Where does one even begin with Interview Magazine’s magical new chat between friends and former co-stars Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins? At the beginning, of course, which so perfectly sets the stage for a conversation more comforting than the fragrant steam wafting off a hot cup of tea.
BRAD PITT: Do you believe in fate? And I don’t mean in destiny or greatness. I just mean that things are fated.
ANTHONY HOPKINS: Yes, I do.
PITT: I’ve come to believe this in the last few years. How do you describe it?
HOPKINS: I’ve been dreaming of elephants.
Conversing, we imagine, in the hushest of tones, a fireplace no doubt crackling in the background, the two storied actors speak in the loftiest, most affirming ways about the mysteries of life, aging, and forgiveness. Hopkins talks crying at a Marlon Brando documentary and his empathy for disgraced president Richard Nixon’s “humiliation of having to say goodbye.” Pitt embraces the “sensuous and beautiful” nature of sculpture when he’s not enjoying revelations with architect Frank Gehry. They like Killing Eve and Happy Valley and think “green screen films” are “fun,” even if Hopkins admits he’s “a bit too old for that.”
Both, meanwhile, believe in forgiveness for those who’ve made mistakes, and have no interest in the controversies swarming the industry.
HOPKINS: People ask me questions about present situations in life, and I say, “I don’t know, I’m just an actor. I don’t have any opinions. Actors are pretty stupid. My opinion is not worth anything. There’s no controversy for me, so don’t engage me in it, because I’m not going to participate.”
PITT: I feel the same. I don’t care. I’m glad things are always evolving and changing, and complaining about it won’t do any good. You work with what you have. Like digital, they’re doing amazing things with it, so I don’t lament that film is being used less and less.
They also, with no trace of irony or bitterness, believe in the wisdom and emotional openness that comes with getting older.
HOPKINS: I carry a photograph of myself in my phone, of when I was just a little boy on the beach. I look at him and I say, “We did okay, kid.”
PITT: When you say that, I don’t think you’re talking about worldly success.
PITT: I think you’re talking about the game of being human.
And the catharsis of a good cry.
HOPKINS: You’ll find, as you get older, that you just want to weep.
HOPKINS: Yes. It’s not even about grief. It’s about the glory of life.
Ah, yes, the “glory of life.” Hopkins has plenty to say on that.
HOPKINS: Well, it’s such a mystery when our first memories are made. I can remember that day on the beach with my father. I’d been crying, because I’d lost a little candy he had given me in the sand. And that frightened little boy—who was destined to grow up and be an idiot at school, clueless, alone, lonely, angry, all those things—I look at him and say, “We did okay.” And the fact is that one day we’ll be gone. Our parents are gone. Most of my friends I’ve known have gone. I was driving around Venice the other day, and I thought, “It’s all a dream. What a struggle it all is. It’s all an illusion, but it’s the glory of life, the sheer glory of looking for it in everything.” And I’ve become aware of that now, more than ever. It’s in there. It’s in my cat, it’s in my dog, it’s in you. How could it be otherwise? I watch my cat jumping to a little pinch on the fireplace. Now, he can’t write a book, he doesn’t know anything about philosophy or mathematics. But how the hell does he do that? That is totally awe-inspiring.
PITT: What I hear you saying is that as we get older, we get out of our minds, and we’re able to witness the beauty and the wonder that we’re surrounded by in every minute detail. We miss that when we’re young.
HOPKINS: We’re too busy.
PITT: With our own hubris.
HOPKINS: But that’s a necessary part of growing up. Are you feeling that rising power of life?
PITT: Very much so.
HOPKINS: It shows in you.
Guys, maybe—just maybe—everything is going to be okay. Read the full interview here.
Send Great Job, Internet tips to firstname.lastname@example.org