Brad Pitt is looking inward.
In a new interview with the New York Times, the “Ad Astra” star discusses his new film, his childhood, getting himself sober, and more.
Remembering his father, the 55-year-old actor says, “In some ways, I’m copying him. He had grown up in extreme hardship and poverty, always dead set on giving me a better life than he had — and he did it. But he came from that stoic ilk.”
“I’m grateful that there was such an emphasis on being capable and doing things on your own with humility, but what’s lacking about that is taking inventory of yourself. It’s almost a denial of this other part of you that is weak and goes through self-doubts, even though those are human things we all experience. Certainly, it’s my belief that you can’t really know yourself until you identify and accept those things.”
Asked about his divorce from Angelina Jolie, which happened around the same time as “Ad Astra” was coming together, Pitt simply says, “I had family stuff going on. We’ll leave it at that.”
But discussing whether the experience had any influence on his performance in the film, he admits, “The fact is, we all carry pain, grief, and loss. We spend most of our time hiding it, but it’s there, it’s in you. So you open up those boxes.”
One of the big issues in Pitt and Jolie’s marriage was reportedly his alcoholism, but Pitt is now sober.
“I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” he says.
Pitt also opens up about going to Alcoholics Anonymous for a year and a half to help him get on track.
“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” he recalls. “It was this safe space where there was little judgment and therefore little judgment of yourself.”
He adds, “It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself. There’s great value in that.”
Despite all the fame surrounding him, Pitt says he doesn’t let other people’s expectations get to him.
“Those dubious thoughts, the mind chatter, the rat in the skull — that’s comedy,” he says. “It’s just ridiculous that we would beat ourselves up that way. It doesn’t matter. I spent too much of life wrestling with those thoughts, or being tethered to those thoughts, or caged by those thoughts.”
And as for what he wants to do with his life and career going forward, the actor and producer has his eye on more than just movies.
“I’m curious to see if movies last, if movies stick around,” he says, adding that he plans to act less. “It’ll be fewer and farther in between for me, just because I have other things I want to do now. When you feel like you’ve finally got your arms around something, then it’s time to go get your arms around something else.”