It’s not often that Brad Pitt gets to ask the questions but that’s what happened one October day, as Pitt got to sit down with Sir Anthony Hopkins to chat about his life and career for Interview magazine. What could’ve been a one-sided interview was instead a fascinating conversation between two men unafraid to delve deep into their emotions.
In fact, while Hopkins described Pitt “as easygoing as ever,” the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor was quick to correct him. “Pretty much, it’s my gliding speed,” he said, before clarifying, “But I lose it at times. I get sucked into something, and I can lose it. I take my hands off the wheel. I’m human.” Now, Brad didn’t get into specifics but he did talk about forgiveness, particularly towards himself. “I’m realizing, as a real act of forgiveness for myself for all the choices that I’ve made that I’m not proud of, that I value those missteps, because they led to some wisdom, which led to something else,” Pitt explained. “You can’t have one without the other. I see it as something I’m just now getting my arms around at this time in my life. But I certainly don’t feel like I can take credit for any of it.”
Now, whether Pitt is referring to his divorce from Angelina Jolie and how their marriage ended, the relationships (or reported lack thereof) he has with his children, or something else entirely, we’ll probably never know. But that’s OK; a guy’s allowed to keep some things about his life to himself.
Both Hopkins and Pitt spoke about their struggles with drinking. Brad described it as “a disservice to myself, as an escape,” but Anthony — who has been sober for nearly 45 years — suggested that perhaps “it was necessary.” The two actors, who co-starred in Legends of the Fall in 1994 and, again, four years later in Meet Joe Black, then discussed how they’ve learned from their mistakes.
“I did some bad things,” said Hopkins. “But it was all for a reason, in a way. And it’s strange to look back and think, ‘God, I did all those things?’ But it’s like there’s an inner voice that says, ‘It’s over. Done. Move on.'”
Pitt agreed, saying, “So you’re embracing all your mistakes. You’re saying, ‘Let’s be our foibles, our embarrassment. There’s beauty in that.'”
Brad continued: “I’m seeing that these days. I think we’re living in a time where we’re extremely judgmental and quick to treat people as disposable. We’ve always placed great importance on the mistake. But the next move, what you do after the mistake, is what really defines a person. We’re all going to make mistakes. But what is that next step? We don’t, as a culture, seem to stick around to see what that person’s next step is. And that’s the part I find so much more invigorating and interesting.”
Brad revealed that his is “quite famously a non-crier” and “hadn’t cried in, like 20 years” but now, with his 56th birthday in a couple weeks, he finds himself becoming easily moved. “Moved by my kids, moved by friends, moved by the news. Just moved,” he said. “I think it’s a good sign. I don’t know where it’s going, but I think it’s a good sign.”
Hopkins summed it up best. “You’ll find, as you get older, that you just want to weep. It’s not even about grief. It’s about the glory of life.” That hope, it doesn’t get any better than that.
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“I once asked a Jesuit priest, ‘What is the shortest prayer in the world?’ He said, ‘Fuck it.’ It’s the prayer of release. Just say, ‘Fuck it.’” In our Winter issue, @anthonyhopkins sits down with Brad Pitt to discuss, among other things, the beauty of embracing our mistakes. Photographed by @buckellison and styled by @melzy917.