Brad Pitt Had 40 Million Reasons Not to Quit 1 of His Most Infamous Roles, Even Though He Was ‘Miserable’

Brad Pitt’s career took off in the early 1990s with films like Thelma & Louise, Legends of the Fall, and True Romance. There was one role, though, that Pitt has described as a “miserable experience.” But the Oscar winner had 40 million reasons not to quit.

Brad Pitt, winner Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' poses in the press room during the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020
Brad Pitt | Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Turner

Brad Pitt starred alongside Tom Cruise in ‘Interview with a Vampire’

Years before vampires were cool in Hollywood, Pitt starred alongside Tom Cruise in the 1994 film Interview with a Vampire. Based on the novel by Anne Rice, the film was shot in New Orleans and London.

It was a big budget, big name production for the time, and the shoot sparked Pitt’s love affair with NOLA.

“The great thing that came out of that movie is that it birthed my love affair with New Orleans,” he said. “We were shooting nights. So I just rode my bike around all night. I made some great friends there.”

Pitt doesn’t have the same sense of nostalgia, though, when he looks back on his time shooting Interview With a Vampire in London. Pitt has described that experience as “miserable.”

Taking the good with the bad

During a lengthy 2011 sit-down with Entertainment Weekly, interviewer Jeff Giles was covering Pitt’s career movie by movie. When he got to Interview with a Vampire, Giles noted that Pitt looked miserable.

“I am miserable,” Pitt replied. “Six months in the f**king dark.”

After filming in New Orleans, production moved to London in the dead of winter in dark, cold locations. That was bad enough, but then there was the yellow contact lenses, the horrible hairdo, and the caked-on makeup.

Simply put, Interview with a Vampire wasn’t an easy movie for Pitt to make.

“We got to London, and London was f**king dark. London was dead of winter,” Pitt recalled. “We’re shooting in Pinewood (Studios), which is an old institution — all the James Bond films. There’s no windows in there. It hasn’t been rehabbed in decades. You leave for work in the dark — you go into this cauldron, this mausoleum — and then you come out and it’s dark.”

Brad Pitt says filming ‘Interview with a Vampire’ broke him

Pitt says that making Interview with a Vampire eventually “broke” him. He thought that “Life’s too short for this quality of life.”

So, the actor called his good friend David Geffen — one of the film’s producers — to see what it would take to back out of the project.

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“I said, ‘David, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it. What will it cost me to get out?’ And he goes, very calmly, ‘Forty million dollars,'” Pitt recalled. “And I go, ‘OK, thank you.’ It actually took the anxiety off of me. I was like, ‘I’ve got to man up and ride this through, and that’s what I’m going to do.'”

Louis de Pointe de Lac wasn’t what he expected

Fans will remember that Pitt played Louis de Pointe de Lac in Interview with a Vampire. He was the titular Louisiana vampire who is giving the interview and telling his bloody life story.

But, the screenplay was the first one Rice had ever written. And when Pitt got the script two weeks before filming started, it was then he realized that everything he found interesting about his character was gone.

“In the movie, they took the sensational aspects of Lestat [Cruise] and made that the pulse of the film, and those things are very enjoyable and very good, but for me, there was just nothing to do — you just sit and watch,” Pitt explained.

Brad Pitt no longer works with Tom Cruise

In the nearly 30 years since Pitt and Cruise shot Interview With a Vampire, they’ve both continued their careers as A-list box office draws. But they haven’t worked together since, and they never will again.

“You gotta understand, Tom and I are… we walk in different directions,” Pitt explained. “He’s the North Pole. I’m South. He’s coming at you with a handshake. Where I may bump into you, I may not, you know?”

The actor admitted there was an “underlying competition” that got in the way of them ever having any real conversations. He says it “wasn’t nasty by any means.” But, it was there and it “bugged” Pitt.

“But I’ll tell you, he catches a lot of s**t because he’s on top, but he’s a good actor and he advances in the film. He did it. I mean, you have to respect that,” Pitt said.