Why Brad Pitt Was ‘Miserable’ Starring in This Film With Tom Cruise

Brad Pitt is an expert at playing a wide range of roles. From Seven to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, the actor clearly had no problem transforming into a plethora of characters.

Yet when Pitt was starting on his rise to fame, he was given a role alongside megastar Tom Cruise where he actually considered quitting.

Brad Pitt arrives for the 2020 Oscars Nominees Luncheon at the Dolby theatre
Brad Pitt | VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Brad Pitt’s breakout role

Pitt’s Midwestern charm served him well when he embarked on an acting career, though he was facing some heavy competition when he tried out for the part of hitchhiker/robber J.D. in Ridley Scott’s 1991 film Thelma & Louise. According to Vulture, actors Mark Ruffalo, Dylan McDermott, Dermot Mulroney, and Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. all threw their hats in the ring to portray the charming thief. Billy Baldwin ended up originally landing the role since Scott felt that Pitt wasn’t old enough.

“Pitt’s [first] reading [of J.D.] veered into James Dean territory, with a nicely authentic accent and a certain slinky charm,” Becky Aikman wrote in her book, Off The Cliff: How the Making of Thelma and Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge. “But Ridley [Scott] thought he seemed too young. They moved on.”

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When Baldwin ended up dropping out, Scott gave Pitt another shot. He auditioned with actress Geena Davis, who was won over by the actor and went to bat for him with producers.

“Lou [DiGiaimo] and Ridley were talking about the other guys: ‘This one had a certain roughness. That one had a good look,’” Davis told Vanity Fair in 2011. “They’re not mentioning the last one! So I said, ‘Can I say something?’ And they’re ‘Of course.’ I said, ‘The blond one. Duh!’”

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt should have swapped, according to author Anne Rice

When producer David Geffen and director Neil Jordan cast Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the 1994 film Interview With The Vampire, the author who wrote the book on which the film was based was less than thrilled.

“The Tom Cruise casting is so bizarre, it’s almost impossible to imagine how it’s going to work,” author Ann Rice told Movieline in 1994 of Cruise playing the lead role of Lestat. “Does Tom Cruise have any idea of what he’s getting into? I’m not sure he does. … His comments on TV that he wanted to do something scary and he loved ‘creature features’ as a kid, well, that didn’t make me feel any better. … the choice is just so bizarre.”

While Pitt was given the part of protagonist Louis, Rice thought the actors would be better suited if they switched roles.

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“I think Brad Pitt would be a fabulous Lestat,” the author commented. “I tried for a long time to tell them that they should just reverse these roles – have Brad Pitt play Lestat and have Tom Cruise play Louis. Of course, they don’t listen to me.”

Why Brad Pitt didn’t enjoy being a bloodsucker

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Pitt described his experience on Interview With The Vampire without holding back his lack of favor. “I am miserable. Six months in the f—ing dark,” he said. “Contact lenses, makeup, I’m playing the b*tch role.”

Detailing the dreary shoot in London at the time, the actor soon grew weary of the depressing environment.

“We’re shooting in Pinewood (Studios), which is an old institution There’s no windows in there,” he said. “You leave for work in the dark – you go into this cauldron, this mausoleum – and then you come out and it’s dark.”

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt star in 'Interview with the Vampire'
Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ | Francois Duhamel/Sygma via Getty Images

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Pitt revealed he even asked to pull out of the project, but soon learned what quitting would cost him – literally. “One day, it broke me. … I called David Geffen, who was a producer,” he revealed. “I said, ‘David, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it. How much will it take to get me out?’ And he goes, very calmly, ‘Forty million dollars.’”

Obviously, Pitt decided to stay. And despite his unpleasant recollection of the experience, Interview With The Vampire went to become a box office hit.