He is way more than just a talented actor. In the past few years, Brad Pitt has been increasingly active as a producer, and the quality of his choices have earned him three Oscars.

This has not stopped him from continuing to pile up successes in front of the camera. In addition to co-starring with Leonardo di Caprio in Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, he has recently played the lead in James Gray’s “Ad Astra”, the story of a man who heads into space looking for his father, and for himself. This film, which he also produced, brought him to the Venice Film Festival.

(Pitt was asked the following questions at a press conference)

Brad Pitt

What led to produce this film and act in it ?

“James (Gray) and I have been friends since the ’90s. We always wanted to work together, and the moment finally came. He’s a brilliant professional, really at the top of his game as a storyteller. He gave me the script of “Ad Astra”, I read it and then showed it to my people at Plan B (Pitt’s production company). As a man, a son, and a father, I was very much attracted by the message he wanted to convey.”

What do you mean exactly ?

“No matter how much we try to hide it, all of us live with some scars, some pain from our childhood. As an actor, my job is to use that suffering, that emotion. If I’m not authentic in my performance, the viewer will know.”

What’s Gray’s greatest asset as a director ?

“The ability to have a truly personal vision when he portrays the characters in a film. We were on the
same wavelength throughout working on the movie. I’m very happy about that. We were both very open about our feelings, emotions, and failures. James would send me emails where he’d even discuss aspects of his personal life. This allowed us to communicate frankly, openly, without filters.”

Any difficulties ?

“It’s been the most challenging movie I’ve ever done. It’s not easy to portray a complex father-son relationship in a balanced and tactful way.”

“Ad Astra” is also the story of a journey in search of one’s self. Was it rewarding to accept a film that is so honest at a time like ours, when honesty seems pretty underestimated?

“In making the movie we focussed especially on our idea of masculinity. We live in a time that requires us to be strong, armoured up, able to defend ourselves and to make others respect us. To achieve all that, we inevitably end up building up barriers and retreating into ourselves, denying our pain, our shame, our emotions. The question underlying this movie is, do we have any chance of establishing
better relationships with the people we love? With our parents, our children, but also with ourselves?”

What guides you when you choose movies parts, or film to produce?

“I grew up with the movies of the ‘70s, and the great characters in those movies are neither good nor bad. They’re just human. These are the stories I like. I love complexity in a character, and I love the idea that there are multiple sides to things, that nothing is either black or white. And then I think: if this movie touches me, it will touch others as well.”