Brad Pitt’s Legends Of The Fall director reveals that the breakout star was ‘unhappy’ when he graced People’s Sexiest Man Alive cover for first time
He’s one of the few men to have been named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive twice.
But Brad Pitt allegedly wasn’t a fan of the coveted designation when he first graced the iconic cover in 1995.
The future Oscar winner, now 60, was fresh off two major hits from the previous year: Interview With The Vampire and Legends Of The Fall.
And now in a new memoir by Legends’ director Edward Zwick, the filmmaker reveals that becoming a sex symbol soured Pitt’s mood.
‘He was … unhappy when People named him Sexiest Man of the Year [sic] — something for which I take neither credit nor blame,’ Zwick, 71, claims in Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood, via Variety.
Brad Pitt, 60, allegedly wasn’t a fan when he was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for the first time in 1995; seen in February 2023 in NYC
According to his Legends Of The Fall director Edward Zwick, Pitt was ‘unhappy’ to grace the iconic cover, via Variety
It’s unclear if Pitt and Zwick’s tempestuous working relationship on Legends Of The Fall could have influenced how the rising star reacted to having his looks celebrated.
In his memoir, the filmmaker described how Pitt ‘would get edgy whenever he was about to shoot a scene that required him to display deep emotion.’
The discomfort with the production was there from the start.
After Pitt stepped in to play the role of Tristan Ludlow — who was originally to be played by his future Interview costar Tom Cruise before he quit the film — he apparently had such a poor experience at the first table read that his agent allegedly called the director ‘to say Brad wanted to quit.’
Zwick went on to say that Pitt could be ‘volatile when riled,’ and they disagreed about how emotional open his character should be.
‘Brad had grown up with men who held their emotions in check; I believed the point of the [Legends Of The Fall] novel was that a man’s life was the sum of his griefs. […] Yet the more I pushed Brad to reveal himself, the more he resisted. So, I kept pushing and Brad pushed back,’ Zwick wrote.
He recalled done particularly tense moment on set when he critiqued Pitt’s performance in front of the film crew, rather than speaking to him privately, which — in hindsight — he called ‘a stupid, shaming provocation.’
‘The considered move would have been to tell the crew to take five and for the two of us to talk it out. But I was feeling bloody-minded, and not about to relent,’ Zwick continued.
Zwick jokes in his memoir Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood that he takes ‘neither credit nor blame’ for Pitt’s unhappiness, referencing their tough time filming Legends Of The Fall (1994); seen in 2019 in Beverly Hills
He recalled clashing with the rising star over his desire for Pitt to be more emotional, while the actor wanted to give a more restrained performance; still from Legends Of The Fall
The two started shouting and cursing at each other, and the director claims that they even threw chairs at each other, though he couldn’t remember who tossed the first one.
The painful experience of making the film may have been highlighted by Brad’s People Magazine cover, as he sports long hair and a goatee, which was reminiscent of his rugged Legends Of The Fall look.
Despite their regular bickering, Zwick also stressed that after each blow-up the two would ‘make up and mean it.’
He also praised the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood star as ‘a forthright, straightforward person, fun to be with and capable of great joy. He was never anything less than fully committed to doing his best.’
However, Pitt ultimately ended his time on the production on another sour note, as he wasn’t pleased with the final cut of Legends Of The Fall because ‘he felt I’d underplayed his character’s madness,’ Zwick wrote.
‘I had in fact cut only a single shot from the scene where Tristan is raging with fever, screaming as the waves wash over him on the schooner,’ he continued.
‘But it was a shot he dearly loved, and it would have been little enough to leave it in, and I should have. Apologies, Brad.’
Pitt also had a difficult experience with Interview With The Vampire, which he admitted in a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly.
He was ultimately unhappy with the final cut of the film, and the fact that his People cover was styled similarly to how he looked in the film may not have helped matters
But Pitt had a difficult year, as his other 1994 hit, Interview With The Vampire, left him depressed after filming for ‘six months in the f***ing dark’; seen in January 2023 in Paris
After the interviewer noted that he looked ‘miserable’ in the film, Pitt replied: ‘I am miserable. Six months in the f***ing dark. Contact lenses, makeup, I’m playing the b**** role.’
He clarified that he was a fan of his character Louis de Pointe du Lac as he was portrayed in Anne Rice’s iconic novel, but he thought the film version sanded down the more interesting parts of the character while ramping up the more salacious aspects of Tom Cruise’s character Lestat de Lioncourt, instead forcing him to be a mere observer.
Despite Pitt’s unhappiness with his People cover, he was again named the Sexiest Man Alive for the magazine’s 2000 cover.
Only George Clooney and Johnny Depp have also been named Sexiest Man Alive twice, though Richard Gere earned the designation in 1999 after previously appearing with his then-wife Cindy Crawford on the cover when the magazine temporarily changed the issue to Sexiest Couple Alive.