A Day in the Life of Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt talks about fatherhood and playing Jesse James in his new movie.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:20 AM

Sept. 20, 2007 — -- Brad Pitt's high-speed lifestyle energizes both Pitt and his partner, Angelina Jolie, especially when their days sometimes start at 6:15 a.m. — they are days filled with singing and kids.

During an interview with "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer, Pitt sang part of a song that is part of the morning ritual with his kids.

"'Wheels on the Bus' and there's, you know, 'Five Monkeys Jumping on a Bed' -- no more monkeys jumping on the bed," Pitt sang.

And the music in the Pitt-Jolie household continues all day, with plenty of dancing too.

"We hope they're not soaking up our moves because they'd be seriously lacking in their future. We'll get them some proper training. But yeah, there's a lot of dancing around the house, a lot of music time," he told Sawyer.

At the end of the day, when all of the singing and dancing is done it's bedtime, accompanied by all of its rituals, just like when he was a kid.

"The three of us siblings, we'd jump in our beds, separate rooms, and we'd all be yelling for her [his mom], because she'd take turns coming from room to room, right? And we'd just talk for hours sometimes. Just talk," he said in a 1997 interview on ABC's "Primetime."

Now, in 2007, he has new rituals, with his own children.

"It is a really special time, a time I value and it's that one-on-one time where you really ask the questions and — and I want to make sure they have that," he said.

When the children have gone to bed, he's got another hobby: acting, and his portrayal of Jesse James could be his best yet.

One of the most confounding parts of the movie is that the man who has become a kind of monster is also so tender.

As for tenderness in real life, Jolie says Pitt is an amazing father of their four children, always there.

"He woke up very, very early and let me sleep in because I had this interview," Jolie told Diane Sawyer in a 2006 interview. "That's major, dealing with the — girls and bottles and food, which is not easy, for quite a few hours this morning so I could rest. He is just a really — he's a great partner, a great man."

Pitt says the constant press attention he and his family receive inspired him for his role playing Jesse in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

One observer said when Pitt walked out on set, he simply was Jesse. He was heralded at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month with a best actor award.

Pitt calls his new movie a psychological thriller, explaining that it follows Jesse in the last year of his life.

"It is — everything that he's been made famous for is, has, has already occurred," Pitt said on "GMA" Thursday in Part 1 of his interview with Sawyer. "And everyone in his gang is either dead or in jail. His brother's left. He's quit the gang and he's really on his own … the most important thing is, he is consumed by paranoia, most of it justified, but consumed."

For the role, Pitt took on Jesse's coal-black hair and the haunted eyes of a man who once transfixed and terrorized an entire nation — a kind of Robin Hood with the ruthless instincts of a cobra.

Had Jesse been born a century later, his actions would have gotten him labeled a terrorist: 27 robberies, 17 murders.

His infamy made him America's first tabloid celebrity — a tabloid celebrity on the run, encountering a cast of characters along the way. One of whom was Robert Ford.

Casey Affleck, the younger brother of Ben Affleck, plays Ford, a 19th century stalker who moved in on Jesse despite the fact that Jesse has a supernatural instinct for detecting enemies, even those who sneak up silently behind his back.

In one scene, Jesse asks Robert, "Can't figure it out. You wanna be like me or you wanna be me?"

That instinct, that radar, is something Pitt says he can appreciate. Pitt's predators: the paparazzi.

As early as 10 years ago, the first time Pitt spoke to Sawyer, he said he already knew where their prying lenses were hidden in the trees, trained on him.

In October 1997, he told her, "I try to describe to people … I know if I'm out somewhere and, and there's someone shooting me 300 yards away in a bush, I just know it. It's this, this sense that gets fine-tuned over the years."

Also like Jesse, Pitt said he also understands the melancholy of those children of the prairie. Both Pitt and Jesse came from the plains of Missouri.

"He's from the same area that, that I'm from," Pitt said. "I was surprised how much that meant to me in the end, to do something that had a connection with home."

Sawyer asked Pitt about a time he said that he had grown up on those plains with some unexplained sadness.

"I called it a congenital sadness. It's something that I, that I feel in my grandparents, in my … in the people I've met, in a Southern way of life. It's something pervasive, is an undercurrent that, that I think Christianity answers."

When Sawyer suggested that this sadness was something of a "genetic background music," Pitt agreed.

"Well put, I like that," he said.

Pitt has said that he once thought fame or success would be a cure for the sadness, but he has since learned the secret may be children.

And he is loving this part of the part of the passage — family and even the changes that come to all of us.

"You learn and you earn a wrinkle and you earn a line and I'm proud."

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