Brad Pitt has had a widely successful film career, but two decades ago, the actor didn’t feel that his personal life was living up to it.
In his cover story for GQ‘s October issue, Pitt, 55, spoke about what pushed him to take on a rare starring role as stuntman Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, as aging stuntman Rick Dalton.
“Well, it’s about bringing my personal experience, my personal humor, my personal, um, embarrassments, and my personal pains,” he explained. “When I watch [Christian] Bale or [Tom] Hardy, I can’t do what they do. I love watching them. And I couldn’t step into that role. I want to do the same thing on my end.”
Pitt revealed that he recently confided in DiCaprio, 44, that despite his early artistic success, he wasn’t feeling personally fulfilled during the earlier days of his career.
“I hit this point in the late ’90s or early 2000s, where I realized I was chasing these interesting [roles], yet I was failing to live as interesting a life as I thought I could,” Pitt shared.
While Pitt did not recall the exact film or moment in his life that changed his mindset, he chalks it up to “just getting older.”
“How you become more aware of time, and you’ve had more experience, good and bad, with people,” he said. “And your own wins and losses—the older you get, they don’t seem like so much of a win or so much of a loss. Who you spend your time with, how you spend time—it has just become much more important to me.”
Even though Pitt said he still enjoys acting, he is comfortable spending more time behind the camera that in front of it. He’s produced numerous films under his production company Plan B, including 12 Years a Slave.
“There was just too much emphasis on finding interesting characters,” he said. “I went, ‘F-ck me, man. Live an interesting life and the rest will take care of itself.’ Like, ‘You go out and you…live an interesting life. Get out and have real experiences.’”
Continued Pitt: “And that is what informs the work. Not going to find the interesting work and then trying to make it up. I just became more conscious of how I was living versus what I was living for.”
Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood proved to be another box office success for both he and DiCaprio. And long before their latest hit, the two actors nearly crossed paths on a beloved sitcom.
“No. But we did start on the same television show,” Pitt told Today‘s Harry Smith after he asked if they had worked together before.
DiCaprio then chimed in with the dates that he was on the show and the two went back and forth trying to remember exactly when it was.
“I don’t remember. I mean we’re talking decades ago, but we were on the same television show,” DiCaprio said.
After finally working together on Tarantino’s film, the actors were more than happy with their union.
“I had a great laugh with him,” Pitt told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival of DiCaprio. “It’s that thing knowing you have the best of the best on the opposite side of the table holding up the scene with you. There is a great relief in that.”
He added, “We have the same reference points. We have been going through this at the same time. Similar experiences to laugh about it. I hope we do it again, it was great fun.”
Pitt’s latest film Ad Astra opens Friday.