Brad Pitt doesn't have much in common in the way of childrearing as his character in The Tree of Life. And thank god for that.
Pitt stars in the Terrence Malick-directed flick as a disciplinarian and sometimes abusive father of three young boys in 1950s Middle America. Jessica Chastain costars as his homemaker wife...
"I certainly don't raise my kids that same way," Pitt told me at last night's Tree of Life premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "I'm painfully aware that my actions have an indelible mark on them in these formative years.
"I make sure I don't bring my crap home," he continued. "I want to keep them free. I want them to explore that innocence as long as possible and find out what's interesting to them. I just don't want to encumber them in any way."
It sounds like that fatherly instinct came in handy while filming scenes in which he lashes out at his sons, played by newcomers Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan.
"We had to be careful because these are young boys and you don't to scar them in the process, so it was explained to them ahead of time who I was playing and they knew it was coming, but they didn't know when it was coming," Pitt said. "So in between we made sure we had a lot of time of every day life, throwing the ball around, riding bikes. I think everyone got through it unscathed."
Pitt also told me he decided to appear in the upcoming animated film Happy Feet 2 in 3D for—why else?—his and Angelina Jolie's kids.
He smiled, "Happy Feet is in heavy rotation in our house so it was a must."