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10 Movies You May Not Have Known Were Produced by Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt could have ridden his acting talent and handsome face into selling out and sailing into the sunset by now, but he chooses to keep tackling complex, meaningful work in rich characters. He is most certainly not just talented eye candy to be put on display in front of the camera, but a skilled producer as well, working behind the camera with big-picture thinking and an eye for spotting and funding worthy talent. His career arc took a turn in the early 2000s when he became a founding father of Plan B Entertainment, a production company that has had their name attached to some major releases in the 21st century.

If you are not one to always stick around for the credits, you might miss Pitt’s name appear as a producer on a movie, often in tandem with his colleague’s name, Dede Gardner. Sometimes, he produces movies he stars in. Sometimes, he produces movies he doesn’t even appear in. Sometimes, he executive produces. Sometimes he produces on a more intimate level. Either way, there is a decent chance you haven’t caught some of the many movies Pitt and his team have produced. We are here to share some of those titles and highlight Pitt’s storied producing career.

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Before director, writer, and producer Matthew Vaughn gave us Taron Eggerton and the Kingsman universe, he gave us Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Evan Peters in the superhero action comedy Kick-Ass (2010). Thanks to Pitt and co’s timely backing of the violent, dark comedy, with successful marketing, the movie was a box office smash.

The movie capitalized on the surge of the superhero genre in the early 2010s with something fresh and different, turning Vaughn’s flare for innovative action direction into a highly sought-after style. Pitt’s gamble on a big-budget movie with lots of up-and-comers in front of, and behind the camera, ultimately paid off and proves a worthy display of his vision and influence.

Okja (2017) is a Netflix original movie that features a cast of: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal and Giancarlo Esposito. Now Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-Ho helmed the feature, piror to Parasite (2019), Brad Pitt served as executive producer, and the movie was well-received by audiences and critics alike. So how come this movie flew so far under the radar?

2017 was still a time when Netflix originals did not flood the space, and streaming still had not hit the ridiculous peaks it has in the last handful of years. Sadly, It was easy at the time for a lot of American audiences to ignore an obscure title with a leading actress and director of Asian descent, when a movie like Parasite had not come out yet. Despite the lack of buzz with so much talent involved, Pitt’s production tag on this movie is more proof of his talent-catching eye and belief in backing said talent trying to tell a worthwhile, heartfelt story. Just like he aided Matthew Vaughn’s elevation to a national stage, Pitt helped bring Bong Joon-Ho’s work to American audiences who were willing to take a chance on a movie like this, prior to his big Oscar night in 2020.

Beautiful Boy (2018) received a lot of attention for its committed lead performances by Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, and rightly so, but even with solid reviews and ratings, it was largely overlooked as a movie. Being an Amazon Prime original, the movie’s quick release to the streaming service made it available to a lot of audiences at home right away.

As a movie that set out to tell the harrowing true tale of steep drug addiction and how it can tear a family apart, Pitt’s backing of the work showed his willingness to take part in a project with a message he feels is worth telling, no matter how big or small the production is. He also clearly wanted to support Chalamet’s rising talent as he would later go on to produce another Netflix original movie, The King (2019), starring Chalamet in a movie that uncovers another side of his acting chops.

The reason 12 Years a Slave (2013) is #7 on this list and not higher is because those who pay attention to the Oscars will know that Pitt’s involvement with this movie credited him an Oscar win for Best Picture, his first Oscar win in any category. Still, it can be easy to forget he served as a producer on this brutally visceral but honest and effective historical depiction of American slavery. Though it has nothing to do with his acting, and everything to do with screen time, it is also easy to forget about his cameo in one of the final scenes of the movies.

At this point in the list, it’s clear Pitt has a wide variety of interest when it comes to genre and content, and objectively great taste in regard to which projects he pursues. While this is the movie that finally put his name as a producer in the record books, it more so serves as an example of his ability to uncover and empower voices and stories that could otherwise be left on the shelf or release to smaller audiences.

If you weren’t aware of Pitt producing 12 Years a Slave in 2013, you may have feared the A-lister was starting to sell out when he starred in the zombie apocalypse movie, World War Z, which came out the very same year. The movie’s blockbuster appeal may have come across as a money grab to some, but Z is ultimately, a quality work for the intense piece that it is. Though the movie did not hard commit to its source material, Pitt’s producing tag helped make sure the movie could commit to being a large-scale action thriller that would deliver genuine fun and thrills for those seeking a good time at the theater.

Tackling two entirely different projects in the same year, one a blockbuster, the other a definitive heavy drama, Pitt and company once again proved their ambition and eagerness to keep busy with projects that effectively reach an array of audiences.

Related: Hollywood Has Seemingly Moved on From the Assault Allegations Against Brad Pitt, and People Are Furious

You know a movie like Vice (2018) has succeeded when it completely divides critics and audiences, yet still makes its presence felt in awards season because so many aspects of the movie are undeniably wonderful achievements. Vice is able to operate in a space that both educates and satirizes with caricature performances in a dramedy, thanks to the skill of Adam McKay. Pitt’s producing tag could easily get lost in the mix for this movie, given so many stars attached at every angle and his absence from a star-studded ensemble. But his willingness to produce a movie that goes the distance to send a political message shows his courage in backing work that announces his beliefs and stands to say something against the powers that be.

The early 2010s definitely saw Pitt in his incognito phase, producing a lot and taking small acting roles with differing appearances. The Big Short (2015) is a prime example of this. From the same team that would go on to make Vice, and with a couple recurring actors like Christian Bale and Steve Carell, Pitt was not going to just take a minor role in this Oscar-winning movie without having a larger role behind the scenes. As a producer, Pitt backed a movie that wowed with its adapted screenplay, nippy editing, and entertaining delivery of a serious and complex topic dealing with the 2007 housing market crash and the economic recession that followed.

The movie performed well in every regard thanks to a well-rounded team making and backing it. Pitt’s taste in pursuing such a project and his ability to raise the standards of the production resulted in success for those involved with the movie and those who spent time viewing it. Pitt’s direct involvement with the movie earned him primary producer credits, which means his name was listed with the Oscar nomination for Best Picture here.

The only time Brad Pitt has been Oscar-nominated for both acting and producing on the same project is Moneyball (2011). His producer tag here comes as a surprise to some because Pitt admitted he really knew nothing about baseball prior to getting involved. But when you have a screenwriter like Aaron Sorkin, a director like Bennett Miller, and co-stars like Robin Wright, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Chris Pratt, going all in on the movie is a no-brainer.

Pitt’s vulnerable, extremely human leading performance is well-documented here, but what does not get enough love here is his production value. The movie soared in every way as it balanced accurate sports content with rich drama and authentic emotion. It easily goes down as one of the best sports movies of the century, and Pitt’s ambition and curiosity to get more involved with the picture behind the scenes earned him that Best Picture nomination credit at the Oscars.

It’s easy to forgive those who don’t realize Pitt’s involvement in Martin Scorsese’s five-time-Oscar-winner, The Departed (2006). Back then, the Oscars only credited one producer for the Best Picture win, which in this case was Graham King. But Pitt was definitely involved, and he was even initially slotted to play the role of Colin Sullivan, before he and the crew decided to go with a younger actor, which turned out to be Matt Damon. Not every actor would continue to stay on as a producer after being replaced in leading role, but Pitt is able to put his ego second and his objective sight first. Pitt’s producer tag only added to the star-studded team assembled for the prestigious film. The movie still stands as the highest rated movie on IMDb that Pitt has produced.



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