Why Brad Pitt is the Ultimate Movie Star of the 21st Century


In the August issue of GQ magazine, in an extremely softball interview, Pitt talked about being sober and quitting smoking. He quoted the poet Rumi. But the photos have caused more noise, sending the internet wild, simply because they defy the conventional glamor of leading men. In one, he’s pale, his eyes lined with liner, lying in a watery flowerbed like a dead Ophelia. In another, her eyes are adorned with rays of metallic silver makeup. With surreal and psychedelic backdrops, the photos were eccentric and completely unexpected. Accept to this was also a savvy move, the kind that keeps viewers curious and helps keep the careers of great actors alive.

Pitt’s sequel to Bullet Train couldn’t be more different from a popcorn action movie. In Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, set in 1920s Hollywood and slated for release in December, he plays a character believed to be based on silent film idol John Gilbert. The role embraces conventional Hollywood glamour. But Pitt’s funny sense of his image and career shows us how to be a movie star — not an Instagram celebrity or influencer, but an enduring, old-school movie star — one for the 21st century.

Bullet Train is released in the United States on August 5.

Do you like movies and television? Rejoin BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community of film lovers from all over the world.

If you want to comment on this story or anything else you’ve seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or send us a message on Twitter.

And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday


Comments are closed.