Brad Pitt scotched talk of imminent retirement as he travelled to Paris for the premiere of his Jackie Chan-inspired action caper “Bullet Train”.
The 58-year-old had worried fans that his acting days may be numbered after a GQ interview in which he said he was in the “last semester” of his career.
But Pitt told AFP: “I’m not getting out by any means.
“It seems that might have been taken as a statement of retirement. That’s not what I was saying,” he said.
“I’m over that hump of middle age and so I’m looking at that last leg ... how do I want to spend that time? At my age, you’ve made enough mistakes ... now there’s a comfort in applying that kind of wisdom.”
“Bullet Train”, which is being released in the UAE on August 4, sees Pitt trying something new in an action comedy from the director of “John Wick”, David Leitch.
Pitt plays a reluctant hit-man fighting off rivals on a Japanese train.
“It’s much more fun than the regular punch-up. It’s infused with humour and character,” he said.
“I can’t say enough about Jackie Chan and what he’s done, and to be in that arena, even close to that, is something I hadn’t done before.”
Pitt will next be seen in “Babylon” about Hollywood’s golden age, directed by Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”).
That will partner him again with Margot Robbie — the pair starred in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once upon a Time in Hollywood”, which won Pitt an Oscar in 2020.
But Pitt said he takes particular enjoyment from production duties with his company Plan B.
The company has three best picture Oscar winners to its name — “The Departed”, “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Moonlight” — and will soon release the hotly tipped “Blonde” about Marilyn Monroe.
“I really like what we’ve been able to do on the producing end. You get to be part of stories, foster new talent,” he said.
Unlike other major movie stars such as Tom Cruise, Pitt is not as wedded to the nostalgia of movie theatres.
“I like the dichotomy, the streamer as well as the theatre experience, because films were getting so expensive to do and to market that it was either big tent-pole movies or very small intimate movies and there was no room for anything in-between. Streamers have opened it up for more voices,” he said.
Nonetheless, Pitt said he had recently loved going to watch “Elvis” in a cinema.
“I’m a big fan of Austin Butler, I think he’s going to do great work,” said Pitt of the film’s star.
“It was so much fun to be there again. There’s a place for both.”
What’s the movie about?
Pitt plays Ladybug, an unlucky assassin who wants to get a job done well before he finds himself battling a range of dangerous opponents, all with missions connected to his, on board the bullet train.
Based on Kotaro Isaka’s 2010 novel, the film also stars Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon and Hiroyuki Sanada.
“Dave actually was my stunt man in ‘98...We met on ‘Fight Club’ and he trained me for the fight and it worked so well,” Pitt told a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday, about Leitch.
“We went on with that pairing till about ‘04 with a bunch of other films, and then he left me to do other things, and now it’s come back full circle so it’s really nice for me to have him as the boss now.” The film features plenty of stunts and fight scenes as the assassins all seek to get hold of a briefcase.
Leitch, who directed “Atomic Blonde”, “Deadpool 2” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”, said he sought to balance the film’s violence with comedy.
“It’s always a balance of tone in a movie...I think creating a heightened world... allows us to get away with more things,” he said. “So we’re in this sort of comic book world, this escapist fantasy world and we can play with some of those darker ideas.” The film’s cast and crew are promoting “Bullet Train” in Europe this week ahead of its global release in early August.
“I didn’t even realise it’s been like three years because we’ve been in lockdown and haven’t brought anything to a table in a while,” Pitt said of returning to the promotional trail.
“It’s just nice. We all put everything we had into telling the story. It’s come together...and it’s really nice to now let it go, hopefully people will be enjoying it together in the theatre, laughing.”
Brad Pitt on his much-talked about outfit
Pitt recently made headlines when he wore a skirt to the ‘Bullet Train’ premiere in Germany. Pitt gave the best explanation he could for the inspiration behind the look.
“I don’t know! We’re all going to die, so let’s mess it up,” Pitt told Variety.
For the Los Angeles premiere, Pitt wore a roomy green suit complemented by a teal undershirt and vibrant yellow sneakers.
Although the violence is nearly relentless in ‘Bullet Train’, Pitt clarified that he was happy to hand off some dangerous moments during production to a professional stuntman.
“I try to get out of it. I love a stuntman,” Pitt said.
“This one was action-comedy, something I’ve never done before. David and I had always been big fans of Jackie Chan. We’d been talking about him for decades. He’s kind of our Buster Keaton. He’s so talented and underrated even. Just to do something in that direction was what was really appealing to me.”
Pitt also shared that he was able to avoid injury while making the film, though some of his co-stars weren’t as lucky.
“I certainly went home and went, ‘Owwwww’, but no!”, Pitt exclaimed. “But Aaron [Taylor-Johnson] on the other hand. Brian [Tyree Henry] on the other hand! The young ‘uns, you know?”
Don’t miss it!
‘Bullet Train’ releases in UAE cinemas on August 4.