New Book Claims Brad Pitt Displayed 'Volatile' Behavior on Set of '90s Film
Edward Zwick’s memoir will reveal that he has worked alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names over the course his career. Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years of Hollywood. In an excerpt released before the book’s release, he recalls his experience directing a young Brad PittThe 1994 Western drama Legends of the FallWhen pushed to the limit, the 60-year old actor can become “volatile”.
As Zwick explains, in the excerpt published this week by Vanity FairHe pushed for the hiring of Pitt over Tom Cruise. The studio wanted Cruise but he wasn’t interested in playing Tristan, the one of the three brothers who lived in the Montana wilderness with their father Anthony Hopkins in the early 20th Century.
Pitt wanted to quit the film until the producer talked Pitt out of it. The problem began with the first table read. Zwick claims that the actors didn’t perform well.
“It was never mentioned again, but it was the first augury of the deeper springs of emotion roiling inside Brad,” Zwick wrote. “He seems easygoing at first, but he can be volatile when riled, as I was to be reminded more than once as shooting began and we took each other’s measure.”
He said Pitt’s concern about the movie didn’t go away when filming started. “You believe the actor is being opposing, but he believes you to be dictatorial,” he said. “Some actors have a problem with authority. But many directors feel threatened when intelligent actors pose challenging questions that reveal a lack of preparation. Both are correct and both are incorrect.”
Zwick explained that Pitt would get “edgy” when he was preparing to shoot a scene that required deep emotion, and that the more he pushed him to reveal himself, the more he resisted.
However, things eventually came to a head between the two men when one afternoon, Zwick gave Pitt direction out loud in front of the crew—which he now admits was a “stupid, shaming provocation”—and Pitt held his ground, not about to give in without a fight.
“I don’t know who yelled first, who swore, or who threw the first chair,” Zwick recalled. “But when I looked up, we saw that the crew was gone. And this wasn’t the last time it happened. The crew became accustomed to us and would let us have a good fight.
“Yet, after each blowup, we’d make up, and mean it. It was never a personal matter,” he said. Brad is a straightforward, forthright person who is fun to be around and capable of great happiness. He was never less than 100% committed to his work.
Zwick believes that when all is said and done, the finished product “reflected depth of our passion”, and was ultimately worthwhile.
It’s unusual for directors to openly discuss conflicts on set, so it’s not clear if Zwick’s experience with Pitt was typical. Years later, Pitt’s temper would lead to the highly publicized end of his marriage to Angelia Jolie, whom He allegedly attacked him and one of the couple’s childrenOn a private plane in 2016. Pitt began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings shortly after the incident. The 2019 New York TimesInterview.
Men’s Journal has reached out to a rep for Pitt for comment on this story.
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