In Ad Astra, Brad Pitt Seeks A New Definition Of Masculinity

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Ad Astra had its world premiere yesterday at the Venice Film Festival, giving Brad Pitt an opportunity to comment on his collaboration with writer-director James Gray (We Own the Night, The Lost City of Z), and his long overdue return to science fiction (for the first time since 1995’s Twelve Monkeys). Drawing parallels to the complex American films of the ’70s, Pitt described Ad Astra as a uniquely challenging undertaking. “The story is so delicate and we knew that any clips, voiceover could tip the film over, make it too obvious,” he said. “It was a constant effort to try to maintain a balance and keep this story unfolding in a very subtle and delicate way.”

While Pitt may not have known precisely what they were expressing during the shoot, he believes the film’s vision came sharply into focus. “In retrospect, what James and I were digging at was that definition of masculinity,” he explained. “We’ve both grown up in an era where we were asked to be strong… and there is a value in that, but [also a] barrier because you’re hiding some of those things you feel ashamed of. We all hide and carry individual pain and wounds. We were asking the questions—is there a better definition [of masculinity] for us… a better relationship with loved ones, with your kids and with ourselves?”

Already considered a serious Oscar contender for his performance in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Pitt could become a double nominee in 2020 if the early praise for Ad Astra continues. However, the actor is pretty philosophical about awards, acknowledging that there simply aren’t enough nominations to recognize every good film. “Every year, I see amazing talent getting acknowledged, and amazing talent not getting acknowledged,” he said. “When your name comes up, it’s great, and when it doesn’t, it’s a usually a friend, so I’m happy too.”

Ad Astra arrives in theatres on September 20. Check out the trailer below.