In a revealing excerpt from his upcoming memoir, ‘Hits, Flops and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood,’ ‘Legends of the Fall’ director Edward Zwick sheds light on a tumultuous chapter with Brad Pitt during the making of the 1994 epic.
Zwick recounts the challenges he faced with Pitt, who almost left the project after being cast as Tristan Ludlow following Tom Cruise’s departure. The director details the rocky relationship in the memoir, sharing that Pitt’s agent contacted him after the first table read to express Brad’s desire to quit.
Describing the situation, Zwick writes, “It fell to [producer] Marshall [Herskovitz] to talk Brad off the ledge.” The director reveals that this incident was an early sign of the deeper emotional turmoil within Pitt. Despite Pitt’s initial easygoing demeanour, Zwick acknowledges the actor’s volatility when provoked, a facet that became more apparent as they navigated the challenges of shooting.
The Oscar-nominated film, ‘Legends of the Fall,’ delves into the lives of three brothers and their father, played by Anthony Hopkins, against the backdrop of early 20th-century Montana. The narrative unfolds over 50 years, exploring the impact of nature, war and love. Based on Jim Harrison’s 1979 novella, the epic showcases the complexity on and off the screen during its production.
Zwick delves deeper into the behind-the-scenes drama, revealing, “Sometimes, no matter how experienced or sensitive you are as a director, things just aren’t working.” Pitt, he notes, would get tense, especially before scenes demanding deep emotion.
‘The Last Samurai’ director opens up about clashes with Pitt over the vision for Tristan’s character, describing moments where Pitt resisted “revealing himself.” These creative differences sometimes led to heated confrontations in front of the crew, followed by reconciliations.
Zwick emphasizes Pitt’s positive attributes, highlighting him as “a forthright, straightforward person, fun to be with and capable of great joy.” Despite the challenges, Pitt remained fully committed to delivering his best.
As of now, Pitt has not responded to Zwick’s revelations. On a different note, recent reports suggest Pitt is in talks to star in Quentin Tarantino’s final film, ‘The Movie Critic.’
– Farheen Ali