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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood Star Brad Pitt Challenges Masculinity in ‘Ad Astra’

VENICE, Italy – After overcoming several personal crises and addictions, Brad Pitt proves, once again, in his latest movie “Ad Astra” why he is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

With Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” in which he plays stunt double Cliff Booth, still on in cinemas, the actor is getting ready for his new film’s premiere, set to air on Friday.

In “Ad Astra,” directed by James Gray, Pitt plays an astronaut called Roy McBride who travels around the Solar System looking for his missing father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who disappeared in space during a mission that is putting the entire human race in danger.

The movie challenges human existence, but also, the values that have been associated with masculinity throughout history.

The actor is also one of the film’s producers, a role that Pitt has also been taking on in the last decade with Plan B Entertainment, his own production company that has produced Oscar-winning movies like “Moonlight” and “12 Years a Slave.”

He sat down with EFE for an interview.

In “Ad Astra” there is this general science fiction story but also the story of a man who is emotionally blocked.

This was by design. James wanted the science fiction genre set pieces but to actually be a delivery system for what becomes a very intimate film, a real journey of the soul culminating in a very dark journey where he is left completely alone and has to face himself without any distractions. I think it’s about coming to terms with his own personal grief, his own pains, remorse, his own perceptions, whether real or imagined of himself in his own shame.

This movie kind of deals with a certain crisis of masculine values.

Yes, James and I always grew up with this idea of masculinity being strength, don’t show weakness, don’t be disrespected... And that is actually a bit of a prison from taking inventory of your own missteps and weaker areas and it actually becomes a barrier from being really open with those you love.

Can you imagine making this movie any other time? Because I imagine you put a lot of your personal experiences in the movie.

Yes, you have to with each job, you have to bring something personal to it or it just doesn’t land, or it’s disposable or you could put anyone in it. It’s always a question, if I’m doing the part, of ‘what do I have to offer?’ Time and place, this movie is here and now because it was a matter James and I were interested at this time.

Has your job as a producer been important to gain respect in the industry?

No, that’s not the impetus for it, that would come from good work. I’ve always loved storytelling, and particularly in cinema. Producing is another way of being part of stories I don’t necessarily fit in, but stories that we’re move by, that has power to speak to our time.

What do you think of the human will of conquering space after doing this movie?

I think we have always been, as humans, adventurers, pioneers, wanting to explore the unknown, in a way to tell us about ourselves. I think we’ll carry on, but the movie is trying to say ‘let’s not forget about each other in the meantime.’

As a producer, what do you think about the cinema situation? That people go more to watch family, thriller or superhero films, it’s difficult to see more intimate stories. What do you think, as a producer, about this moment in the history of the industry? How has it changed?

There certainly was a shift, because movies became so expensive, especially with advertising. Studios either bet on the big spectacles, like the superhero films we enjoy, or if it was a more intimate, truthful, intimate challenge it has to be very small. With this one, we were able to combine the two and it’s rare that we get that chance, but I keep pushing along those lines because they have been made less and less certain for the big screen.


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