When last we heard from Brad Pitt, he was “sculpting, vaping, and listening to Bon Iver” in a Los Angeles studio owned by British artist Thomas Houseago. Now, if this new GQ profile of Pitt is to be believed, he’s currently living the life we all imagined Bon Iver was when he recorded For Emma, Forever Ago. That includes making his own matcha, building fires both morning and night, and spending lots and lots of time by himself. The profile describes him as looking like “an L.A. dad on a juice cleanse, gearing up to do house projects” while living like a “stripped-down Samuel Beckett [character], in a blank landscape, asking big questions of a futile world.”
Yep, Brad Pitt’s still sad. And why shouldn’t he be? He went through an ugly divorce from Angelina Jolie that was spurred, apparently, by allegations of child abuse that were eventually investigated by the FBI (they’ve since closed the case with no charges). The whole experience has prompted him to give up drinking, own up to his failures, and, apparently, reexamine his place in the artistic world. In one revealing exchange, he opens up about the weight of being Brad:
After all this, do you feel constrained as an actor in some ways?
No, I don’t really think of myself much as an actor anymore. It takes up so little of my year and my focus. Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn’t work anymore, especially being a dad.
On the pie chart, what is acting?
Acting would be very small slice.
Do you see yourself as having been successful?
I wish I could just change my name.
Come out as a new person?
Like P. Diddy. I can be Puffy now or—what is Snoop? Lion? I just felt like Brad was a misnomer, and now I just feel like fucking Brad.
What other name would you have put on yourself?
Nothing. When outside success comes, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is when there’s a personal discovery in it. But when I find it repetitious or painfully boring, it’s absolute death to me.
That’s his second mention of Snoop in the interview, by the way, which is accompanied by many insane pictures of him doing things in national parks. He’s also developing a mixed relationship with his own damn face:
The best actors blur into their characters, but given how well the world knows you, it seems you have a much harder time blurring these days?
I have so much attached to this facade. [gestures]
Anyway, it’s going to be tough for him to step back from acting when he’s got a World War Z sequel, a new James Gray movie, and a “midlife-crisis comedy” with Ben Stiller on the docket. Hopefully he can still sculpt on set. The long, philosophical interview is worth a read, if only for his name-dropping of pals “Fincher,” “Paul T.,” and “Daniel Day.” It also contains the revelation of which of his films is his favorite. (Hint: It’s not Kalifornia).