- Johnny Depp, A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984. Depp’s debut. Before noticing him (accompanying pal, Jackie Earl Haley to the auditions), Ohio auteur Wes Craven had also seen Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, C Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland for the heroine’s boyfriend. Pitt was later in one of the TV Freddy’s Nightmares, 1989.
- Mark Patton, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, 1985. New kid - oldnightmares. Freddy Krueger rules! Pitt was later in one ofthe TV Freddy’s Nightmares, 1989.
- James Le Gros, Phantasm II, 1987. Phans were annoyed when their hero, A Michael Baldwin (as opposed to The Michael Baldwin) was replaced by, well, anybody… Proving as crass as his eventual franchise, the Tripoli-born auteur Don Coscarelli actually bypassed Pitt for Le Gros. Doh! Baldwin returned for III, 1993, and IV, 1997 (video fodder, both), Le Gros also beat Pitt for Living In Oblivion, 1995 and then moved into TV: Ally McBeal, Law & Order, Mercy, Mildred Pierce, Sleeper Cell and was the first US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens in Pronto, 1997. He later played Wade Messer in the Justified series when Givens was The Man: Timothy Olyphant.
- Christian Slater, Heathers, 1988. Considered “too sweet” for JD - samename of his breakthroughrole in Thelma & Louise, 1991, and of his Quentin Tarantino character in True Romance, 1993.
- William Baldwin, Backdraft, 1990. A tale of two castings… Both Baldwin and Pitt tested as firefighter Brian McCaffrey for directorRon Howard - and for JD in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise. Ridley chose Baldwin, who then said he preferred to be a fireman. (The sap!) So Pitt was back in? No, Ridley Scott still chose George Clooney - when he was called back to his TV series and Pitt won a third chance. He had three rivals. They tested with Thelma, who said “the last one was so cute I kept messing up my lines.” Geena Davis then overheard Ridley and casting agent Lou DiGiamo discussing the other two. “Can I say something?” she asked. Of course. “The blond one. Duh!”
- Josh Hamilton, Alive, 1992. A poor reading, director Frank Marshall recalled about letting him go… from the Uruguayan rugby squad surviving a plane crash in the Andes with cannibalism
- Gabriel Byrne, Cool World, 1992. Cooler if Pitt was the cartoonist and Byrne the cop in Ralph Bakshi’s reponse to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (Kim Basinger was Jessica Rabbit reframed as Holly Would). My favourite critic Roger Ebert nailed the film’s coffin tight. “Surprisingly incompetent.”
- Christian Slater, True Romance, 1993. “Fuck,” said Brad when UK director Tony Scott called again, “we just committed to Kalifornia and it’s similar.” Nothing, said Scott, is similar to his Quentin Tarantino script. Pitt obviously concurred and offered to do the bitofthe roommate.“And he was brilliant.”
- Christian Slater, Untamed Heart, 1993. Pitt, Geena Davis, Demi Moore, were interested. So was Madonna - until the studio went for William Baldwin and not her Jason Patric. Slater made it with the newly Oscared Marisa Tomeii.
- Chris O’Donnell, The Three Musketeers, 1993. Johnny Depp was interested in one version but, wisely, Brad wanted no part of the battle by two studios over Dumasand D’Artagnan.
- Woody Harrelson, Natural Born Killers, 1994. Showing less originality than usual, writer-directorOliver Stone jumped for the Kalifornia duo, Pitt and Juliette Lewis. Too late. They were sundered!
- Gil Bellows, The Shawshank Redemption, 1994. Not the main role... So Thomas (Tommy) Williams went to the guy who played Billy, Ally McBeal’s first boyfriend in the first three seasons, 1997-1999 ,of David Kelley’s excellent TV series.
- Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire, 1994.
- Rob Murrow, Last Dance, 1995. Australian director Bruce Beresford and his cast took it over from Euro icon Costa-Gavras and his.
- John Cusack, City Hall, 1995.
“I got lost in the wilderness of fame a bit…" The role was New York Mayor’s Al Pacino’s deputy. But Pitt admits to some poor choices in the 90s.There are all of these opportunities you’re supposed to be taking. And I got really discombibulated." Well, you would, wouldn't you?
- James Le Gros, Living In Oblivion, 1995. The legend that Brad was the model for the Chad Palomino is totally false. Pitt was, infact, due forthe role(right after his previous Tom DiCillo movie, Johnny Suede, 1991) until offered Legends of the Fall, 1994. LeGros said he used quite another actor, one he had lately worked with, for Chad’s buffoonery mannerisms.
- Bill Paxton, Apollo 13, 1995.The numbers game... Brad dropped 13 for Se7en. Anddirector Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys - earningan Oscar nod.
- Keanu Reeves, A Walk in the Clouds, 1995. According to Hollywood legend, CAA eased Pitt out and Ralph Fiennes in,simply to bump his salary for the film the agency wanted Fiennes in next: Strange Days. Both bombed.
- Denzel Washington,Crimson Tide, 1995. Since his breakthrough in his brother Ridley’s Thelma & Louise, 1991, Tony Scott chased Brad for all his films. “He’s a male Patricia Arquette... a good-looking, sweet, boyish thing on the outside with a lot of strangeness, darkness, weird twistedness on the inside.”
- Matthew McConaughey, A Time To Kill, 1996. For the film of his first and most personal legal thriller, John Grisham nixed all director Joel Schumacher’s star choices and voted for the unknown from Richard Linklater and John Sayles’ indies who was not up to the task. Writers!
- Chris O’Donnell, The Chamber, 1996. Pitt avoided the next John Grisham trip, too - when director Ron Howard quit to make Ransom. It was Ron that Bradhad wanted to work with, not James Foley. Result: the first Grisham flop. (Brad and Ron had also planned a 1999 Western, The Pretenders, with Matthew McConaughey).
- Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire, 1996. After Tom Hanks quit to turn director, LA auteur Cameron Crowe found Brad very keen - and then off for Seven Years In Tibet!
- Wesley Snipes, The Fan, 1996. Tony Scott called anew. “For the ballplayer. But Pitt wanted the stalker. He has a star quality and is a really interesting actor.” And understood the key role…Robert De Niro grabbed the stalker!
- Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1996. Avoiding this “script,” was the wisest decision of his life. Producer Robert Evans’ hopes for an 007esque franchise were stifled by Kilmer being allowed to, basically,crap all overit.Doing far more harmto it than the much blamed Marlon Brando ever did to Mutiny OnThe Bounty, 1962.
- John Lynch,Some Mother’s Son, 1996. Helen Mirren was Associate Producer as well as the mother of the IRA terrorist Bobby Sands - and votedfor Lynch to play her son hunger-striking in 1981 to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. Pitt was anIRA killer in The Devil’s Own, 1997.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic, 1996.
- Keanu Reeves, The Devil’s Advocate, 1997. Joel Schumacher’s version was delayed due to the similarities with The Firm.Both he andPitt let it lay.
- Nicolas Cage, Conair, 1997. Tony Scott called yet again. Tony had to wait into the nextcentury to land Brad- inSpy Game, 2001.
- Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting, 1997. Director Michael Mann loved the script by Affleck and Matt Damon, just didn’t wantthem as Will and Chuckie - written, Rocky-style for themselves. His only thoughts (and Rob Reiner’s for awhile) was:Brad ’n’ Leo.Pitt and DiCaprio.
- Jude Law, Midnight in the Garden of Food and Evil, 1997. Only third film directed by Clint Eastwood without starring in it. Brad was pencilled in with Tommy Lee Jones and Ralph Fiennes, three years earlier.
- Liev Schreiber, Since You Went Away, 1997. The tele-movie’s shooting clashed with his Devil’s Own gig with Harrison Ford. Therefore, actor-director David Schwimmer lost the main attracion of his class reunion cliche that nobody saw. Or worse, that nobody remembers seeing.
- Bill Paxton, A Simple Plan, 1998. Not that simple… The script went from directors Mike Nichols to John Boorman - even to Ben Stiller, who planned to co-star with Pitt as the two guys finding a cash cache. Finally, Sam Raimi, made it. Handsomely.
- Adrien Brody The Thin Red Line, 1998. With Sean Penn spreading the news that Terrence Malick was to be directing again - after a 20-year lay-off - Pitt was among the many keen to sign on. Stardom,though, can hurt...“The audience will know thatPitt’s going to wake up after his death scene,” said Malick, “and collect his $1m.”
- Paul Giamatti, Duets, 1999. The end of another love affair... Bruce Paltrow’s second and last movie was designed for his daughter, Gwyneth, and her lover, but they had split before production began in 1997. All change in November1998: Gwyneth took another role andleft the lead to Maria Bello. Bruce Paltrow died in 2002.
- Keanu Reeves, The Matrix, 1999. A vast improvement on the wooden, colourless Reeves, Brad was an early-on choice of the Wachowski brothers. PS: Pitt’s first commercial was booked by an LA talent agency called… Matrix.
- Johnny Depp, Sleepy Hollow, 1999. Liam Neeson and Brad Pitt were also on Tim Burton’s short list. Just not when Johnny became free.
- Christian Bale, American Psycho, 1999. When Canadian director David Cronenberg had a script by Bret Easton Ellis, creator of the yuppy serial killer working in the same Wall Street firm as Sherman McCoy in Bonfire of the Vanities.
- Guy Pearce, Memento, 1999. After Alec Baldwin foolishly passed on the hero with massive short-term memory loss, director Christopher Nolan (adapting his brother Jonathan’s short story)looked at Pitt, Aaron Eckhart, Thomas Jane, Charlie Sheen. None could have matched the moving work of Pearce, who also had the advantage of being lesser known and, therefore, more credible as Leonard...talking fast to stop forgetting what he’s talking about!
- Mark Wahlberg, Rock Star, 1999. Rejecting the first of two consecutive music scripts. This is the one thatflopped. This one was So You Wanna Be A Rock Star? when Pitt passed Chris (Izzy) Cole to Wahlberg. Not that Brad could sing, either. Mijenko Matjevic and Jeff Scott Soto did the singing for him.
- Matt Damon, All The Pretty Horses, 1999. There was a new (and hungry) generation in town and now Brad had been usurped by both Affleck and Damon... Director Mike Nichols had chosen Pitt in 1994. However, Billy Bob Thornton ultimately made it. Pitt and Damon became part of George Clooney’s Ocean’s 11/12/13 capers, 2001-2006.... not quite as much fun as they promised.
- Mark Wahlberg, The Yards, 2000. Another victim of the break-up of Brad and Gwyneth Paltrow. Again, Pitt’s substitute was the rapper previously known as Marky Mark.
- Billy Crudup, Almost Famous, 2000. “He said one day: I just don’t get it enough to do it,” said scenarist-director Cameron Crowe, “Somewhere, there’s some fascinating audition footage of Brad Pitt as Russell Hammond and Natalie Portman as Penny Lane. That would have been a completely different movie...”
- Matt Damon, The Legend of Bagger Vance, 2000. Robert Redford was going to direct himself until deciding to go younger. Who else would he (first) call but “himself” fromA River Runs Through It, 1992.
- James Franco, James Dean, TV, 2001. In the Jimmy mix with Johnny Depp, Brendan Fraser, Edward Furlong and Gary Oldman. Other actors played… Pier Angeli, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Julie Harris, Hedda Hopper, Rock Hudson, Louis Jourdan, Elia Kazan, Raymond Massey, Marilyn Monroe, Geraldine Page, Nicholas Ray, George Stevens, Lee Strasberg - and director Mark Rydell was Jack Warner Oh, you hadda be there!
- Johnny Depp, From Hell,2001. The directing Hughes brothers, Allen and Albert, also tried Sean Connery, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jude Law for the cop hunting Jack The Ripper. Only Depp, they said, “was awareof the little subtleties in the script.”
- Steven Culp, 13 Days, 2001. Brad was keenon theRobert Kennedycameo in 1999, before US director Philip Alden Robinson handed over to Australian Roger Donaldson. In common with Martin Sheen and variousother actors whoplayed JFK, Culp had previously been RFK (in Norma Jean & Marilyn, TV, 1996).
- Matt Damon, The Bourne Identity, 2001. Robert Ludlum finally makes a hit on the bigscreen - and is dead before the premiere. Pitt voted Spy Game as, finally, Hollywood (and Damon) made a better spy-action movie than Bond. Only took 40 years!
- Kevin Spacey, The Life of David Gale, 2001. Great interest from Pitt when Nicolas Cage’s company planned to film the Charles Randolph novel about a reporter investigating death penalty issues.
- Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2002. Discussed the unauthorised autobiography of TV game show legend and self-proclaimed “CIAssassin”Chuck Barris,with director Darren Aronofsky, before the director’s chair passed triumphantly, to George Clooney. Pitt and Aronofsky nearly made The Fountain, 2006; Brad and Sam did make The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2006.
- Olivier Martinez, Unfaithful, 2002. All but set as Diane Lane’s lover until producers decided to go French. Why not, their film, after all, was a re-tread of Claude Chabrol’s La femme infidele, 1969.
- Hugh Grant, About A Boy, 2002. Far too handsome for a guy having to cheat to get women. Grant had the - necessary - darker side.
- Billy Bob Thornton, Waking Up In Reno, 2002. The end of another love affair... The then very in couple of Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were due as the lead white trash couple until Reno loomed large in their own life. Or they re-read their script: trashier than the couples.
- Bruce Willis, Tears of the Sun, 2002. Before the bust up between Willis and director Antoine Fuqua in Nigeria. (At one time, it was going to be made as Die Hard 4).
- Jude Law, Cold Mountain, 2003. Pitt quit the Civil War drama, Anthony Minghella, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger and Philip Seymour Hoffman - for The Fountain, the 2005 sf film that, finally, he never made with writer-director Darren Aronofsky.
- Martin Henderson, Bride & Prejudice, 2003. His diary was not as keen as he was on being Darcy in the Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinda Chada’s Bollywood take on Jane Austen - Aishwayra Rai was Lalita, er Elizabeth Bennet! Johnny Depp and Joaquin Phoenix were also mentioned. The Kiwi Henderson was an error. He continued, mainly in TV… including reprising Pitt’s hit man John Smith in a 2007 TV movie (more like a series pilot that didn’t fly) of Mr and Ms Smith. (Mrs, Jordana Brewster, was no Angelina Jolie, either).
- Jared Leto, Alexander, 2004. Culture clash! Sorry, man, can’t do Hephaistion, I’m doing Achilles in Troy.
- Thomas Haden Church, Sideways, 2004. Auteur Alexander Payne was, as they say, spoilt for choice: Pitt, George Clooney, Aaron Eckhart. Until realising they were too famous to play a TV soap actor.
- Johnny Depp, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2004. Pitt was the obvious idea for Willy Wonka as it was Plan B, his company (with then-wife Jennifer Aniston), producing the movie. Director Tim Burton had ideas: One ole Beetlejuice Michael Keaton, three Monty Pythons - John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin - plus Rowan Atkinson, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Marilyn Manson, Steve Martin, Leslie Nielsen, Adam Sandler, Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken, Robin Williams. Depp said his Willy, as it were, was “part Howard Hughes-reclusive, part 1970s glamorous rock star.” No wonder that Marilyn Manson fancied the gig.
- Bradley Cooper, Kitchen Confidential, TV, 2005. Or Seared, when Pitt and his Se7en director David Fincher planned it as a movie. Producer Darren Starr took it over for just (alas) 13 episodes, far from his Sex and the City. And propelled Cooper into movies the way Alias never did.
- Colin Farrell, Miami Vice, 2005. After co-starring in Minority Report, Tom Cruise apparently elbowed Farrell out of Michael Mann’s Collateral. Mann got his own way this time, booking the busy Irishman (and opposite the Collateral co-star,Jamie Foxx) for the overly serious (’twas written for Cruise) movie of the 1984-1990 TV series. Pitt and Matthew McConnaughey were also up for Detective Sonny Crockett but the original, Don Johnson, had already nominated Farrell…who “can’t remember a frame of it. A lot of it’s hazy… it really is, man.”
- Hugh Jackman, The Fountain, 2006. Lost ya star? E-mail Jackman! He became Wolverine when Dougray Scott didn’t and substituted Russell Crowe in Australia and now Pitt... He decamped because of an 11th hour re-write of the millennia-spanning catastrophe of pseudo-philosophical hokum - later listed by Forbes magazine as #6 of the 15 box office turkeys of the previous five years.
- Matt Damon, The Departed, 2006. Winning the rights to the Hong Kong thriller Mou gaan dou/Infernal Affairs, 2002, Pitt wanted to re-tool it for him and Tom Cruise. The bad cop then went to Ocean’s 11/12/13 mate, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s good cop. Brad produced the film under his (and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston's) production company, Plan B... finally winning Martin Scorsese his Best Director Oscar.
- Adam Sandler, Reign Over Me, 2006. Pitt or... Sandler?! Detroit-born auteur Mike Binder lost Tom Cruise, then Pitt and settled for Sandler(!). Adam rejected it - and returned - for the same reason. He was terrified about playing a man who lost everything on 9/11.
- Russell Crowe, American Gangster, 2006. Crowe and Pitt - they were Only names on Ridley Scott’s list for Richie Roberts, the untouchable New York cop trying to bringdown the titular Denzel Washington.
- Robert Downey Jr, Zodiac, 2006. Brad wisely felt they’d been there and got the t-shirt marked Se7en, so director David Fincher went with Downey as the San Francsico journo in what critic Roger Ebert called the All The President’s Men of serial killer movies.
- Dan Futterman, A Mighty Heart, 2007. Another Plan B in need of a plan B. About about slain journalist Daniel Pearl and wife Mariane, due for Pitt and Aniston, until Pitt moved over to Angelina Jolie. Important as it was, director Michael Winterbottom’s drama sadly flopped.
- Russell Crowe, State of Play, 2008.
Or, State of Delay as Pitt called itafter it was stalled so long... “He wasn’t right for the part,”said Scots director Kevin Macdonald. “We both knew it and we were both in denial.” Pitt says he didn’t like Macdonald’s simplifying the (BBC TV serial) plot, taking it out of politics and into dying newspapers. When Pitt finally walked, the journalist Cal McAffrey was offered to Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Crowe took over after discussing the film with Ridley Scot... one of the few directors never attached to it. Pitt served the gods in another movioe (Inglorious Basterds) and that one went to Cannes; this did not..
- Eric Bana, The Time Traveller’s Wife, 2008. The bittersweet love story’s author, Audrey Niffenegger, saw Adrian Brody and Lauren Ambrose as the couple. Oh, no, it’s us, said Pitt and Jennifer Aniston on buying the book in galley form for their Plan B combine in 2006. They lost Steven Spielberg as director, then each other… Pitt produced with Rachel McAdams wed to Eric Bana who, well, just kept on disappearing… leaving his clothes behind. “It can be a problem,” he admitted.
- Leonardo Di Caprio, Shutter Island, 2009. Pitt’s Plan B won the rights to Dennis Lehane’s novel as a potential double producer-star whammy for The Boss with his Se7en director David Fincher. However, the Oscared triumph of Pitt’s debut production, The Departed, 2006, made him pass it over to the same team: director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception, 2009. According to the (often unreliable) Hollywood Reporter, feelers wereput out to Pitt and Will Smith, before Leo snapped up Cobb... within the architecture of the mind.
- Christian Bale, The Fighter, 2009. Wanting to make a credible boxing film, Mark Wahlberg chose the story of his pal, Boston’s Irish Mickey Ward, being trained to world glory by his ex-boxer/ex-crackhead half-brother - and stuck with it, sparring every morning for five years, as directors refused (Scorsese) or quit (Aronofsky) as the $50m studio project became a $20m indie. Wahlberg refused any salary and never thought of playing the brother. “There was always one role for me to play, and that was the champ. I wasn’t giving up the belt. Dicky was a flashier role, but it wasn’t about that... but being believable as a guy who could win the welterweight title, and not look like an actor who could maybe box a little.” Pitt and Matt Damon (twice) quit being Dickie Eklund... and the self-emaciated Bale won an Oscar.
- Chris Hemsworth, Thor, 2010. Pitt was long rumoured for the disabled medical student Dr. Donald Blake with the mighty Thor as his alter ego - particularly when his Snatch producer Matthew Vaughn was to helm. Final director Kenneth Branagh saw Marvel’s superhero as a Norse comic-book twist on Wim Wenders’ Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987. (Oh, really!) Also in contention were the future Loki, RoboCop, Tarzan and Magic Mike: Tom Hiddleston, Joel Kinnaman, Alexander Skarsgård, Channing Tatum. Plus the brother Liam Hemsworth, Charlie Hunnam, Paul Levesque and Tyler Mane.
- Daniel Craig, Dream House, 2010. When Dutchman Erik Van Looy was due to direct, Pitt and Christian Bale were on the list to be Rachel Weisz’s husband... helped by Naomi Watts to solve a murder in their house. Craig came aboard with Irish helmer Jim Sheridan… and married Rachel in the summer of 2011. “The movie didn’t turn out great,” he agreed. “But I met my wife. Fair trade.”
- Jared Harris, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, 2010. Also in the mix to be Moriarty: Javier Bardem, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn. Two years earlier, Pitt had been a rumoured Moriarty in the first Guy Ritchie take on Holmes.
- Paul Johansson, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.
- Daniel Craig, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2010.
- Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger, 2010. Way back in 2004, Pitt was having meetingsabout becoming the Marvel superhero - “ a role I always wanted to play.”
- Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March, 2010. First plan was Pitt as the presidential campaign manager Paul Zara. Of course, he was – as George Clooney was the candidate, the producer, the director and co-scenarist.
- John Cusack, The Raven, 2011. The Shakespeare script (Helen Shakespeare!) was originlly set forJoaquin Phoenixas Edgar Allen Poe helpingBaltimore cop Jeremy Renner solve some Poe-style murder in the 1880s.They became John Cusack and Luke Evans.
- Patrick Duffy, Dallas, TV, 2011. Efforts were made since 2002 to reboot the iconic 1978-92 series (and tele-films) for the cinema. Result? This pilot for a 2012 series. “Impossible to do Dallas as a film,” Duffy told me at Monte Carlo in 2011. “A ten hour plot in 120 minutes! I read those movie scripts and they were atrocious Then, I read this - oh my God, this is Dallas as I remember it. It was frightening how easy it was to slide back into Bobby. It’s all about the sons. (Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe)... Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and I agreed we’d rather have somebody else do the heavy lifting.”
- Ben Affleck, Argo, 2011. George Clooney producing, Affleck directing… and Pitt leaving the expert thriller about Hollywood helping rescue six US diplomats from the madness of 1980 Iran. Affleck took on double duties “and made a phenomenal film,” said Clooney. “Ben was in actor jail for a couple of years. We’ve all been there, even me. I was in Batman & Robin! But it’s how you handle yourself as a performer during those times. Ben directed his way out of it. He did Gone Baby Gone and The Town, films which made money and with Argo it put him further in the right direction. I’m proud to work with him - and I hate him.” Result: Oscars for everyone! Well, for director Affleck and producer Clooney.
- Garrett Hedlund, On The Road, 2012. After abortive efforts by Jack Kerouac to film his boozy. strea, of consciousness novel (with Brando) in 1957, Francis Coppola finally won the rights 23 years later. At one time, he wanted Ethan Hawke as the Beat Generation icon opposite Pitt as his pal, Sal Paradise (aka Neal Cassady). By 2001, Coppola decided to simply produce, with Joel Schmacher helming Billy Crudup and Colin Farrell. Nada, again. Still under the Coppola banner, Brazilian director Walter Salles had better luck… 54 years after the book was published!
- Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, 2012. The first star and director trying to film the battle of AIDS medication fighter Ron Woodroof (with Oscar written all over it) were Pitt and Marc Forster. Next: Ryan Gosling and Craig Gillespie. After losing 13 kilos for the role, a frighteningly gaunt McConnaughey made it with Montreal‘s Jean-Marc Vallée. Result: Best Actort Oscar for McConnaughey.
- Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2012. Passed writer Lee Child’s cop (a kind of Sherlock homeless) to Cruise who seemed to be in a new movie every month. Jamie Foxx, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith and Vince Vaughn also demurred.Idemfor Pitt’s next offer…
- Tom Cruise, Edge of Tomorrow, 2012. Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Cage is caught in a time loop while fighting aliens. Brad had just done that (sans loop) in World War Z.Cruise was so keen, he began alien bashing within days of doing much the same in Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion.
- Javier Bardem, The Counselor, 2012. There was little choice between the two drug traffickers. But - in nostalgic mood, perhaps - Pitt passed on Reiner to be the guy in the stetson with a weakness for women. Rather like JD in his previous Ridley Scott film, Thelma &Louise, all those 22 years ago.
- Will Smith, Focus, 2013. First the drifter linking up with Kristen Stewart was Ryan Gosling, then Brad and then Ben Affleck. Stewart was next to flee when Smith signed on - despite their great age difference. His 57 to her 24.
- Jason Clarke, Candy Store, 2013. Took the Syriana director Stephen Gaghan so long to win financing that he lost his original stars tobusy diaries. Pitt and Denzel Washington became the Australian Clarke and French funster Omar Sy.
- Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager, TV, 2014. Although superbly made, the most recently filmed John le Carré’s novels - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011, and A Most Wanted Man, 2013 - had no superstar heroes. Brad Pitt was defy keen on playing - and producing - the titular Jonathan Pine. Instead, the project turned into what every le Carré book deserves: a six-chapter BBC TV mini-series. Positively brilliant!
- Jamie Foxx, Annie, 2014. Legend insists that both Pitt and Justin Timberlake were invited to be Will Stacks, the new name for Daddy Warbucks in this third movie version of the Broadway hit. Producer Will Smith set it up in 2011 for his daughter, Willow. But during the delays, she growed like Topsy.
- Denzel Washington, The Magnificent Seven, 2016. Pitt wisely rode away (following Tom Cruise) from this Dullard Seven. How is it possible to write a tepid take of either John Sturges’ 1969 Seven or its 1953 source, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai? Then again, writer Nic Pizzolatto made a similar dog’s breakfast out of his second season of True Detective.