Brad Pitt’s acting ability has taken him far in the film industry, even recently earning him an Oscar. But in the beginning of his career, Pitt felt he gave a pretty bad performance in an acclaimed film.
This was despite everyone else complimenting him on his character work.
Brad Pitt on if he’s ever felt underrated as an actor
Acting has been a long time aspiration for Pitt since his younger years. From an early age, the star found himself fascinated and drawn to storytelling. And it motivated him to tell his own interesting stories on the big screen.
“I grew up in Oklahoma and Missouri, and I just loved film. My folks would take us to the drive-in on summer nights, and we’d sit on the hood of the car. I just had this profound love for storytelling. I think it’s just an amazing thing we get to do. We’re so complex; we’re mysteries to ourselves; we’re difficult to each other. And then here’s this storytelling that reminds us we’re all the same. I consider it such a privilege,” Pitt once told Backstage.
His passion for acting eventually led Pitt to having an unforgettable run in Hollywood starring in a wide range of successful movies. But for all his success as a leading man, Pitt has stayed away from films that might have been too commercial. This was because of the actor’s preference to star in films that were provocative and more focused on storytelling and character. But this led to the question of whether or not Pitt felt underrated as a pure actor because of his huge celebrity.
“No, I thought I could always get there or make that turn as long as they let me stay in the game,” he answered. “Listen, I’ve been pretty fortunate. And if I’ve been underrated, it’s actually been something I’ve been able to work with; I can surprise people. It sets me up to exceed expectations, so I don’t mind.”
Brad Pitt once received massive praise for a performance he felt was weak
Pitt was cast in A River Runs Through It in 1992. It was a critically acclaimed feature directed by Robert Redford that starred Craig Sheffer. Pitt credited Redford for the invaluable advice he gave the then-fresh actor at the time. And Pitt discovered that his performance benefited because of it.
“He was a great director,” Pitt once told Collider. “I was doing something in the scene, and he just came up and said, ‘You’re sighing.’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Don’t do that. When you do that, you let the power out. You let the water out of the scene.’”
His performance received much praise from critics. So much so that, in a resurfaced interview with the LA Times, he was being compared to Redford himself. But Pitt didn’t agree with critics at the time. The actor couldn’t help feel that his acting in the movie was among one of his worst.
“My performance in A River Runs Through It was weak. I was just bad,” Pitt said.
He credited Redford’s editing skills as the reason why his acting might have appeared better than Pitt thought it was. But also, Pitt theorized his admiration for Redford might have interfered with his acting.
“I had an ultimate respect for Redford, and so I just felt this pressure not to let him down, and ultimately that gets in the way. So what do you learn? Just do your thing,” he added.
Brad Pitt does ‘less and less’ with acting nowadays
Pitt would later overcome the challenges he once faced to become an actor celebrated more for his work and ability. As he’s gotten older, however, Pitt’s taken a bit of a backseat towards acting and has transitioned to more behind the scenes work. Pitt felt his newfound position in the film industry was due to the nature of the business as time marched on.
“I keep doing less and less,” he once told GQ(via ET) about acting. “I really believe that overall it’s a younger man’s game –not that there aren’t substantial parts for older characters — I just feel, the game itself, it’ll move on naturally. There will be a natural selection to it all.”
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