How a Brad Pitt Mantra, 'Game On, F---ers!,' Fueled His Oscar Contender '12 Years a Slave'
The Plan B star-producer reveals the stomach-churning drama that had his team remaking "World War Z" while developing "Slave," as negative whispers and doubt abounded. Says his partner, Dede Gardner: "It's still hard for me to talk about, to be totally honest."
Pitt's absorption with the work to some degree gave him immunity from the dozens of nattering nabobs, particularly where Z was concerned.
"I have done this long enough and have sat in editing rooms with enough talented people that I have a grasp of, 'How do we shape things when they are not working?' " he reflects. "The idea was, let people see it and let them talk."
Producing seems to enrich Pitt more than acting at this point, he admits, though he gives no indication he might step away from his career as a performer: "As I get older, I am enjoying more the producorial side of things -- not being so forefront in the camera -- the creativity of putting the pieces together."
The company now is moving forward with projects including an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' Marilyn Monroe novel Blonde, with Andrew Dominik (Jesse James) to direct; The Last Family of England, with Taika Waititi directing the story centered on a talking dog; and Black Hole, a project that teams Plan B with David Fincher and is adapted from the Charles Burns graphic novel about a virus that infects a group of kids living in the northwest, manifesting itself in strange, supernatural ways (one kid, for instance, develops a second mouth that always speaks the truth).
Plan B also is developing The Operators, based on the book by the late Michael Hastings, which Gardner describes as an expansion of his Rolling Stone article that led to the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan from June 2009 to June 2010 whose impolitic remarks about the president -- during time spent with Hastings -- caused a media firestorm.
Pitt says his company's strategy will remain the same as it has been from the start: "We follow the storytellers, and our little garage band of a production company's mandate was [always] to help complex films get over the hill if they need a little push. We are in a fortunate position to do that."
At the same time, the actor-producer says Plan B -- whose money is raised on a per-film basis -- now is starting to look at outside sources of finance. "We have been talking about the next evolution of what we do," he continues. "Do we stay in the same construct as now? Are there new constructs we can investigate?"
As to Plan B's long-term future, Pitt says he wants to maintain the same mix of big-budget and low-budget, always with pictures that strive to push boundaries. "I wouldn't want to change anything," he says. "I like extremes."