Brad Pitt ranks among the most recognizable entertainers in the world. So much so, Chanel is said to have paid $7 million for his appearance in a serialized Chanel No. 5 commercial. That’s side-work for Pitt, and if his internationally broadcast Chanel, Softbank, and Toyota ads aren’t evidence enough, then perhaps the budget, scope, or shooting locations for World War Z might end the debate: $200 million (plus marketing), a world apocalypse, and England, Scotland, the US, Malta, Hungary, and Russia.
Ok, so people are willing to give this guy nearly a quater billion dollars to make a movie. That might make one wonder what he was doing 20 years ago. So, what work led to such a prolific (and profitable) career? This:
That baby-faced gumshoe is a 27 year old Pitt in one of the worst movies of his career, Cool World. How bad? “4.5 on IMDB” bad. We’re talking “$14 million at the box office total” bad. That’s also “it made just half the production budget back” bad. It’s not Brad’s fault (obviously). Though the story is a bit more complex, no doubt the green-light was partly due to the wild success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit just a few years before. That film grossed over $150 million in the US alone, over $200 million outside the US, and another $80 million in rentals. (Crazy, right?)
Cool World wasn’t all bad though.
Wait. Yes, it was – but the soundtrack was good. Great even. Cool World issued two related albums. The first is the musical score, a combination of orchestral and infectious jazz.
Then there’s the soundtrack, which offers some of the most compelling “not grunge” music of the early 90’s. Headlined by Bowie it includes some very different Thompson Twins, the harder sounds of Ministry, MLTKK, Moby, The Cult, Future Sounds of London, Pure and more. There’s hardly a film released since with as compelling a soundtrack, until possibly Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet (unsurprising given his strong preoccupation with music.)
Cool World’s abysmal performance couldn’t hurt Pitt by that point in his career though. Aside from several bit parts in a number of recognizable films and tv shows, one of his earliest breaks was a recurring role on Dallas. Yep, ‘the’ Dallas, as well as appearances on 21 Jump Street, Head of the Class, and Growing Pains. And along with Cool World, Pitt could also be seen in A River Runs Through It that same year, and Kalifornia in 1993. By 1994, Pitt mania hit a fever pitch with Interview With A Vampire, and Legends of the Fall, and in 1995’s Seven and 12 Monkeys.
Brad Pitt’s career has been unstoppable ever since, appearing in at least one major film nearly ever year, including the current World War Z. Mireille Enos (the homicide detective on AMC’s awesome The Killing) costars as Pitt’s wife in the zombie apocalypse tale.
World War Z opens today. (show-times and tickets). Take a look: