The world’s biggest movie star talks about his role in Fury and learning from his son
Brad Pitt may be the man, women of all ages have lusted after for the longest time, but that is not his only claim to fame. The Oscar-winning actor and producer also has several films in his career—from Fight Club, Mr & Mrs Smith and Inglourious Basterds to the charming thief in the Ocean series—that have won him fans across audiences. In his upcoming war-based film, Fury, Pitt will be seen as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, a US Army Staff Sergeant. According to the actor, the role is a real study in leadership. So much so that he now considers himself a better father to his six children with newly-wed wife, Angelina Jolie. More from Pitt:
Why did you want to make this movie?
I am first a fan of David Ayer (writer and director of Fury)
— from Harsh Times to End of Watch. In his films, I recognise a knowing that is beyond mine. I knew I could learn something from this man, and that for me is everything. Dave has lived an extraordinary life, including time spent on a nuclear submarine. His extensive knowledge and his respect for the military drew me in.
What insights can you give into your character, Wardaddy?
The Wardaddy character is the tank commander (TC) so his responsibilities are first to his crew, to make sure that their morale is up and that they are operating as a machine. If one cog fails, they are not going home. The TC also has to simultaneously have his eyes on the playing field, monitoring any and all potential threats — because war comes at you fast and ferociously. One late call means no one’s going home.
He seems a very tough man…
He has to be because you need clarity in battle. Our tanks were inferior to the German tanks. The odds of survival were grim. At the start of the film, we’ve lost our fifth crewmember and a new kid is thrown into the mix and into our family. If you can imagine, a tank is a very tight and intimate place; we eat, sleep, piss, fight — all within this confined metal box. It’s our home. And then suddenly this new kid is thrown in. Because he’s had no tank experience, he is actually a threat to our survival. So this kid comes in with all the values we cherish at home: innocence, idealism, humanity, but these values have little place on the battlefield. This paradox becomes Wardaddy’s responsibility: to beat this out of him and prepare him for the horror that is war.
Did you personally feel responsibile on set to act as a leader?
Sure, the whole experience was a profound education on leadership. If we were ordered to do push-ups, I was first on the ground. They had to know I was working at least as hard if not harder than they were. I am not the most talkative by nature but here we were, five guys stuck in a tin can and I’m the senior of the bunch, and I felt this responsibility to be direct and open with my guys. And I root for them because our industry is a very discombobulating place, especially for young actors today.
How did the time spent with WWII veterans influence your performance?
I’ve seen the hellish photos from the time and I’ve read the books. So sitting in the presence of these extraordinary men, who have lived and survived war, and willing to share their experiences with the five of us, was quite moving.
Was this a film set that your family could visit?
My oldest son knows about every tank—so much so that when we first started, I was asking him for info. He has an extensive knowledge developed on his own since he was younger. I brought my five-year-old on set and he was awed by the tank. I think it’s that inexplicable fascination man has for machine.
Are there many other filmmakers you would still like to work with?
Sure. I appreciate directors who have an authentic voice, challenge the medium, and have a very, very precise point of view. At the end of the day, we are in their hands.
Fury is scheduled to release on October 31.
— Team Indulge