Pitt was cast as an Irish Gypsy boxer with a barely intelligible accent in Guy Ritchie's 2000 gangster film Snatch. Several reviewers were critical of Snatch; however, most praised Pitt. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said Pitt was "ideally cast as an Irishman whose accent is so thick even Brits can't understand him", going on to say that, before Snatch, Pitt had been "shackled by roles that called for brooding introspection, but recently he has found his calling in black comic outrageousness and flashy extroversion;" while Amy Taubin of The Village Voice claimed that "Pitt gets maximum comic mileage out of a one-joke role". The following year Pitt starred opposite Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy The Mexican, a film that garnered a range of reviews but enjoyed box office success. Pitt's next role, in 2001's $143 million-grossing Cold War thriller Spy Game, was as Tom Bishop, an operative of the CIA's Special Activities Division, mentored by Robert Redford's character. Mark Holcomb of Salon.com enjoyed the film, although he noted that neither Pitt nor Redford provided "much of an emotional connection for the audience".
Pitt attended Kickapoo High School, where he was a member of the golf, swimming and tennis teams. He participated in the school's Key and Forensics clubs, in school debates, and in musicals. Following his graduation from high school, Pitt enrolled in the University of Missouri in 1982, majoring in journalism with a focus on advertising. As graduation approached, Pitt did not feel ready to settle down. He loved films—"a portal into different worlds for me"—and, since films were not made in Missouri, he decided to go to where they were made. Two weeks short of completing the coursework for a degree, Pitt left the university and moved to Los Angeles, where he took acting lessons and worked odd jobs. He has named his early acting heroes as Gary Oldman, Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke.More Info
While struggling to establish himself in Los Angeles, Pitt took lessons from acting coach Roy London. Pitt's acting career began in 1987, with uncredited parts in the films No Way Out (1987), No Man's Land (1987) and Less Than Zero (1987). In May 1987, his television debut came with a two-episode role on the NBC soap opera Another World. In November of the same year, Pitt had a guest appearance on the CBS sitcom Trial and Error and the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. He appeared in four episodes of the CBS primetime series Dallas between December 1987 and February 1988 as Randy, the boyfriend of Charlie Wade (played by Shalane McCall). Later in 1988, Pitt made a guest appearance on the Fox police drama 21 Jump Street. In the same year, the Yugoslavian–U.S. co-production The Dark Side of the Sun (1988) gave Pitt his first leading film role, as a young American taken by his family to the Adriatic to find a remedy for a skin condition. The film was shelved at the outbreak of the Croatian War of Independence, and was not released until 1997. Pitt made two motion picture appearances in 1989: the first in a supporting role in the comedy Happy Together; the second a featured role in the horror film Cutting Class, the first of Pitt's films to reach theaters. He made guest appearances on television series Head of the Class, Freddy's Nightmares, Thirtysomething, and (for a second time) Growing Pains.More Info
1994 marked a significant turning point in Pitt's career. Starring as the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac in the horror film Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, based on Anne Rice's 1976 novel of the same name, he was part of an ensemble cast that included Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas. Despite his winning two MTV Movie Awards at the 1995 ceremony, his performance was poorly received. According to the Dallas Observer, "Brad Pitt [...] is a large part of the problem [in the film]. When directors play up his cocky, hunkish, folksy side [...] he's a joy to watch. But there's nothing about him that suggests inner torment or even self-awareness, which makes him a boring Louis." Following the release of Interview with the Vampire, Pitt starred in Legends of the Fall (1994), based on a novel by the same name by Jim Harrison, set in the American West during the first four decades of the twentieth century. Portraying Tristan Ludlow, son of Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) a Cornish immigrant, Pitt received his first Golden Globe Award nomination, in the Best Actor category. Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas co-starred as Pitt's brothers. Although the film's reception was mixed, many film critics praised Pitt's performance. Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, "Pitt's diffident mix of acting and attitude works to such heartthrob perfection it's a shame the film's superficiality gets in his way." The Deseret News predicted that Legends of the Fall would solidify Pitt's reputation as a lead actor.More Info
In 1995, Pitt starred alongside Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow in the crime thriller Seven, playing a detective on the trail of a serial killer. Pitt called it a great movie and declared the part would expand his acting horizons. He expressed his intent to move on from "this 'pretty boy' thing [...] and play someone with flaws." His performance was critically well received, with Variety saying that it was screen acting at its best, further remarking on Pitt's ability to turn in a "determined, energetic, creditable job" as the detective. Seven earned $327 million at the international box office. Following the success of Seven, Pitt took a supporting role as Jeffrey Goines in Terry Gilliam's 1995 science-fiction film 12 Monkeys. The movie received predominantly positive reviews, with Pitt praised in particular. Janet Maslin of The New York Times called Twelve Monkeys "fierce and disturbing" and remarked on Pitt's "startlingly frenzied performance", concluding that he "electrifies Jeffrey with a weird magnetism that becomes important later in the film." He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film and received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.More Info
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