In his film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt plays a man–born 80 years old, who ages backwards into infancy. It’s a new take on the classic "fountain of youth" story–one the human race has obsessed over since the beginning of time. Pitt admits he’s also fallen victim.
"Once you hit 40, you start re-examining the math of it all," Pitt, who just turned 45, tells the Los Angeles Times. But he adds, "I’ll trade wisdom for youth any day."
Making the film also forced Pitt to examine the importance and fleetingness of love–something he seems full of these days.
"It’s a tragedy in the sense that any love involves loss, and that’s the risk you take," he says. "And the greater the love, the greater the loss. I certainly feel that now with the woman I’m with, and the children that I have. But whatever the course may be, this time together is extraordinary."
Pitt’s woman, of course, is Angelina Jolie. The unmarried but happily committed couple share parenting duties over six children. And while it could seem that he jumped head-first into fatherhood, Pitt says he wouldn’t trade it for the world, calling his current state of affairs, "the direction I always thought I would go in. But not until, with Angie, and it felt like a natural evoloution, a natural direction."
Pitt continues, "I had a whole other life and I got to experience a lot. And I probably got away with more than I should. And it kind of ran its course, you know, it kind of hit a dead end."
Friends who have witnessed the actor’s life over the past three years agree that the onetime Hollywood golden boy has matured into a wiser, more settled man.
"I think a lot of it has to do with his family," says Button director David Fincher. "It’s like he wants to cut to the chase and go at the thing, and get it and work it and play with it and then be done with it and live to act another day."
Pitt agrees that, as he has matured professionally, "I don’t have to grope as much for the character."
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"I can get there quicker, so it’s not as much trial and error," he says. "Also, as I get older, more experiences, I’m more fine-tuned in what I’m after, what I think speaks in the piece. And lastly I want to hurry and get home to my kids."
Now-a-days, Pitt says he spends more time with people who are older, rather than younger, and hopes people will take away a new respect for old age after seeing his film.
"You meet someone who is maybe in their 60s, 70s, even 80s, and you meet them as that person, anyone beyond the age of retirement, so to speak. And you seldom realize they had a whole life of experience. They were just as virile and ingenious and capable as you believe yourself to be."