“I dropped Brad Pitt and then he in his underwear offered me a Coca Cola”- Corriere.it



Of Valerio Cappelli

Valerio Cappelli talks about the Hollywood star. The camera interview on the Lido and his career as a «miracle who won the lottery». “As a boy, I left Missouri and rode my motorcycle to Los Angeles. I had 2-300 dollars in my pocket. I didn’t know anyone”

I’m walking down the corridor of the hotel on the Venice Lido, head down, immersed in the messy sheets with a few questions to ask, and the memo of the day, when suddenly Brad Pitt shows up. The American star comes from the opposite corridor. He too walks quickly, his head thrown back as he sips a Coca-Cola. It is not a meeting but a clash. In front of the lift to which the two opposite corridors lead on the legendary second floor of the Hotel Excelsior on the Lido, headquarters of the Film Festival. It is legendary because there is the Sala degli Stucchi that Sergio Leone used in one of the most exciting scenes of Once upon a time in Americathe one in which Robert De Niro rents the entire restaurant to be alone with the girl who lived his dreams as a boy, actress Elizabeth McGovern, who loved him in turn but for her it was just a blaze as teenagers, considering him just a highwayman.

In short, the clash between Brad Pitt and the writer is inevitable. We crash to the ground, the worst is up to me, he’s taller, more athletic, more everything. And while we are on the floor, both in disbelief, his six bodyguards, six wardrobes, begin to insult each other, holding each other responsible for what happened to their illustrious client. They had relaxed thinking that nothing could happen in front of the elevator of a prestigious hotel like that. The six wardrobes scream and at one point almost come to blows. The actor and I look at each other and start laughing. He says: let’s take a selfie but I don’t have my cell phone with me. So I give him mine, he takes it, lowers himself a little to have the same height as me and captures that instant beyond any reality and any logic of a film festival, where until the 70s you could be face to face with the actors but today everything is armored.

Brad Pitt realizes his pants are stained with Coca-Cola, I explain to him that in an hour’s time I would have a meeting with him about his film, Ad Astra, with four other journalists from international newspapers. Catching me off guard, breaking all protocols, he says to me: «Friend, take me to the room, I have to change and in the meantime let’s start talking». All right thank you. The rhythms of a festival are so pressing and brutal that I don’t realize the gift it is giving me. We enter his suite, he takes off his gray tee-shirt in front of me (the muscles are all there) and the trousers, he opens the wardrobe, chooses another pair, puts down the cap he is wearing, puts his boots back on, lifts the shutter, opens the mini-bar, hands me a can of Coke and a another uncorks it for him, sits down and with his hand invites me to do the same, stretches his legs on the table. He says, “Ask me what you want.”

Has the same unchanged killer beauty, he wears long sideburns and an unknown number of bracelets, necklaces, rings. I look at it and think, after the divorce from Angelina Jolie, and the collapse of the image of the perfect family, how many were willing to bet that Brad Pitt’s fame would increase? An impossible complicity to imagine was created in one of the usual plastered meetings with the actors, we look like two school mates. It comes naturally to me to ask him about his beginnings. And he: «But I am a miracle worker».

What? “I left Missouri as a boy and I went to Los Angeles on a motorcycle. I had 2-300 dollars in my pocket. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have the slightest idea of ​​what I was going to do. I am a miracle worker who has won the Lottery». Well guys, that’s another article. I call the editor-in-chief and tell him, “Look, this is a big deal.” The day after the Courier headline on the front page, “Brad Pitt: I miracle, I won the lottery.” The biggest surprise was yet to come. The meeting with the actor took place in 2019, Me Too was born two years earlier, in 2017 the New York Times accused Harvey Weinstein, the ogre of Hollywood, the powerful US film producer, of sexual harassment.

But awareness hadn’t fully exploded yet that from that moment on, in terms of respect and women’s rights, from cinema to other working areas, there was no turning back and things would change. Brad Pitt, symbol of the seductive man, 55 years old at the time, told me that machismo in and around Hollywood was unbearable. He begged me not to make it a crusade, to return his thoughts to him in a soft way, we chose the words together. In the article, Brad Pitt says: “Today they still call me a sex symbol and it bothers me.”

He says it was the right time for him to play the character Roy in Ad Astra, an astronaut: «Because he is a fragile hero». I ask him how he worked on his astronaut’s loneliness, if he fished in the pain of divorce. He replies that «an actor must use that kind of feeling, he must be honest, vulnerable, open, not trying to be nice or nasty». And he returns to the machismo from which he wants to distance himself light years, he, the irresistible thief heartthrob of Thelma & Louise: «American men are prisoners of certain schemes that must be overcome, they are too used to creating barriers, to denying pain, shame. In this film I started from a question: is there the possibility of a better relationship with the people we love and with ourselves?».

In this story shot by an intellectual director like James Gray you can find archetypes, references, quotes from films and novels, from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to Moby Dick. «True, I was fascinated by an intimate story in infinite space, the father of the astronaut, believed to be dead, was a parent who abandoned him as a child and his absence has made my Roy, who continues to idolize him, a solitary person incapable of express his emotions. He stops, takes my wrist looking for a deeper understanding: “Man, believe me, this was my biggest challenge as an actor, pouring out emotions while I’m alone, in space, without a love life. How many sci-fi movies really touch our soul? I’m not a Star Wars guy.”

Here we are closer to Solaris. “I agree, but it’s a kind of film dominated by special effects, where you hang from the wires, suspended ten meters above the ground.” The most adventurous journey, however, was the one he made as a boy, on a motorcycle, from Missouri in pursuit of his American dream in Hollywood. “I was born in a windy Mid-West town and wandered among the palm trees of California in search of fortune.” The speech slips on the missing Oscar statuette, he told me that «every year talented people take it and others of equal talent don’t take it. Many of my friends have won. I’m happy all the same»; reveals to me that I’m not a cinephile like Quentin Tarantino, “I used to go to the Drive In when I was young, now if I watch a movie on TV I tune in to a comedy, I can’t handle tragedies, but yesI grew up with the great independent cinema of the 70s, where you don’t find good or bad but a complex humanity».

After an hour I find myself in the planned meeting with the other four foreign colleagues. The publicist of the film has a sheet with the names of the credited. «Valerio, you can go». Brad Pitt looks at me and winks. My article disregarded all this incredible unscheduled, but I hinted something. It began like this: «Before I am swallowed up by his bodyguards, Brad Pitt finally free looks like an out of quota student, the cheeky easy going air, ready to share a Coca-Cola». So I met a Hollywood star among the stars of the universe.

June 4, 2023 (change June 4, 2023 | 23:07)


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