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Feature: Babel

Brad Pitt

Hollywood’s hottest star tells all about acting in Babel, international fame and his new family responsibilities

There can’t be many places on Earth that Brad Pitt can walk around these days without being recognized, but the remote area of Morocco where the actor shot his scenes for Babel offered him a rare taste of anonymity. “Yeah. Fair to say it was actually very freeing in that sense, where you just concentrate on the work,” concedes Pitt. “I appreciate that. I like an adventure, I like to get out into another area in some place I haven’t spent a lot of time. It’s one of the perks that we get to experience, to really get under the skin of a place. I’ll take [a role] because of that.” Director Alejandro González Iñárritu was keen to make the most of the location as well, convincing many of the locals, some of whom had never even seen a camera before, to appear in the film. “Of course you’ve got to credit Alejandro with great casting,” enthuses the Oklahoma-born actor. “The kids and people in the village we filmed in, for example, a lot of the characters were cast straight from the village. And I was surprised how easily they picked it up and understood what they were trying to get across. And even with the language barriers, I was just really surprised. And I mean, it took me down a notch. Incredible.”

Indeed, the film as a whole was a pleasantly humbling experience for Pitt, who enjoyed ditching his leading man status to muck in with an ensemble cast. “Well, first of all, being part of an ensemble is always more fun. You’re not scared to film,” he reveals. “But the real joy was knowing that I can just go in and concentrate on a particular corner, a particular part of this film. And that it wasn’t just about – it wasn’t going to be about my story, and it’s going to be about all the stories and the cumulative effect of them once they are combined. And so it was great fun for me to concentrate on just our sections.”

The intensity of the part and the pressures of working in the intense heat of the Moroccan desert might have been too much for some actors, but Pitt managed to keep his head during the potentially arduous shoot. “When they say, ‘Wrap!’ – they got done for the day!” he says. “Yeah, you get to rest. It’s getting back into it in the morning that’s more difficult than when you need to wrap up. And to maintain that high level of anxiety, I did not understand, going into it, how difficult it would be to maintain that on an actor level, you know?”

by Chris Prince

Read the full interview, plus director Alejandro González Iñárritu's thoughts on the movie in
Film Review (Jan)

Photo © Paramount Vantage
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Jan), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jan)
#678, January 2007
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