At 53, Brad Pitt is more candid about his personal life than ever. In a new interview with the Associated Press, the actor reveals intimate details about the process of playing General McMahon, a fictional character based on the real-life General Stanley McChrystal. Pitt’s forthcoming Netflix original movie, War Machine, is based on an original 2010 Rolling Stone story by the late journalist Michael Hastings.
The normally reclusive actor and newly single father of six also elaborates on his the flawed similarities he has the lifelong military man less than a month after revealing to GQ his struggles with alcoholism and depression. It appears that for Pitt, this role and the last year have been emotionally fraught for the actor (his split from Angelina Jolie made global headlines) as he approaches veteran status in Hollywood. Here are some things we learned about the conflicted actor and his highly-anticipated role in War Machine.
1. Pitt is aware of his God complex – and when it’s out of control.
“Hubris is a trap and it’s the trap of every great nation that has been number one for too long,” Pitt says, inferring that military and political leaders can be reckless when making decisions from the safe distance of their own success. “You start believing your own stink,” Pitt says. “Anytime I’ve gotten in trouble, it’s because of my own hubris.”
2. Pitt empathizes with General McChrystal.
“I feel for him,” Pitt said. “He’s a product of us. He [is] us.” McChrystal, a four-star commander, retired from the U.S. Army shortly after resigning command. “We had no interest in impugning General McChrystal or any of his guys,” said Pitt. “For me, the problem is more systematic … [War Machine is] after something and we don’t know where we’re going to end up. It’s a delicate tightrope to walk.”
3. Pitt is drawn to films that depict the complexities of power.
In 2014, Pitt visited the military medical center, Walter Reed and it inspired him to work on War Machine. “Those young men and women — who are absolutely heroic in a very harrowing situation — their lives are forever changed and so are their families. It just really made me question who is spending this currency of dedication. Who’s writing the check? Who’s making the order?”
4. Pitt’s kids take his mind off of depression.
“I’m not suicidal or something,” he said lightheartedly. “There’s still much beauty in the world and a lot of love. And a lot of love to be given. It’s all right. It’s just life … Kids are everything. Kids are your life,” Pitt said of the children he shares with ex Jolie. “They’re taking all the focus, as they should anyway.”
5. Pitt is passionate about supporting U.S. troops.
“It’s time to rethink what ‘winning,’ means,” Pitt said in reference to President Trump’s proposed initiative to send at least one thousands more American troops to Afghanistan. “Nothing that we’ve ever done has said that more troops are going to do anything but cause any more damage, more loss of life and limb … supporting our troops is much more than giving them money and a pat on the back … it’s being responsible to how we use that ultimate dedication.”