“Happiness is overrated,” Brad Pitt once said, which could be why merely being famous, rich, and heaped with praise for decades still didn’t stop the him from catching a case of Gold Fever and hunting for buried treasure.
In GQ‘s new glowing portrait of Pitt, the actor tells critically acclaimed novelist Ottessa Moshfegh that he’s closing in on the end, his star is waning.
“I consider myself on my last leg,” Pitt, 58, revealed. “This last semester or trimester. What is this section gonna be? And how do I wanna design that?”
Pitt is not so far gone, however, that he can’t recall the good times. For instance, when he got to LARP Indiana Jones.
The adventure kicked off at Chateau Miraval, the 1000-acre estate in Provence, France he once shared with ex-wife Angelina Jolie but which is now the object of a protracted legal battle.
A few years ago, he told Moshfegh, a man approached him and explained that millions of dollars worth of gold that one of the chateau’s crusading medieval owners pillaged from the Levant had been buried right in the grounds of Jolie-Pitt estate.
Despite commanding about $20 million a picture, Pitt was struck stupid with excitement.
“I got obsessed,” he says of the lost Crusades loot. “Like for a year, this was all I could think about, just the excitement of it all.”
He even bought the obligatory ground-radar equipment and hunted all over the ghostly property.
“Maybe it has something to do with where I grew up,” he mused, “because in the Ozark Mountains there were always stories of hidden caches of gold.”
No treasure was unearthed. It seems Pitt was the target of a classic scam, as he eventually discovered the man was trying to put the touch on him for some kind of radar company scheme. Pitt is still surprised that he almost got hooked, calling the experience “pretty foolish in the end,” adding, “It was just the hunt that was exciting.”
Fool or no, Pitt will always have a fan in his friend Quentin Tarantino, who Moshfegh got on the horn while she was chatting with the superstar.
“He’s one of the last remaining big-screen movie stars,” Tarantino, who directed Pitt in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and 2019’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, waxes rhapsodic. “It’s just a different breed of man. And frankly, I don’t think you can describe exactly what that is because it’s like describing starshine.”
Tarantino—who also penned what is still one of Pitt’s most beloved characters, Dick Ritchie’s passive-aggressive stoner roommate, Floyd, in 1993’s True Romance—continued:
“I noticed it when we were doing Inglourious Basterds. When Brad was in the shot, I didn’t feel like I was looking through the viewfinder of the camera. I felt like I was watching a movie. Just his presence in the four walls of the frame created that impression.”
It sure doesn’t hurt that Pitt is pretty easy on the eyes.
“He’s really good-looking,” Tarantino said. “He’s also really masculine and he’s also really hip; he gets the joke… But the thing that only the directors that work with Brad and the actors that act opposite him really know, what he’s so incredibly talented at, is his ability to really understand the scene. He might not be able to articulate it, but he has an instinctive understanding about it.”
Still, even Tarantino himself might not appreciate the full extent of Pitt’s acting process. “I’m one of those creatures that speaks through art,” he said. “I just want to always make. If I’m not making, I’m dying in some way.”
For this summer, Pitt made Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch, who was his stunt-double in such works as Fight Club, Troy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
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