Wednesday, May 10, 2017



Random Fuzzy


He is introspective and frank but talking frequently through metaphors and opaque generalities -- which even in the best of times is the norm for him -- so it takes some effort to get through the haze. 


It bears noting that the typical interview and photo-shoot arrangement would give him copy approval, photo approval, headline approval and of course wardrobe approval.  He would not have agreed to anything less.  So everything we see on the page was approved. The interviewer mentions the plane incident in the introduction but not in the Q&A which suggests that he asked but was declined and there was a request not to include it.  While divorce is in the headline, it is only mentioned once in the Q&A in an answer about his need to connect more with the children.  All the reasons why they're in this situation pertain to the children.   None of the faults and failures he enumerated indicate any problem specific to his relationship with Angelina. 


There is no mention anywhere of the children's trauma and recovery.  No mention of therapeutic visits or of the Custody Stipulation.  No mention of the state of his relationship with the family.  The recovery is not yet complete, they are not out of it yet.  They're not ready to discuss it yet.


This was just all about what he did wrong.  He makes no assertion that he is a great dad - in fact he gave many reasons why he wasn't.  He was confessing his sins.  Other than remorse and regret he kept his feelings under wraps.


He made this confession to let people know that he is solely responsible for putting the family in this situation --  having been put on a journey he didn't intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted.”  Recall that there were critics who accused Angelina of trying to smear Brad.  He showed them that far from smearing him, she was protecting him by not divulging the full extent of his problems.  If some thought the revelation that he was required to undergo therapy was a smear, he responded by proudly declaring that he loves being in therapy and listed the many reasons why he needs it.  He is well aware of what has been said against Angelina and he is coming to her defense.


What he said and did in a drunken rage may be too damaging to ever be revealed but he has unburdened himself with enough details of his failings to effectively say he was guilty, he did something grievously wrong that put them in this situation.


He is making things right by Angelina and the kids.  When Angelina declined to discuss what happened on the plane with the BBC, it was clear that Brad was the primary beneficiary, the one she was principally protecting.  She in turn is the primary beneficiary of this confession. 


He has swept aside the efforts by his reps and "sources" to defend him and protect his carefully nurtured image with falsehoods and lies.  His litany of his faults and failures debunks the perpetuated spin that he had a great relationship with the children, that they are all he cares about, and that nothing significant happened on the plane because he was cleared by the DCFS and the FBI.  He has ditched the wholesome, innocent facade that was being maintained at his family's expense.  His interests and those of his reps have diverged.  This public confession is important for the family's reunification but it is not what others with a vested interest in his career and earnings wanted.  He is letting people know that they weren't speaking for him and that he is placing his family ahead of his image and his film career.   

"Family first. People on their deathbeds don't talk about what they obtained or were awarded. They talk about their loved ones or their regrets .. In the end, you find: I am those things I don't like.  I need to face that and take care of that. Because by denying it, I deny myself. I am those mistakes.
So little of it is accurate, and I avoid so much of it. I just let it go. It's always been a long-run game for me.  I worry about it more for my kids, being subjected to it, and their friends getting ideas from it.   I worry more in my current situation about the slideshow my kids have. I want to make sure it's well-balanced.
I don't really think of myself much as an actor anymore. Film feels like a cheap pass for me,  It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad.....  I don't really care about protecting the narrative.  I know the people who love me know me. And that's enough for me.

He knows the kids and their friends will read this interview.   He is showing them that he is setting the record straight.


What is obvious now to observers is that most of what Angelina's reps said publicly was true while most of what Brad's reps said was not.  The last time a source truly reflected his thinking was when he gave his version of what transpired on the plane to People.  This was before he hired a lawyer.  The child safety plan was already in effect and no contact was allowed between them except through their lawyers.  He was still in the dark about why Angelina filed and he had still not confronted his problems:

(combining original and edits)
"Pitt “was drunk, and there was an argument between him and Angelina,” says the source. One of the couple’s older children “then got caught in the middle, literally. He stepped in front of Brad. There was a parent-child argument which was not handled in the right way and escalated more than it should have.”

The source says Pitt did not hurt his son. “He is emphatic that it did not reach the level of physical abuse, that no one was physically harmed. He did not hit his child in the face in any way. He did not do that; he is emphatic about that. He put his hands on him, yes, because the confrontation was nose to nose and was spiraling out of control.”  
"Brad made contact with Maddox in the shoulder area, and there was absolutely no physical injury to him." 
Any accusations beyond that are “a combination of exaggerations and lies,” the Pitt source contends, blaming sources close to Jolie. “They have taken the overall smallest kernel of truth – that a fight in which Brad was somewhat inebriated got out of hand and reached a regrettable peak, and that as a result DCFS is looking into it – and they are manipulating it to best suit their attempts to gain custody.”

The Pitt source adds that the star “was not black-out drunk” and that “he absolutely remembers that evening and has been interviewed at length to that effect.”

Angelina conquered her demons early, Brad avoided confronting his until now.  She has always been very open about her struggles and how she overcame them, but this is entirely new for him.   "I'm much better at covering up —instead of really knowing the man and his own self-doubt and struggles."  He avoided opening up even to his children so doing so publicly is a significant effort for him.


These revelations didn't come out because he was pressed by the interviewer, they came out because he was determined to let the world know.  He had a checklist of what he wanted to say and used every opportunity to insert them in his answers.


Truth will set you free.  He wants to be free and has taken a big step to being free.



- Of special note:
He mentioned his estranged wife's name only once, when referencing her Cambodia movie, First They Killed My Father, telling me, “You should see Angie's film.”
- He only mentioned her name once but he made it count.  She just finished the film this year and it has not yet been released outside of Cambodia -- so his recommending Angie's film with a tinge of pride is eye-opening for many people.  It casts doubt that they are or have ever been estranged and made it obvious that they've spent a lot more time together than they've let on.  This Brad doesn't sound much different from the Brad who was very supportive of her other previous projects.  The sentence was in parenthesis so that part of the conversation was off the record.  Like his interaction with Jacques, the unexpected portions reveal a bit more about them that they may not yet be ready to discuss. 


- He wanted to show off two tattoos on the front and side of his torso.  The first and most prominently shown is based on lyrics from Bob Dylan's song When the Deal Goes Down in Angelina's handwriting:  We live, we die, we know not why, But I'll be with you til the deal goes down.   The second is a Buddhist symbol that was made by Thai artist Ajarn Noo using the same ink he used on Angelina's new Sak Yant tattoos, symbolically binding husband and wife together.   In making the two tattoos the focal point in 3 of his photos, he is making a statement on their commitment to each other.   He showed off other tattoos as well including the family's initials on his forearm led by A which is seen or peaks out in several photos. 



They are not out of this yet but by now they're much closer.  At the time of the interview he was "just smack-dab in the middle" -- but he has advanced from there since.  This interview took place on an "overcast spring morning" the day after a sculpting session and after Brad had returned from a photo-shoot "over a stretch of eight days in March."  His haircut in the GQ photos is similar to what he sported on March 29 outside Houseago's.  His hair was longer in the photos Daily Mail said were taken March 13 and in his April photos -- so it appears it was specifically cut short for the photo-shoot.   He would have gone to the 3 national parks between March 13 and March 29.  For reference, Angelina and the kids left for London March 11 and returned March 17.  The DeMille estate was listed on March 27 and Variety reported that she made an offer on April 8.

The interview likely took place March 30, and caught him at a time when he was feeling a bit down:
"Yesterday I wasn't settled. I had a lotta chaotic thoughts—trying to make sense of where we are at this time."
 "It's been a more painful week than normal—just certain things have come up."  
The interview took place before the kids had their first breakthrough overnight with him on April 2.  There may have been some hitch -- possibly the therapists' decision to require the nannies to join the children overnight, something they don't normally do  -- that caused him to feel down.  That overnight gave them a big boost, catapulting them from the middle to closer to the end of this.  Five weeks after the interview, a May 8 ET report quoted a source: Pitt has worked very hard to get his kids back and the whole family is in a much better place."  He had a disastrous first visit with the boys in mid-October after which they refused to see him again until Angelina helped him and joined them in family therapy sessions in December.  Recall: "We also propose that the parties participate in joint sessions with a trauma specialist so that they may learn how to best support and interact with their children given their current state."  He had lost their trust and he needed to overcome their wariness and skepticism to win them back.  His deep introspection and acceptance of his faults and failures likely started with that effort.

Although Angelina had not yet made an offer on the DeMille at the time of the interview, they had already discussed that she would - it was what they were looking for.  The children may have expressed a desire for a change after spending the past few months in the more open environs of Malibu, and they agreed to make it part of a fresh start for the family.  The move separates work -- their offices and the children's school -- from their home.    It was a long-term plan until the DeMille suddenly came back on the market.  It is the rare property that met their requirements -- close to the compound and large enough to accommodate the family.  So they acted swiftly.   Contemplating the family's move from the kids' “childhood home” he meticulously put together --  but which they do not appreciate as much -- contributed to his melancholy mood. 

"Even in this place, they won't give a shit about that little bust over there or that light. They won't give a shit about that inlay, but somewhere down the road it will mean something—I hope that it will soak in."



He has been dreaming of the joy he'll feel when they emerge from this.
"A few months ago I was having frightening dreams and I'd consciously lie awake trying to ask, What can I get out of this? What can I learn from this? Those ceased. And now I have been having moments of joy, and you wake and realize it's just a dream, and I get a bit depressed for the moment. Just the moment, just glimpse moments of joy because I know I'm just in the middle of this thing now and I'm not at the beginning of it or at the end of it, just where this chapter is right now, just smack-dab in the middle. It's fucking in the middle of it and, you know, I just don't want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see.
Some of the hits he expected to take were reactions to this confession.  The frightening dreams were likely about winning back his family.  He has no such worries anymore.  There is no public plea for reconciliation because they are privately together and the family is regularly home together.  But at the time of the interview, the children still could not be with him unconditionally  -- they needed their mother or nannies to be around.  He was sill in the middle of the lengthy process that includes righting his mistakes (and those of his reps) and allowing the children to heal at their own pace.  He welcomed the "hits" -- the penance for his sins that also assuages his guilt -- knowing that what awaits him, which he can already glimpse, is great joy.


"How do you tell your kids?
Well, there's a lot to tell them because there's understanding the future, there's understanding the immediate moment and why we're at this point, and then it brings up a lot of issues from the past that we haven't talked about. So our focus is that everyone comes out stronger and better people—there is no other outcome."

His words echo Angelina's:
 "We will be stronger when we come out of this because that's what we're determined to do as a family."  "My focus is finding this way through. And as I said we are and forever will be a family.  I am coping with finding a way through to make sure that this somehow makes us stronger and closer.”

The open discussion and resolution of long gestating issues that contributed to their problems will be one of the reasons why they will emerge from this stronger and closer.   He differentiates where they are at this point from where they will be in the future because the immediate moment is merely transitory, and the future goal is already within sight.  The present involves recovery while the future is the family's full reunification -- the joy-filled return of their normal, happy family life that Brad has been dreaming of.



- The family is apparently in and out of their Hollywood Hills home:    
"This house was always chaotic and crazy, voices and bangs coming from everywhere, and then, as you see, there are days like this: very…very solemn."
Outside, children's bikes are lined up in the rack; a blown-up dragon floatie bobs on the pool through the window.

but this has always been his kids' “childhood home,” he says. And even though they're not here now, he's decided it's important that he is. Today the place is deeply silent, except for the snoring of his bulldog, Jacques.
While the house displays evidence of the children's recent presence from the bikes to the dragon floatie (Maleficent dragon?), the image left by the interview is that of a sad and lonely place and Brad is a melancholy figure in it:
When I ask Pitt what gives him the most comfort these days, he says, “I get up every morning and I make a fire. When I go to bed, I make a fire, just because—it makes me feel life. I just feel life in this house.”
The loneliness of this new life, he said, is mitigated by Jacques, who spent most of the interview beached in a narcoleptic reverie at my feet, snoring and farting.
But the Jacques + Brad tandem is apparently not the norm for Jacques who interrupted the interview in need of a nuzzle and Brad said to him "I know you've been lonely. I know you've been lonely...."   Jacques is also the children's and Angelina's dog -- he followed her around during her 60 Minutes interview with Bob Simon in Budapest.  He may have been one of the 2 dogs Angelina said were sleeping in her room -- together with 2 kids, 2 hamsters and the person who alternates with her in making pancakes -- Brad.  Jacques is clearly used to having more companions and this one-on-one time was the exception to the rule -- happening only when the rest of the family is not around, which would also be the exception to the rule.  “Did you ever have the uncle that came over with emphysema, and had to sleep in your room when you were 6?” he says. “That's Jacques.” And then: “Come here, boy. Friends for life!”
 Friends for life! may be an allusion to Jacques being a constant presence whereas Angelina and the kids have sometimes been away.
The kids were back by April 2 and then, per the April 17 ET report, everyone -- including Brad -- left and it's just been the help at home since.  X17, whose photographers are camped out in Malibu tailing them, said on May 1 that he is staying in Malibu as well.   But they evidently go back from time to time.  


- On owning his mistakes and his efforts to change and have an epiphany:

And yet Pitt is the first one to acknowledge that it's been chaos these past six months, during what he calls a “weird” time. In conversation, he seems absolutely locked in one moment and a little twitchy and forlorn in the next, having been put on a journey he didn't intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted.”

But me, personally, I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings. I'm really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know—things I wasn't dealing with. I was boozing too much. It's just become a problem. And I'm really happy it's been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I've got my feelings in my fingertips again. I think that's part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.
Was it hard to stop smoking pot?
No. Back in my stoner days, I wanted to smoke a joint with Jack and Snoop and Willie. You know, when you're a stoner, you get these really stupid ideas. Well, I don't want to indict the others, but I haven't made it to Willie yet.
I'm sure he's out there on a bus somewhere waiting for you. How about alcohol—you don't miss it?
I mean, we have a winery. I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground. I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.
So how do you just drop it like that?
Don't want to live that way anymore.
Drinking was evidently the big problem with smoking pot coming in close behind.  He may have stopped everything else when he started his family but he eventually fell back into those habits again.  Until 6 months ago, he was drinking and smoking  -- which is why the question was posed to him if it was hard to stop smoking pot.   It is also why the Custody Stipulation has a provision -- which he volunteered -- that he will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing.  Recall:  This is about Brad Pitt, weed, alcohol, his anger problems and how the combination of those things affect his interaction with their six kids
Tarantino has an oft-told story of how they smoked and drank while Angelina was in the hospital awaiting the birth of the twins:
Slate
Stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live, Quentin Tarantino reveals how he got Pitt to sign up for Inglourious Basterds—all it took was a visit to Pitt’s home in France, where the pair discussed the script with the help of some herbal refreshments. “We’re poppin’ rosé and he’s got this really cool Pink Floyd kind of rosé,” the director recalls. “We’re knocking it back, and then a smoking apparatus of some sort found its way on the table. It was like a pop can, red with a little silver stripe. When Brad woke up the next day, he was like, Ughhhhhhh. He sees the smoking apparatus and he starts counting the empty bottles of wine. It was six.”
He is apparently vaping as an alternative to smoking and he seems to be vaping in one of the photos.

But the terrible thing is I tend to run things into the ground. That's why I've got to make something so calamitous. I've got to run it off a cliff.

I'm an asshole when it comes to this need for justice. I don't know where it comes from, this hollow quest for justice for some perceived slight. It's done me no good whatsoever. And this is coming from a guy who hit the lottery, I'm well aware of that. I hit the lottery, and I still would waste my time on those hollow pursuits.
He is alluding to his anger problem.  He was an asshole going after Maddox and his family in a drunken rage on the plane because of some perceived slight.   He didn't squander the lottery, he still has it, but he pushed them away by often needlessly losing his temper even before totally losing it on the plane.

Any of my foibles are born from my own hubris. Always, always. Anytime. I famously step in shit—at least for me it seems pretty epic. I often wind up with a smelly foot in my mouth.
This may be a reference to his efforts to insist on additional visits against the therapists' recommendations and contrary the Custody Stipulation which he signed.  

How do you make sense of the past six months and keep going? "Family first. People on their deathbeds don't talk about what they obtained or were awarded. They talk about their loved ones or their regrets—that seems to be the menu. I say that as someone who's let the work take me away. Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hand held and things explained. They need to be listened to. When I get in that busy work mode, I'm not hearing. I want to be better at that.
Unlike Angelina who often spoke about making sure the kids knew she was a friend they could talk to, Brad didn't make the effort to have a similar connection.  He was a "great" father when they were younger, taking good care of them, and he was still good for fun and games, but he didn't transition to a mature, deep emotional connection with his teens and pre-teens.

I come from a place where, you know, it's strength if we get a bruise or cut or ailment we don't discuss it, we just deal with it. We just go on. The downside of that is it's the same with our emotion. I'm personally very retarded when it comes to taking inventory of my emotions. I'm much better at covering up. I grew up with a Father-knows-best/war mentality—the father is all-powerful, super strong—instead of really knowing the man and his own self-doubt and struggles. And it's hit me smack in the face with our divorce: I gotta be more. I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven't been great at it.
By "our divorce" he means the need for Angelina's filing that is still hanging over their heads because of the children's trauma.  The need for the filing opened his eyes to the chasm that had developed between him and the kids.  Part of the reason why they feared for their safety long after the incident is because there was little they could look back on to reassure them that what happened was unintentional, an aberration that would not happen again.  He projected a strong and powerful father who was stern and infallible and so they viewed his actions as deliberate and not the result of weakness.  It didn't help that he already had a history of being an "asshole on a quest for justice." There was not enough empathy or deep emotional connection between them to help the children understand what happened to him in the plane. 

I'm really good at cutting myself off, and it's been a problem. I need to be more accessible, especially to the ones I love.
I'm personally very retarded when it comes to taking inventory of my emotions. I'm much better at covering up.
And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings. 
I say that as someone who's let the work take me away. ...When I get in that busy work mode, I'm not hearing. I want to be better at that. 
I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven't been great at it.
I think I spent a lot of time avoiding feelings and building structures, you know, around feelings. And now I have no time left for that."
I certainly shield. Shield, shield, shield. Mask, escape. Now I think: That's just me.
Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad."

These are things I thought I was managing very well.
It's a different world, too. We know more, we're more focused on psychology.
I think that's part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.
"I do remember a few spots along the road where I've become absolutely tired of myself. And this is a big one. These moments have always been a huge generator for change.  And I'm quite grateful for it."
For me this period has really been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street.
In the end, you find: I am those things I don't like. ... I need to face that and take care of that. Because by denying it, I deny myself. I am those mistakes. For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy. Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It's the real missing out on life. It's those very things that shape us, .... That make us better.


The overarching theme is that he has taken stock of where he has failed and is dedicating himself to being a better person, and being more open, receptive, expressive and accessible to his family.



- On sculpting and his current emotional and mental state:

This house was always chaotic and crazy, voices and bangs coming from everywhere, and then, as you see, there are days like this: very…very solemn. I don't know. I think everyone's creative in some way.  If I'm not creating something, doing something, putting it out there, then I'll just be creating scenarios of fiery demise in my mind. You know, a horrible end. And so I've been going to a friend's sculpting studio, spending a lot of time over there.
Yesterday I wasn't settled. I had a lotta chaotic thoughts—trying to make sense of where we are at this time—and the thing I was doing wasn't controlled and balanced and perfect. It came out chaotic.

I find it a great opportunity for the introspection. Now you have to be real careful not to go too far that way and get cut off in that way. I'm really good at cutting myself off, and it's been a problem"

All the bad stuff: Do you use it to tell your story?
It just keeps knocking. I'm 53 and I'm just getting into it. These are things I thought I was managing very well.  I live my life, I have my family, I do my thing, I don't do anything illegal, I don't cross anyone's path. What's the David Foster Wallace quote? Truth will set you free, but not until it's done with you first.
What in the past week has given you immense joy? Can you feel that right now?
It's an elusive thing. It's been a more painful week than normal—just certain things have come up—but I see joy out the window.... You know, it's everywhere, it's got to be found.

But do you worry about the narrative others have written for you?
I don't really care about protecting the narrative. That's when I get a bit pessimistic, I get in my oh-it-all-goes-away-anyway kind of thinking. But I know the people who love me know me. And that's enough for me.
"You know, I just started therapy. I love it, I love it. I went through two therapists to get to the right one."
Do you think if the past six months hadn't happened you'd be in this place eventually? That it would have caught up with you?
I think it would have come knocking, no matter what.

Staying busy and being physically creative keeps him from entertaining macabre thoughts when the family is not around -- If I'm not creating something, doing something, putting it out there, then I'll just be creating scenarios of fiery demise in my mind. You know, a horrible end.  Taken together with:  I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see -- he is dealing with guilt over what he did.  What he deems just punishment for all the pain, anguish and damage he inflicted.
The interview took place while he was home alone and the interviewer also noted he was subject to mood swings:  In conversation, he seems absolutely locked in one moment and a little twitchy and forlorn in the next.  Spending the past few months having to face what he has wrought has exacted a heavy toll on him.  He is emotionally fragile which is why Angelina has been very protective of him.   He does not fare well when they're away.  This is why there will never be any fight between them, he needs her just as much as the kids do. 

-  On his struggle to accept the therapists' decisions and living through the process needed for recovery:

Do you know, specifically, logistically when you have the kids?
Yeah. We're working at that now.
It must be much harder when visitation is uncertain— It was all that for a while. I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called. And you know, after that, we've been able to work together to sort this out. We're both doing our best. I heard one lawyer say, “No one wins in court—it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse.” And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you're right and why they're wrong, and it's just an investment in vitriolic hatred. I just refuse. And fortunately my partner in this agrees. It's just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.
This is a declaration that they both reject the ugly image of a bitter war that resulted when their lawyers sparred over the Custody Stipulation -- which he doesn't mention.  He is saying that he disapproves of the thinking and tactics that gave rise to that image, most of which came from his side.  The lawyer who said “No one wins in court—it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse.” was likely Wasser since Spiegel enabled his ill-advised, inchoate attempts to sidestep the Custody Stipulation and was truculent in his emails and filings.  Recall that Wasser said "Angie's reluctance to seal the file stems from her firm belief that litigation is the wrong decision."  Brad came around to that realization a bit late. 
His desire to gain more visits than what he was legally bound to follow in the stipulation had his reps engaging in a campaign of obfuscation and falsehoods to defend him, at Angelina's expense. 
Last year:
A source close to the actor tells PEOPLE, “Brad is not at all happy with this situation. He wants to spend more time with the kids and on his own terms. There is nothing about the current arrangement that makes him happy. He has no plans to accept it.
The source adds, “Angie is playing hurtful games and he won’t play along. He feels he has done nothing wrong and is getting punished without cause. He always was a great dad and wants to continue to be a great dad. Spending Thanksgiving without his kids was very difficult for him. He wants to have a normal relationship with his kids. He has a great legal team and is figuring out the best strategy right now.”
Angelina at the time was focused on helping him through family therapy sessions, totally oblivious to the legal wranglings and public sparring.  The lawyers were there to act as liaisons with the mental health professionals precisely to insulate them from any conflict arising from the therapists' control over Bad's visits.  While he takes part of the credit, it is actually because she remained cool-headed, detached, and in control of her reps that the children never saw their family ripped apart by any legal squabbling.  
He was for a time still in a state of denial on the severity of what he inflicted and refused to accept that the children's need for therapeutic visits was not mitigated by his having been acknowledged as a "great father.  He is no longer trying to have his way.
There's a process—
Yeah, I think for everyone, for the kids, for me, absolutely.
So is there an urge to try to—
The first urge is to cling on.

Then?
And then you've got a cliché: “If you love someone, set them free.” Now I know what it means, by feeling it. It means to love without ownership. It means expecting nothing in return. But it sounds good written. It sounds good when Sting sings it. It doesn't mean fuck-all to me until, you know—
He now willingly follows the therapists' advice.  "It means to love without ownership. It means expecting nothing in return."  -- This is a retreat from  previous arguments by Spiegel:
It would be an extraordinary understatement to describe Brad as an involved parent. Based on evidence that has been corroborated by multiple sources (including public and private statements from your client), he has been a great father and there is no reason to exclude him from the children, including the isolated incident that was investigated and rejected by the DCFS.

He is at peace with taking full responsibility for his errors --"looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street." 
I see it happen to friends—I see where the one spouse literally can't tell their own part in it, and is still competing with the other in some way and wants to destroy them and needs vindication by destruction, and just wasting years on that hatred. I don't want to live that way.
He made it clear that he is the sole guilty party and he made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions -- the result of his own hubris.   He has taken himself totally out of any competition with Angelina and gave her public vindication since she never mounted a defense and her reps never responded in kind to his. 
Brad has said in effect she's the saint and I'm the sinner.  Whatever she had to do, she did for good reason.  She has a deep and strong emotional bond with the children and I don't.   She's stable and grounded while I'm still finding my footing. 

"I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called." -- They were trapped by the rigid guidelines of the DCFS system that among other things forced the filing, stipulated no contact between them, and put a restraining order on him.  He had expressed his unhappiness with the DCFS' involvement in the past.  There was no longer any uncertainty on visits once the DCFS left.
"And you know, after that we've been able to work together to sort this out" -- The DCFS involvement was a hindrance to them and they were able to handle this much better when they were on their own.  They were able get back together -- but not live together in the same house -- as soon as the DCFS' child safety plan was lifted. 

"my partner"  -- a stronger, possessive affirmation of their relationship than the joint statement's: "The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification." 


-  On being an actor

"I don't really think of myself much as an actor anymore. It takes up so little of my year and my focus. Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad."
I say that as someone who's let the work take me away. Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hand held and things explained. They need to be listened to. When I get in that busy work mode, I'm not hearing. I want to be better at that.
He is putting his reps on notice.  Like Angelina, he is prepared to step away from acting.  He intends to spend more time with the family and build the kind of connections she has built with the children.

-  And on love and pain:
For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy.  Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It's the real missing out on life. It's those very things that shape us, those very things that offer growth, that make the world a better place, oddly enough, ironically. That make us better.
Would there be art without it? Would there be any of this immense beauty that surrounds us?
Yeah—immense beauty, immense beauty. And by the way: There's no love without loss. It's a package deal.
"Immense beauty, immense beauty" -- he was thinking about Angelina and the family which is why it led to "There is no love without loss."  It was a temporary loss, but he felt it acutely and the intense pain was what made him determined to change and be a better person for them.  He now accepts and follows the therapists' recommendations even when he finds them painful.  I just don't want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see.  He has learned to embrace the pain from his mistakes knowing that he will be surrounded by love, joy and immense beauty when they come out of this.


In summary, let's recall:
A source connected with Angelina says this is not about alcohol ... she would never leave Brad if it was just a substance abuse problem.
“Back when Angelina first filed for divorce, she said that the reason she filed was for the safety and health and well-being of the kids and that has been her consistent point of view from the beginning. Nothing has changed.”

He has dealt with the main reasons behind the problems that led to the filing.  He has eased the concern for a need to protect the kids' safety, health and well-being.  He is dealing with the other issues that affected the family through, among other things, therapy.


The Custody Stipulation incorporated recommendations by the DCFS  that required Brad to undergo individual and group therapy.   Dr. Katz would have noted this in his initial evaluation and it would be among his recommendations.  Dr. Katz would likely make another round of interviews and evaluations after the family has completed full reunification before preparing his final report.


He made the interview all about accounting for his mistakes and failings and what he has done and knows he needs to do to be a better person and to do better for his family.  Getting to this point of total acceptance and enlightenment was a longs arduous road for him.  Even though his family is well aware of everything he has been doing, they know his thoughts and feelings, and it's more than likely that he rehearsed some of his responses with Angelina, the interview would still be emotional reading for all of them and most especially for her.  They've been on this long emotional journey together -- as Angelina said, "We’ve all been through a difficult time."   They can best appreciate the effort and the resulting impressive and dramatic changes he achieved to safeguard their lasting future together.  "We are and forever will be a family.   A stronger and closer family


-- Fussy


******






Excerpts

Brad Pitt is making matcha green tea on a cool morning in his old Craftsman in the Hollywood Hills, where he's lived since 1994. There have been other properties in other places—including a château in France and homes in New Orleans and New York City—but this has always been his kids' “childhood home,” he says. And even though they're not here now, he's decided it's important that he is. Today the place is deeply silent, except for the snoring of his bulldog, Jacques.

Pitt wears a flannel shirt and skinny jeans that hang loose on his frame. Invisible to the eye is that sculpted bulk we've seen on film for a quarter-century. He looks like an L.A. dad on a juice cleanse, gearing up to do house projects. On the counter sit some plated goodies from Starbucks, which he doesn't touch, and some coffee, which he does. Pitt, who exudes likability, general decency, and a sense of humor (dark and a little cockeyed), says he's really gotten into making matcha lately, something a friend introduced him to. He loves the whole ritual of it. He deliberately sprinkles some green powder in a cup with a sifter, then pours in the boiling water, whisking with a bamboo brush, until the liquid is a harlequin froth. “You're gonna love this,” he says, handing me the cup.

Serenity, balance, order: That's the vibe, at least. That's what you think you're feeling in the kitchen of Brad Pitt's perfectly constructed, awesomely decorated abode. Outside, children's bikes are lined up in the rack; a blown-up dragon floatie bobs on the pool through the window. From the sideboard, with its exquisite inlay, to the vase on the mantel, the house exudes care and intention.
And yet Pitt is the first one to acknowledge that it's been chaos these past six months, during what he calls a “weird” time. In conversation, he seems absolutely locked in one moment and a little twitchy and forlorn in the next, having been put on a journey he didn't intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted.”

But on this overcast spring morning, catching Pitt at this flexion point, I would say he seems more like one of those stripped-down Samuel Beckett characters, in a blank landscape, asking big questions of a futile world. Even the generalities he employs for protection seem metaphoric. (He mentioned his estranged wife's name only once, when referencing her Cambodia movie, First They Killed My Father, telling me, “You should see Angie's film.”) The loneliness of this new life, he said, is mitigated by Jacques, who spent most of the interview beached in a narcoleptic reverie at my feet, snoring and farting. (“Did you ever have the uncle that came over with emphysema, and had to sleep in your room when you were 6?” he says. “That's Jacques.” And then: “Come here, boy. Friends for life!”)

When I ask Pitt what gives him the most comfort these days, he says, “I get up every morning and I make a fire. When I go to bed, I make a fire, just because—it makes me feel life. I just feel life in this house.”

Do you think if the past six months hadn't happened you'd be in this place eventually? That it would have caught up with you?
I think it would have come knocking, no matter what.

People call it a midlife crisis, but this isn't the same—
No, this isn't that. I interpret a midlife crisis as a fear of growing old and fear of dying, you know, going out and buying a Lamborghini. [pause] Actually—they've been looking pretty good to me lately! [laughs]

There might be a few Lamborghinis in your future!
“I do have a Ford GT,” he says quietly. [laughs] I do remember a few spots along the road where I've become absolutely tired of myself. And this is a big one. These moments have always been a huge generator for change. And I'm quite grateful for it. But me, personally, I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings. I'm really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know—things I wasn't dealing with. I was boozing too much. It's just become a problem. And I'm really happy it's been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I've got my feelings in my fingertips again. I think that's part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.

Was it hard to stop smoking pot?
No. Back in my stoner days, I wanted to smoke a joint with Jack and Snoop and Willie. You know, when you're a stoner, you get these really stupid ideas. Well, I don't want to indict the others, but I haven't made it to Willie yet.

I'm sure he's out there on a bus somewhere waiting for you. How about alcohol—you don't miss it?
I mean, we have a winery. I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground. I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.

So how do you just drop it like that?
Don't want to live that way anymore.

What do you replace it with?
Cranberry juice and fizzy water. I've got the cleanest urinary tract in all of L.A., I guarantee you! But the terrible thing is I tend to run things into the ground. That's why I've got to make something so calamitous. I've got to run it off a cliff.

Do you think that's a thing?
I do it with everything, yeah. I exhaust it, and then I walk away. I've always looked at things in seasons, compartmentalized them, I guess, seasons or semesters or tenures or…

So then, you stop yourself, but how do you—I don't know why this comes to mind but I think of a house—how do you renovate yourself?
Yeah, you start by removing all the decor and decorations, I think. You get down to the structure. Wow, we are in some big metaphor here now.… [laughs]

Metaphors are my life.
You strip down to the foundation and break out the mortar. I don't know. For me this period has really been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street. I'm an asshole when it comes to this need for justice. I don't know where it comes from, this hollow quest for justice for some perceived slight. I can drill on that for days and years. It's done me no good whatsoever. It's such a silly idea, the idea that the world is fair. And this is coming from a guy who hit the lottery, I'm well aware of that. I hit the lottery, and I still would waste my time on those hollow pursuits.

That's the thing about becoming un-numb. You have to stare down everything that matters to you.
That's it! Sitting with those horrible feelings, and needing to understand them, and putting them into place. In the end, you find: I am those things I don't like. That is a part of me. I can't deny that. I have to accept that. And in fact, I have to embrace that. I need to face that and take care of that. Because by denying it, I deny myself. I am those mistakes. For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy. Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It's the real missing out on life. It's those very things that shape us, those very things that offer growth, that make the world a better place, oddly enough, ironically. That make us better.

Would there be art without it? Would there be any of this immense beauty that surrounds us?
Yeah—immense beauty, immense beauty. And by the way: There's no love without loss. It's a package deal.

Can you describe where you've been living—like, have you been in this house since September?
It was too sad to be here at first, so I went and stayed on a friend's floor, a little bungalow in Santa Monica. I crashed over here a little bit, my friend [David] Fincher lives right here. He's always going to have an open door for me, and I was doing a lot of stuff on the Westside, so I stayed at my friend's house on the floor for a month and a half—until I was out there one morning, 5:30, and this surveillance van pulls up. They don't know that I'm up behind a wall, and they pull up—and it's a long story—but it was something more than TMZ, because they got into my friend's computer. The stuff they can do these days.... So I got a little paranoid being there. I decided I had to pick up and come here.

How are your days different now?
This house was always chaotic and crazy, voices and bangs coming from everywhere, and then, as you see, there are days like this: very…very solemn. I don't know. I think everyone's creative in some way. If I'm not creating something, doing something, putting it out there, then I'll just be creating scenarios of fiery demise in my mind. You know, a horrible end. And so I've been going to a friend's sculpting studio, spending a lot of time over there. My friend [Thomas Houseago] is a serious sculptor. They've been kind. I've literally been squatting in there for a month now. I'm taking a shit on their sanctity.

So you're making stuff?
Yeah, I'm making stuff. It's something I've wanted to do for ten years.

Like what? What are you working with?
I'm making everything. I'm working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood. Just trying to learn the materials. You know, I surprise myself. But it's a very, very lonely occupation. There's a lot of manual labor, which is good for me right now. A lot of lugging clay around, chopping and moving and cleaning up after yourself. But I surprise myself. Yesterday I wasn't settled. I had a lotta chaotic thoughts—trying to make sense of where we are at this time—and the thing I was doing wasn't controlled and balanced and perfect. It came out chaotic. I find vernacular in what you can make, rather than giving a speech. I find voice there, that I need.

All the bad stuff: Do you use it to tell your story?
It just keeps knocking. I'm 53 and I'm just getting into it. These are things I thought I was managing very well. I remember literally having this thought a year, a year and a half ago, someone was going through some scandal. Something crossed my path that was a big scandal—and I went, “Thank God I'm never going to have to be a part of one of those again.” I live my life, I have my family, I do my thing, I don't do anything illegal, I don't cross anyone's path. What's the David Foster Wallace quote? Truth will set you free, but not until it's done with you first.

Is the sculpting a Sisyphean thing: rolling the rock up the hill, action obliterating all thoughts? [Jacques interrupts, nuzzling]
I know you've been lonely. I know you've been lonely....
I find it the opposite. Well, I guess so, in that there's a task at hand. You have to wrap your stuff up at night and bring order back to your chaos for the next day. I find it a great opportunity for the introspection. Now you have to be real careful not to go too far that way and get cut off in that way. I'm really good at cutting myself off, and it's been a problem. I need to be more accessible, especially to the ones I love.

Okay. But if you had a slideshow of all your worst moments as a human, you wouldn't want anyone to see that slideshow. The way you've had to live for years, that slideshow has been public.
But so little of it is accurate, and I avoid so much of it. I just let it go. It's always been a long-run game for me. As far as out there, I hope my intentions and work will speak for themselves. But, yes, at the same time, it is a drag to have certain things drug out in public and misconstrued. I worry about it more for my kids, being subjected to it, and their friends getting ideas from it. And of course it's not done with any kind of delicacy or insight—it's done to sell. And so you know the most sensational sells, and that's what they'll be subjected to, and that pains me. I worry more in my current situation about the slideshow my kids have. I want to make sure it's well-balanced.

How do you make sense of the past six months and keep going?
Family first. People on their deathbeds don't talk about what they obtained or were awarded. They talk about their loved ones or their regrets—that seems to be the menu. I say that as someone who's let the work take me away. Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hand held and things explained. They need to be listened to. When I get in that busy work mode, I'm not hearing. I want to be better at that.

When you begin making a family, I think you hope to create another family that is some ideal mix of the best of what you had and what you feel you didn't have—
I try to put these things in front of them, hoping they'll absorb it and that it will mean something to them later. Even in this place, they won't give a shit about that little bust over there or that light. They won't give a shit about that inlay, but somewhere down the road it will mean something—I hope that it will soak in.
It's a different world, too. We know more, we're more focused on psychology. I come from a place where, you know, it's strength if we get a bruise or cut or ailment we don't discuss it, we just deal with it. We just go on. The downside of that is it's the same with our emotion. I'm personally very retarded when it comes to taking inventory of my emotions. I'm much better at covering up. I grew up with a Father-knows-best/war mentality—the father is all-powerful, super strong—instead of really knowing the man and his own self-doubt and struggles. And it's hit me smack in the face with our divorce: I gotta be more. I gotta be more for them. I have to show them. And I haven't been great at it.

Do you know, specifically, logistically when you have the kids?
Yeah. We're working at that now.

It must be much harder when visitation is uncertain—
It was all that for a while. I was really on my back and chained to a system when Child Services was called. And you know, after that, we've been able to work together to sort this out. We're both doing our best. I heard one lawyer say, “No one wins in court—it's just a matter of who gets hurt worse.” And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you're right and why they're wrong, and it's just an investment in vitriolic hatred. I just refuse. And fortunately my partner in this agrees. It's just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.

That's what I was going to ask—
If anyone can make sense of it, we have to with great care and delicacy, building everything around that.

How do you tell your kids?
Well, there's a lot to tell them because there's understanding the future, there's understanding the immediate moment and why we're at this point, and then it brings up a lot of issues from the past that we haven't talked about. So our focus is that everyone comes out stronger and better people—there is no other outcome.

And the fact that you guys are pointing toward that—that clearly doesn't always happen. If you ended up in court, it would be a spectacular nightmare.
Spectacular. I see it everywhere. Such animosity and bitterly dedicating years to destroying each other. You'll be in court and it'll be all about affairs and it'll be everything that doesn't matter. It's just awful, it looks awful. One of my favorite movies when it came out was There Will Be Blood, and I couldn't figure out why I loved this movie, I just loved this movie, besides the obvious talent of Paul T. and, you know, Daniel Day. But the next morning I woke up, and I went, Oh, my God, this whole movie is dedicated to this man and his hatred. It's so audacious to make a movie about it, and in life I find it just so sickening. I see it happen to friends—I see where the one spouse literally can't tell their own part in it, and is still competing with the other in some way and wants to destroy them and needs vindication by destruction, and just wasting years on that hatred. I don't want to live that way.

What in the past week has given you immense joy? Can you feel that right now?
It's an elusive thing. It's been a more painful week than normal—just certain things have come up—but I see joy out the window, and I can see the silhouette of palms and an expression on one of my kids' faces, a parting smile, or finding some, you know, moment of bliss with the clay. You know, it's everywhere, it's got to be found. It's the laughter of the African mother in my experience—it's got to come from the blues, to get R&B. That'll be in my book.

But do you worry about the narrative others have written for you?
What did Churchill say? History will be kind to me: I know because I'll write it myself. I don't really care about protecting the narrative. That's when I get a bit pessimistic, I get in my oh-it-all-goes-away-anyway kind of thinking. But I know the people who love me know me. And that's enough for me.

Do you remember your dreams?
Yeah. A few months ago I was having frightening dreams and I'd consciously lie awake trying to ask, What can I get out of this? What can I learn from this? Those ceased. And now I have been having moments of joy, and you wake and realize it's just a dream, and I get a bit depressed for the moment. Just the moment, just glimpse moments of joy because I know I'm just in the middle of this thing now and I'm not at the beginning of it or at the end of it, just where this chapter is right now, just smack-dab in the middle. It's fucking in the middle of it and, you know, I just don't want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see.

There's obviously incredible grief. This is like a death—
Yeah.

There's a process—
Yeah, I think for everyone, for the kids, for me, absolutely.

So is there an urge to try to—
The first urge is to cling on.

Then?
And then you've got a cliché: “If you love someone, set them free.” Now I know what it means, by feeling it. It means to love without ownership. It means expecting nothing in return. But it sounds good written. It sounds good when Sting sings it. It doesn't mean fuck-all to me until, you know—

Until you can embody it.
Until you live it. That's why I never understood growing up with Christianity—don't do this, don't do that—it's all about don'ts, and I was like how the fuck do you know who you are and what works for you if you don't find out where the edge is, where's your line? You've got to step over it to know where it is.

After all this, do you feel constrained as an actor in some ways?
No, I don't really think of myself much as an actor anymore. It takes up so little of my year and my focus. Film feels like a cheap pass for me, as a way to get at those hard feelings. It doesn't work anymore, especially being a dad.

On the pie chart, what is acting?
Acting would be very small slice.

Do you see yourself as having been successful?
I wish I could just change my name.

Come out as a new person?
Like P. Diddy. I can be Puffy now or—what is Snoop? Lion? I just felt like Brad was a misnomer, and now I just feel like fucking Brad.

What other name would you have put on yourself?
Nothing. When outside success comes, the thing I've enjoyed the most is when there's a personal discovery in it. But when I find it repetitious or painfully boring, it's absolute death to me.

When you're talking, you kinda rub your thumb against your fingers a lot—it's just an observation.
I don't know. I'm tactile—I'm a tactile individual. “I like to feel things up,” he said. [laughs]
Yeah, in high school he was the boy voted most likely to—
To feel you up. [laughs] I don't know, I guess it's back to feeling. I think I spent a lot of time avoiding feelings and building structures, you know, around feelings. And now I have no time left for that.

So what's on the agenda later?
I'm anxious to get to the studio. I think it was Picasso who talked about the moment of looking at the subject, and paint hitting canvas, and that is where art happens. For me I'm having a moment of getting to feel emotion at my fingertips. But to get that emotion to clay—I just haven't cracked the surface. And I don't know what's coming. Right now I know the manual labor is good for me, getting to know the expansiveness and limitations of the materials. I've got to start from the bottom, I've got to sweep my floor, I've got to wrap up my shit at night, you know?

A metaphor again. But it works.
Right now I've got to hammer my own nails.




March 29 / March 13





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