Brad Pitt is now in Venice in support of Ad Astra which will have its world premiere at the festival this week. Brad’s had a good summer so far. Once Upon a Time Hollywood was a success. He was, to me, the best part of the film. And he is considered to be a strong contender for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Expect to see Brad through award season – at the Golden Globes for sure, because there’s no way the Hollywood Foreign Press Association won’t want him there. Brad’s chances look so solid, it doesn’t matter what happens with Ad Astra. Bonus if the film is well-received, but even if it crashes and burns, it shouldn’t affect Brad’s chances.

Not that they shouldn’t try to make it a success. That’s why they’re in Venice, that’s why they’re pushing it. Director James Gray is doing some press now in Venice and was asked about working with Brad and why he cast him in the role. He told The Hollywood Reporter that:

“I thought about a very retro, almost 1960s idea of the all-American astronaut. The idea was to break down the myth of what it means to be traditionally masculine, macho. And the only way you can really break down the myth is to start with the myth. There's this whole mythology that comes along with [Pitt], and that's what you can play with.”

It’s true. There is a mythology that comes with Brad Pitt. For three decades now he’s been the all-American masculine ideal – the hair, the face, the body, the romances, the mystery, the myth. Reading James Gray describing his lead character this way, it’s the first time I’ve been interested in Ad Astra and what the film might be interrogating and how he’ll “break down the myth of what it means to be traditionally masculine” through Brad Pitt. 

There’s another layer to that too. Remember a couple of months ago, there were thoe losers who were trying to put on the Straight Pride Parade made Brad their mascot and put his face on the website? He shut it down, issuing a cease and desist on using his likeness to promote their homophobia. That f-cksh-t is what some might call “traditionally masculine, macho”. So it’ll be interesting if James and Brad, through their art, are challenging the position of the people, like those parade organisers, and their view of what it is to be a man. 

In other Brad-related news, Angelina Jolie dropped off their oldest child Maddox at university in South Korea last week. She was asked about it while promoting Maleficent and Marvel’s The Eternals at D23 the other day. Anyone else curious how Brad feels now having a college-aged kid?