While it may be true that most entertainers have a “shelf life” — meaning that after a certain period of time their popularity, skill, or both are bound to wane — Brad Pitt has always seemed to be one of the rare exceptions.
After gaining his first brush with Hollywood buzz from his appearance in 1991’s Thelma & Louise, megastar Pitt has remained a reliable box office draw ever since, starring in such acclaimed films as Se7en, Fight Club, The Ocean’s Eleven series, Inglourious Basterds, and Moneyball. So it’s odd that in an interview with Australia’s Telegraph that Pitt believes that his days as a Hollywood superstar are numbered.
He proclaims, “We have a shelf life, no question. And mine’s coming. But there’s a few more things I wanna do before my shelf life expires… I wanna get to play the grumpy old man who swears.” Pitt might have to wait a few years to fulfill that particular ambition — though he played a convincing elderly man in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the Mississippi-born actor is just turning forty-eight next month (and certainly doesn’t look anything like any old men I’ve ever met yet!)
So does Pitt have any other filmmaking ambitions after his “shelf life” has passed, like will he get in to directing like his Ocean’s Eleven co-stars George Clooney and Andy Garcia or like his longtime girlfriend, Angelina Jolie, who recently wrote and directed her first feature, In the Land of Blood and Honey?
Though that might seem like a logical step, Pitt denies he has any ambition to direct, claiming, “I have no aspirations whatsoever. I would make a good movie, but it would take me three years of agonising and pain and sweat, and I wouldn’t see my family. It wouldn’t be healthy for me. I’ve seen the worst and I would beat them all.”
In order to best manage the short amount of “time” Pitt believes he has left he’s learned to be more choosy with his roles. He explains, “A film is a big commitment as far as your time, your life. You get to do one, maybe two a year. A film, it’s a month of pre-production, and if it’s a lead (role) anywhere from three to six months, then you’ve got post and here we are now (promoting the film) … it’s a big commitment. I’ve found it’s gotta mean something to me or what’s the point? You’ve only got so much time … I don’t know how much time I have left and I just want it to matter.”
Now enough though that all sounds rather fatalistic, it isn’t like Pitt has fallen out of love with acting. He says, “I’m more clear about what I wanna do,” but he’s quick to add, “It’s like being in the ring and you enjoy the fight, but you’re taking punches.”
In the end, I’m not really sure exactly what Brad Pitt feels about acting at this juncture of his career, but it seems conflicted at the very least. I have to say though, it does seem very unlikely that Pitt’s fame will run out anytime soon no matter what he says!