Brad Pitt is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Hollywood, recognised on a global scale for his iconic performances in cult classics like Fight Club as well as recent works like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Although Pitt is routinely pigeonholed as the most attractive man on the planet, he has proven that his undeniable talent for acting forms a major part of his success.
When Pitt studied journalism at the University of Missouri, he initially wanted to become an art director. However, he soon realised that he had an intense inclination towards the magical world of cinema. Pitt felt that films were “a portal into different worlds,” leading him to the eventual decision of dropping out of college and moving to California to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
Pitt was just two weeks shy of finally graduating, but he couldn’t take it anymore and told his parents that he was going to California to enrol at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He did move to California to study, but the subject was different from what he mentioned to his parents. The aspiring actor had already made up his mind about the next step in his life, choosing to take acting lessons instead of continuing his formal education.
In order to support himself while trying his luck at acting, Pitt had to take on a number of odd jobs which weren’t always glamorous. One particular job stuck around in Pitt’s memory, a brief stint as a limousine driver which required him to drive strippers to their destinations for a few months: “My job was to drive them to bachelor parties and things,” he once explained. “I’d pick them up, and at the gig I’d collect the money, play the bad Prince tapes and catch the girls’ clothes. It was not a wholesome atmosphere, and it got very depressing.”
It was all part of the invaluable lesson of learning to stand on your own feet and Pitt took it in his stride. While reflecting on his journey, the actor said: “When I left Missouri I wasn’t ready to call it quits as far as getting out into the world. It wasn’t leaving something behind, it was heading for something that was nascent and ill-defined. I did not know what it would be when I got to L.A., and to me not knowing that has always been the most exciting thing about making a trip.”
Despite all the negative experiences, Pitt maintains that “strippers changed [his] life.” Just as he was about to quit the dead-end job, he finally got his well-deserved break. A girl he met on the job introduced him to Roy London’s acting classes which he eventually signed up for as well. Soon after that, Pitt started landing uncredited acting parts, which kickstarted his career and led him to global stardom.
Throughout his career, Pitt has insisted that the influence of London’s teachings on his work as an actor as well as his life in general has been invaluable: “I sat in on a few classes, and they just felt a little guru-ish and just didn’t feel right to me. Until I met Roy, He was tough, lovely, compassionate, tough. I give him full credit for pointing me in this direction…I learned so much from that man. I miss him.”