Insider Speaks Out After Brad Pitt Was Accused of Being ‘Volatile’ On Legends Of The Fall Set

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Written By Maya Cantina

Director Ed Zwick’s upcoming memoir, Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions provides his insight into the challenges he faced while working with Brad Pitt on the Legends of the Fall set. Recently, a piece of this memoir made headlines, as it included claims that tensions were high between the director and actor from the beginning, including the initial script read-through. However, an insider close to the project has now spoken out, claiming that the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star was not “volatile.”

An unnamed source close to the production of the 1994 western spoke to People alleging the claims made by the Glory filmmaker in his book are not how they remember the situation. While saying that the depiction of the leading man as a volatile figure on set is misleading, they also mentioned another point briefly:

They had disagreements. But Brad was not volatile.

In the excerpt from his memoir, published in Vanity Fair, the 71-year-old director recounts an incident that he claims occurred on the set of the book adaptation of Jim Harrison’s novella. On a particular afternoon, the director says he gave the lead actor some direction out loud in front of the crew and, allegedly, this interaction resulted in the Oklahoma-born native-turned-superstar loudly telling him to back off. The Blood Diamond director says he somewhat regrets the incident; writing about it, he called it “a stupid, shaming provocation.”

Ed Zwick acknowledges his share of responsibility (yet it remains a mystery who was behind the decision regarding Brad Pitt’s awkward butt makeup). He admits that their perspectives on the character were distinctly different. Reportedly, the Troy star, now 60, and the Last Samurai producer disagreed on how Tristan Ludlow, a rural Missouri native, should be portrayed. Looking back, the filmmaker now sees the validity in Pitt’s viewpoint, as he shared in his memoir:

In his defense, I was pushing him to do something he felt was either wrong for the character, or more ’emo’ than he wanted to appear on-screen. I don’t know who yelled first, who swore, or who threw the first chair. Me, maybe? But when we looked up, the crew had disappeared.

The Courage Under Fire helmer claims that this was not an isolated incident. According to his recollection, the two would blow up several times throughout the film production but would make up. However, another source tells People that they find the whole thing “sad,” saying:

It’s sort of sad that he’s so desperate for attention that he would talk trash about people like Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and others, when he’s the one whose behavior, kicking over chairs and throwing things, got so bad that it upset the cast and crew.

Not everything turned out poorly for those involved with the movie. Despite the challenges faced, the effort paid off for Brad Pitt. Both Legends of the Fall and Interview with the Vampire were released in 1994, catapulting Pitt to stardom by year’s end. Notably, the portrayal of Ludlow would go on to influence Channing Tatum in a movie that landed Pitt in an A+ cameo. Also, it remains one of Pitt’s most admired performances. 

Representatives for Ed Zwick and Brad Pitt have yet to reply to comments. Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions is set for release on February 12. Pitt’s upcoming movie projects include a reunion with fellow Ocean’s Eleven co-star George Clooney in the 2024 movie release Wolfs, which will eventually be available to Apple TV+ subscribers.

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