He’s just been crowned best actor by the New York Film Critics Circle and is tipped for Oscar glory for his starring role in true-life baseball drama Moneyball, but for Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt, his priorities will always be his long-term partner Angelina Jolie and their six children.
“My concerns are all with family and their safety,” says the actor, who flew his brood to the UK while he was filming zombie drama World War Z in Cornwall and Glasgow.
“Am I spending enough time with them and am I giving the opportunity and instructions that are important to them?” he questions of his parenting juggling act. “Am I getting that right? Once family comes along, it becomes a matter of life and death.”
NO ORDINARY LIFE
Family life with the Jolie-Pitts is far from ordinary. They lead what they call a “chaotic” existence – in the past month alone, they have been to Seoul, Budapest, Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as Los Angeles.
Despite the globetrotting, Brad says he and Angelina try to give their children a sense of “normalcy”, though he admits it’s not easy when their every move is documented.
“I haven’t seen a hotel lobby in 15 years; I have to go in the back door and out the same way,” said the actor at the Moneyball preview in Toronto. “I’ve been in this city for 48 hours and the only time I’ve been out was when I walked across the street to the premiere of the movie.”
Not that the amiable actor is complaining. “It’s a trade-off,” he reasons. “We get our moments.”
And in those moments, it’s the children who reap the benefits. Angelina has said that the couple’s golden rule is “never work at the same time”, adding that her ideal situation was when Brad was working and she was “at home with the kids”.
That Angelina is such a devoted mum could be down to her own upbringing. She is full of praise for her late mother Marcheline Bertrand, who died in 2007.
“I will never be as good a mother as she was,” says Angelina. “She was the most generous, loving – she’s better than me.” Perhaps the actress, who has just one sibling, is being too hard on herself; after all, she and Brad have six children to raise – Maddox, ten, Pax, eight, Zahara, six, Shiloh, five, and three-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. Quite a tally – but will it stop there? “Uh, you know, I don’t know that we’re finished,” admits Brad. “I don’t know yet.”
The 47-year-old recently surprised fans by saying he might retire from acting when he turns 50, to concentrate on work behind the camera. But the actor – who has Cogan’s Trade, Voyage of Time and World War Z due for release next year – quickly clarified his remarks. “I wasn’t actually putting an exact deadline on my expiration date,” he said. “But I see it coming.”
If and when that day does arrive, Brad will be far from idle. He already has a production company, Plan B Entertainment, which he founded in 2002 with his then-wife Jennifer Aniston. Following their divorce in 2005 Brad became the company’s sole owner. Though it already boasts an impressive body of work – including Brad’s Tree of Life, Voyage of Time and World War Z and Angelina’s A Mighty Heart – he has ambitious plans.
“We want to specialise in more obscure films, which have a harder time making it to the screen, or interesting new film-makers,” he says, before putting a limit on his own future aims.
“As regards directing, I have no aspirations to do that. I would be tormented. I think I would make a good movie, but it would take three years of agonising pain and sweat and I wouldn’t see my family much during that time. It wouldn’t be healthy for me.”
But all that’s in the future. In the meantime, there’s next year’s awards season to focus on and Moneyball, which is based on the true story of how sports coach Billy Beane (played by Brad) used computer analysis to pick players, could net him his first Oscar. “I don’t expect awards,” he says, adding it’s more important to make a “quality film, a film to be proud of”.
If he does collect the Best Actor gong in February, Angelina will doubtless be by his side. But one thing the couple are unlikely to do in 2012 is tie the knot. “Angie and I talk about it,” says Brad. “We’ve already made a bigger commitment and that’s raising a family together, so everything else is secondary.”