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Los Angeles

Interview With The Vampire

Viper Room

Keanu Reeves

Tom Cruise

Robert Redford

A River Runs Through It

Neil Jordan

Anne Rice

Christian Slater

Johnny Depp

France Paris

Thelma and Louise

Brad Pitt

Chris Nickson

Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

Brad Pitt

by Chris Nickson.
First published in 1995.

ISBN 0-671-85507-7 (Paperback, 224 Pages)

The more sensationalist magazines may describe Brad Pitt as "Hollywood's Number One Heartbreaker" but this short biography, published in 1995, tells a very different story. The author paints a rather more accurate picture of a polite, sensitive and intelligent young man who, despite coming from an affluent background, still chose to drop out of college and head for Hollywood.

Over the course of the previous two years Brad had truly honed his skill. By picking projects that challenged him, he'd grown as an actor to the point where he'd become one of the leading lights of a generation that included names like River Phoenix, Christian Slater, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp.

Two of Brad's biggest hit movies are looked at in some detail. First, Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It, a film referred to throughout the book that along with Thelma and Louise, proved to be important turning points of Brad's career. The other hit movie talked about so often suffered everything from script difficulties and production problems through to outright tragedy from start to finish and the author looks into these issues at length. The movie in question is Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire.

Anne Rice's novel had long been a best-selling favorite, but every attempt to bring it to the screen had failed. As soon as Tom Cruise signed for the movie, Rice was in a fury, declaring publicly that she couldn't imagine anyone making a worse portrayal of her cherished vampire Lestat than Cruise.
"He's a cute kid," she announced, "on top of the world and on his way to becoming a great actor, but I'm not sure he knows what he's getting into.... [He] should do himself a favor and withdraw."
But he didn't. Jordan and Cruise stuck to their guns. Then, just before filming was about to begin, River Phoenix, who was to play the interviewer, died in Los Angeles of a drug overdose. It seemed, quite menacingly, as if the movie was cursed.

The author goes on by describing Brad's strong dislike and his regrets about taking part in this project quoting the actor as saying, "I hated doing this movie. Hated it. My character is depressed from the beginning to the end. Five and a half months of that is too much. I don't like it when a movie messes with your day." During the movie's location-based filming in Paris, Brad promptly took a few days break in Scotland to help ease the pressure and stresses he was beginning to suffer from.

By the end of the book though, the author closes on a positive and optimistic note. Indeed, so long as Brad has the ability to recognize these early warning signs of anxiety brought about by the pressures of work and is thus able to take immediate, corrective and positive action, he ought to have a long and successful career. This is a particularly important and valuable skill, especially in Hollywood, but sadly, not everyone possesses it.

So mostly he stayed home, putting his new house in order. When he did venture out, it was to places like the Viper Room, owned by movie star Johnny Depp, where Brad could find a table in the shadows, smoke his Camels, and drink his beer without being bothered.
Brad had always been a Hollywood outsider, not part of any "brat pack," not socializing with other actors of his own age. Now, with time, he decided to try and discover them, and get to know the people who were doing the same kind of work as himself. But it proved to be a disappointing, futile exercise.
"I met a bunch of people," he complained, "and it was that whole competitive, look-over, high-school-cafeteria thing. It was a shame. What's with that?"
Nor was he in favor of the substance abuse that seemed endemic among his contemporaries who were trying to be cool. It had, after all, helped kill River Phoenix.

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