In the August issue of QG magazine, in an extremely softball interview, Pitt talked about being sober and quitting smoking. He quoted the poet Rumi. But the photos made more noise, sending the internet savage, simply because they challenge the traditional glamor of leading men. In one, he’s pale, his eyes lined with liner, lying in a watery flower bed like a dead Ophelia. In another, her eyes are adorned with rays of metallic silver makeup. With surreal and psychedelic backdrops, the photos were eccentric and completely unexpected. Accept to this was also a savvy move, the kind that keeps viewers curious and helps keep the careers of great actors alive.
Pitt’s sequel to Bullet Train couldn’t be more different from a popcorn action movie. In Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, set in 1920s Hollywood and slated for release in December, he plays a character believed to be based on silent film idol John Gilbert. The role embraces conventional Hollywood glamour. But Pitt’s funny sense of his image and career shows us how to be a movie star — not an Instagram celebrity or influencer, but an enduring, old-school movie star — one for the 21st century.
Bullet Train is released in the United States on August 5.
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