It has been over 20 years since we have seen him on the screen. But Brad Pitt had always been the Hollywood star that is just too far to get close to. Yet then on Tuesday, film “Moneyball,” set to open in Korea’s theaters on November 17, brought Pitt to Korea. Below are excerpts from the hour spent with the actor who was closer to Tristan from “Legends of the Fall” than the energetic general manager Billy Beane of a baseball team in “Moneyball.”
“Moneyball” is about a theory that brought innovative change to the history of baseball.
Brad Pitt: These guys did change the game, maybe just a couple of degrees but they did alter the way we place value in our players and I think that’s the ultimate theme of the theme. And as I said, because they started asking these questions of our value system, they were able to find this talent pool that nobody was using and disregarded. The beauty to that story is that these guys were labeled a failure and probably thought that of themselves to a certain degree because of our value system but suddenly found new worth in themselves and were able to give something to the game. So since implementing these ideas, the way we value our players now in all sports has changed and that is to their credit.
I enjoyed reading both the confidence and desperation Billy Bean felt over the ‘Moneyball theory.’ What effort did you put into harmonize the two opposite emotions?
Pitt:What interested me was the book called “Moneyball.” And I had never thought about sports from the economic side. That if you have a team with a quarter or a fraction of a payroll to the other team, how are they going to compete? But then what these guys realize is they can’t. They can’t fight like the other guys fight so they have to come up with a new solution. So with the feeling with competitive individuals, I’m quite competitive myself and in a climate of desperation, they really need to win. So what these guys did was they tore down baseball knowledge and started questioning everything. And in doing that they found great inefficiencies in the sport — how we value players and how we value ourselves. So this pull of need to win in this new idea versus the confidence of who these athletes are, there was always in play the discovery of confidence within themselves.
The major league and Hollywood are similar industries in the sense that both provide joy to the public yet function on the harsh science of money and data. So like how Billy Beane believed in the ‘Moneyball theory’ composed of money and statistics and paradoxically proved how to enjoy baseball, is there a theory or particular effort you put into enjoy acting while surviving in the cold-hearted system in Hollywood?
Pitt: I think that first and foremost for me is: what is significant about our time? If I was given this card, how am I going to use it? What stories can I tell? These are always on my mind. And what people I can work with. I also think, if I’m going to do a part, what makes it different from someone else? To be a component part, how can I be different instead of replaceable? I’m always thinking of the interconnected result that only I can create.
What is your favorite baseball team?
Pitt:My favorite baseball team — besides the Oakland Athletics which I have a soft spot for because I’d been hanging out the Coliseum for a couple years while working on the project for four or five years —
would be the winner of the world series this year, the St. Louis Cardinals. I hadn’t grown up in Missouri but they were the closest and we were five hours drive away. It was really nice to see them win. Especially game six which says no matter how much you break this game down to the science, it’s still about those magical moments.
You recently mentioned that you plan to quit acting and make movies. When will this be and what sort of films do you plan to make?
Pitt:I wasn’t putting an exact deadline on my expiration date but I see it coming. And I do quite enjoy the producing side so as far as what kinds of films, it’s the same kinds of films we’re doing now which is a mixed bunch and more about complex stories. It might have difficulty getting made in the current system or getting behind talent that we believe in and giving them that extra muscle that they need.
Your name has been a synonym for good-looking. And you still are but how does it feel to age?
Pitt: Me personally, I like aging. With age comes wisdom. I’ll take wisdom over youth any day. I think certainly being a father has changed everything for me, as far as perspective, in terms of taking care of myself… I want to be around for them.
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