With a starring role in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life out in UK cinemas 8 July, we take a look back at some of the most pivotal roles of Brad Pitt’s career.
Born in the modest city of Shawnee, Oklahoma international heart-throb Brad Pitt began life as a sheltered young man. While studying journalism at university, he discovered his true and deep rooted passion for film, coupled with an unquenchable thirst for performing. With limited options accessible in his home state of Missouri, Pitt’s undying infatuation with film prompted an audacious and daring move to Los Angeles. In an alluring yet cutthroat city teeming with budding young performers akin to Pitt, his first job saw him dressed as a chicken for a fast food restaurant. A string of similarly unbecoming and unspectacular odd jobs followed as Pitt struggled to pay for acting classes. Nevertheless, incessant fervour paid off in 1987 when he made his first on-screen performances. Receiving next to no credit for his early feats, Pitt was restricted to underwhelming cameo roles in titles such as No Way Out, No Man’s Land and Less than Zero. After a series of low key television appearances, highlighted by his portrayal of Randy in Dallas, Pitt finally got his big break in 1988 as the lead role in The Dark Side of the Sun, followed by a scene stealing supporting role as a hitchhiker in Thelma & Louise. And so began a dazzling and endlessly thriving career which has seen him star in some of the biggest and most highly acclaimed blockbusters of his generation.
THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN (1988)
In his first leading role, Pitt expertly portrays a youthful and fervent man who is diagnosed with a rare and fatal skin disease. On his journey to discover for a cure, he ends up discovering freedom and love instead. ( imdb link )
THELMA AND LOUISE (1991)
In this instant hit road film, Pitt appears as J.D. – a hitch-hiking, small time criminal. Although he was restricted to only a supporting role, many believe that his love scene with character Thelma marks the historic moment he became a global sex symbol.(imdb link)
TRUE ROMANCE (1993)
Again in 1993, Pitt remarkably gathered much attention for a bit part role in True Romance. Playing a dazed and confused stoner named Floyd, he brought much needed humour to Tarantino’s all action thriller. (imdb link)
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (1994)
Widely considered as the true turning point of his career, Pitt puts on a masterful performance as Louis de Pointe du Lac in this self-told story. Making an impressively convincing vampire, he tells his life story of love, betrayal, solitude and desire. (imdb link)
Considered one of the best films ever made, the neo-noir thriller sees Pitt co-star with Morgan Freeman. Detectives in a city of constant rain and urban decay, Pitt and Freeman embark on a turbulent hunt for a serial killer with a disturbing and gruesome plan.(IMDb link)
TWELVE MONKEYS (1995)
Following the success of SE7EN, Pitt put on a striking performance as Jeffery Goines in the 1995 Sci-Fi adventure Twelve Monkeys. The film received gleaming reviews with Pitt lauded in particular; so much so, in fact, that he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for his first Oscar. (imdb link)
FIGHT CLUB (1999)
1999 marked another successful year for Brad Pitt when he starred in the hit film, Fight Club. As a soap salesman, he appears alongside Edward Norton, starting an underground “fight club” that progressively gets out of hand and develops a much darker and most sinister agenda.(imdb link)
OCEAN’S ELEVEN, OCEAN’S TWELVE & OCEAN’S THIRTEEN (2001, 2004, 2007)
In these popular films released in 2001, 2004 and 2007 respectively, Brad Pitt plays “Rusty Ryan,” an accomplice of renowned crook Danny Ocean. The trilogy follows Ryan, Danny and the rest of their crew as they conspire to steal unimaginable amounts of money from casinos across the globe. (imdb link 1 , 2, 3)
MR. & MRS. SMITH (2005)
Made famous as the set where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie began their illustrious relationship, the plot sees them as married couple, unknown to one another that they are both professional assassins. The story takes a turn when each is hired to kill the other. In the events that ensue they learn more about each other than in the entire duration of their marriage. (imdb link)
In 2006, Brad Pitt starred as “Richard Jones,” one half of a married couple who suffer great tragedy during a vacation to the Moroccan desert. The plot intertwines several other stories, documenting the events and how they are connected. (imdb link)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON & BURN AFTER READING (2008)
In what proved to be an exciting and pivotal year for Brad, he appeared in two major blockbusters; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Burn after Reading. Pitt puts in a moving and evocative performance as Benjamin Button, as the film documents the life and relationships of a man who is curiously aging backwards. Adversely, in Burn After Reading he portrays the youthful and animated Chad Feldheimer who naively gets caught up in an attempt to blackmail a retired CIA agent, with surprising modest consequences (imdb links 1, 2)
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
Set during World War II, Pitt plays “Lt. Aldo Raine” the leader of a group of Jewish-American soldiers called “The Basterds,” whose sole job is to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by brutally killing and ‘scalping’ Nazis. (imdb links)
THE TREE OF LIFE (2011)
This much anticipated story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s, the film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father, played by Pitt.
The Tree Of Life will be released in UK&Ireland on July 8th.