you can take
much more, you know? You find something. And you get over that hump.
And you said you're getting to the end of it?
I don't want to make a big deal. I mean, we've all done it. We've all gone through
tough times, and we all will continue to. That's all. I'm not asking for sympathy
or not even empathy, just stating the facts
Speaking of the paparazzi, there was something we noticed as we finished the
interview. We came out of the club where we did the interview, looked up and
right there in the window up above us was a huge telephoto lens