Director Gave Brad Pitt Nicotine Withdrawal To Act More Authentic That Helped Nab Actor’s First Oscar Nomination

The actor had to play the role of a motormouthed mentally ill patient.

Director Gave Brad Pitt Nicotine Withdrawal To Act More Authentic That Helped Nab Actor’s First Oscar Nomination

SUMMARY

  • Actor Brad Pitt starred as the motormouthed Jeffrey Goines in the sci-fi film 12 Monkeys.
  • He received his first Oscar nomination for the role.
  • Director Terry Gilliam revealed that he took away Pitt’s cigarettes to allow him to give a chaotic performance in the film.
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Brad Pitt rose to international stardom with the sci-fi film 12 Monkeys. The actor received his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film. Pitt played the role of Jeffrey Goines, a mentally ill patient who is admitted along with Bruce Willis’ James Cole in the Terry Gilliam directorial.

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While Pitt is a well-known actor now, proving his dramatic chops in films like Babel, Seven, and The Tree of Life, his reputation was that of a laid-back actor at the time of filming 12 Monkeys. Hence, director Terry Gilliam had a tactic to get him to perform as the on-his-toes, motormouth character Jeffrey Goines.

Also read:“The work is done, end of story”: Brad Pitt Denied His Insulting Comment Towards Tom Cruise for a 14 Year Old Grudge

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Casting Brad Pitt For 12 Monkeys

Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys
Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys

The sci-fi film 12 Monkeys was reportedly inspired by a French short film by Chris Harker called La Jetée. The film was reportedly offered to Terry Gilliam after multiple directors passed on the project. Gilliam has just shelved his adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities and then decided to take on the project.

Gilliam mentioned that many big stars were considered for the part as he was an in-demand director at the time. He said in an interview with Inverse,

“The pressure was to get a movie star in. That was at a time when I was still a hot director, so people wanted to come near me and touch me. So they were coming up with all these names. And I just kept saying no. Tom Cruise, Nic Cage, they were all being thrown at me.”

Also read: Jennifer Aniston Strongly Denied Cheating on Brad Pitt With Her FRIENDS Co-star on the Set

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Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam

The director finally zeroed in on Bruce Willis, despite not liking his action-star persona. He also convinced the actor to take a pay cut due to Universal Pictures cutting the budget on the film. Gilliam mentioned that he was initially scared that Brad Pitt might not be able to pull off the motormouth role of Jeffrey Goines. He said,

“Brad [Pitt] came to London, and we had dinner because he was keen to get on board to play the part that I had already given to Bruce. I was actually scared shitless that Brad might not be able to do the character because up to then we’d never seen him as a motormouth.”

The legendary director reportedly used a bunch of techniques to get the actors into character and give their best for the role.

Also read:“He’s truly sorry”: Brad Pitt Reportedly Gives Up Amid Long Ugly Battle With Angelina Jolie, Wants Peace With Ex-wife Because of One Reason

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Terry Gilliam Took Away Brad Pitt’s Cigarettes To Make Him Perform Better

Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys
Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys

Director Terry Gilliam was known to be a taskmaster on set and he was fresh off the success of films such as Brazil and The Fisher King. He convinced Bruce Willis to come to the set without his entourage and reportedly also put Brad Pitt in touch with a speech coach to help him get the pattern of Jeffrey Goines right.

Gilliam credited Brad Pitt for working very hard on the film. However, the director was still skeptical about Pitt being able to handle the chaotic energy of Goines. In an interview with Inverse, he said,

“I put [Brad] together with Stephen Bridgewater, who had worked with Jeff Bridges on The Fisher King…But he worked his a*s off; he really did…Bridgewater was working with Brad daily. He was like a coach. And I think at a certain point, he decided that day he didn’t need Stephen. It was a terrible day because Brad was not getting it right, and he knew it, which made it worse.”

Hence, Gilliam reportedly decided to add his own method of chaos to the actor’s process. He reportedly took away his cigarettes, which put Pitt into intense withdrawal, ultimately eliciting a phenomenal performance from the actor. The method seems to have worked as Brad Pitt gained his first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film.

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Also read:“He stood up for it publicly in a room”: Brad Pitt Owes One of His Most Underrated Roles to Tom Cruise Despite Trying to Humiliate Him in Public

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Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 972

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.