With Brad Pitt all over social media last week looking like he stepped straight out the 1990s and into 2020 it was hard not to think about what he was actually doing back then. Turns out he was very busy making a ton of now iconic movies. Lets take a little trip through five of his best.
Thelma and Louise -1991
This was Brad Pitt’s breakthrough role, playing J.D., a charming, cowboy-hat-wearing drifter who Thelma and Louise meet as they flee the police.
Pitt claims that he only got cast for the role because the producers were “desperate”. And he says he still winces whenever he watches the Oscar-winning hit — directed by Ridley Scott and starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon — because his voice on screen is so high due to crippling nerves.
To be honest I can’t remember what his voice sounded like. I can only remember a hair dryer, a cowboy hat, and a set of abs.
A River Runs Through It – 1992
For much of his early career, Brad Pitt was compared to a young Robert Redford, so it was fitting that this 1992 drama about a fishing family in Montana brought the two together. Redford starred and directed the film which proved to be the scene-stealing leg up Pitt needed, vaulting him toward movie stardom.
Ironically Brad Pitt almost didn’t get the role of Paul Maclean. He had to audition twice. The first time he thought that his performance was really terrible, so he insisted on sending a tape performing another scene and that scene convinced the director that Pitt was a perfect choice.
12 Monkeys – 1995
Brad Pitt received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in this twisty sci-fi noir directed by Terry Gilliam. Pitt played Jeffery Goines, an erratic mental patient who spews compulsive visions of paranoia and dread.
It was a pretty impressive performance for a guy who was modelling jeans just a few years earlier. But in a 2019 interview with the New York Times Pitt doesn’t sound likes he’s particularly proud of the role saying,
“I nailed the first half of 12 Monkeys. I got the second half all wrong. That performance bothered me because there was a trap in the writing. It’s not the writing’s fault, but it was something that I couldn’t figure out.”Brad Pitt, New York Times, 2019
Se7en – 1995
Brad Pitt starred as rookie detective David Mills alongside Morgan Freeman in this gritty thriller by David Fincher. Pitt apparently took on the grim crime drama in the hopes of shedding his leading man image. He told The Morning Call in 1995 that he wanted to kill his larger than life image.
“I was looking for something with a documentary feel. I wanted to play a character who has flaws, who has good intentions but makes mistakes.”Brad Pitt, The Morning Call, 1995
Pitt says decades later he still gets approached by people who shout out his infamous line from the end of the movie, “What’s in the box?”
Fight Club -1999
Fight Club was the first movie that married Brad Pitt’s desire to play offbeat, weird characters with his outrageously good looks. Tyler Durden, with his sculpted bod and anarchic spirit, guided by Fincher’s caustic vision, became an instant icon. So did his classic lines summing up the rules of fight club.
If you want to learn more about the making of this movie check out Ep #21 of History of the 90s. We looked back at some of the great movies from 1999 including Fight Club.