Pitt as Producer

Merie Wallace/20th Century Fox

There have been, over the years, a few brilliant actors who took ownership of their careers by producing their own work," says The Tree of Life producer Scott Rudin, "and the movies they produced were often their best films as actors. This is true for Brad, too."

A Mighty Heart (2007)

"I read Mariane Pearl's book in galley form and had a meeting with her. We had an instant kinship, and she trusted us to avoid sensationalism. There were so many land mines you could step on, making the whole political situation worse and respecting her and [assassinated journalist] Daniel Pearl."

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

"That movie actually cost me money to make! I took peanuts and ended up taking on a lot of my own personal costs, which outweighed what I got paid. I lost a few hundred thousand dollars, but it's still one of my favorite films."

The Departed (2006)

"The very first thing I bought was The Departed [based on the 2002 Hong Kong picture Infernal Affairs] and brought in writer Bill Monahan, and we talked about how we would transpose this to America. Initially, I just wanted to be in control of my own destiny, but that original spark quickly grew into something else."

The Tree of Life (2011)

"The movie almost didn't get made. Heath Ledger pulled out for family reasons, to be around his daughter. [Director Terrence Malick] had been working on it for almost 30 years, and it had gone through many incarnations. It was at death's door. I said, 'Let's go do it.' "

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