The band Brad Pitt called the ‘Kafka of our generation’
Brad Pitt is one of the most respected actors of modern cinema and has lit up the big screens over the last few decades. Not many Hollywood names can boast a career as illustrious as his. However, in the world of music, there is one band who have had a career with similar longevity, a group who have earned themselves an extraordinary place close to his heart; Radiohead.
The Oxfordshire group have established themselves in the pantheon of music greats, just like Pitt has done in the acting world. In fact, Pitt had even attempted to work with the group when he and Edward Norton tried to recruit the pioneering band to create the soundtrack for Fight Club. Still, the timing was wrong on Radiohead’s end and it resulted in them passing up on the opportunity. However, Norton did manage to secure Thom Yorke to create the soundtrack for his 2019 film Motherless Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Pitt has still not had the opportunity to work on a project with the band.
“Things sort of come into my office, but they haven’t really got to me,” Yorke told BBC 6 Music about past soundtrack offers. “The one I remember is one from years ago after we’d finished OK Computer and I was completely gaga. They asked me to do Fight Club. They sent me the script and Ed and Brad Pitt wrote to me and said ‘We really think you should do this’. I went ‘Nah, I can’t’. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t have been able to do it then, but every time I see the film I go ‘Oh’,” he regretfully stated.
“Got the email. Got the script. And I was just too fucked up in the head to do it. I’d just come off tour. I was mentally incapable of even tying my shoes,” Yorke again recalled, this time to The Guardian in 2019. Norton then revealed why he and Brad Pitt originally reached out to Radiohead to lend a hand on the soundtrack in the same interview: “It was probably my fault. We were listening to The Bends and OK Computer constantly in the makeup trailer. Brad and I were obsessed – we had those albums on all the time. Then we started leaning on David [Fincher] a little. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if Radiohead could do the score?'”
The same year as Fight Club hit theatres in 1999, Brad Pitt spoke with Rolling Stone. Radiohead’s rejection didn’t affect his love for them as he nearly ran out of superlatives whilst divulging his adoration. “What is so important about Radiohead is that they are the [Franz] Kafka and the [Samuel] Beckett of our generation,” he dotingly told the publication.
Franz Kafka was a bohemian novelist from Prague who played an immeasurable role in shaping what 20th Century literature became. Samuel Beckett was an equally influential Irish novelist who picked up where Kafka left-off. The two men played crucial roles in the world of literature, and the influence of their work can still be felt on culture today. Pitt saying that Radiohead was an amalgamation of these two men is about as much praise as possible to give, and the impact that the band has had on music can’t be understated.
Pitt then added even more praise: “Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead are precisely that. What comes out in them I don’t think is anything they could actually articulate, but I would certainly say that it’s that which we all know is true somewhere when we’re in our deepest sleep. That is their importance, and this movie hits on the same level.”
Although Radiohead had never worked with Brad Pitt, they did sort-of reciprocate the love when producing a bizarre webcast called Thumbs Down in 2007. The strange yet captivating film parodies a scene from the David Fincher film, SE7EN, which Pitt starred alongside Morgan Freeman in 1995. Whilst, this is far from a collaboration, having Radiohead pay tribute to one of his finest films will have likely at least made the actor raise a smile.