'90s Rewind: Watch Early E! Interviews With Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith & More Rising Stars!

Celebrate E!'s 30th anniversary by looking back at interviews with '90s hunks like Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves!

By Allison Crist Jun 18, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Brad Pitt, Will Smith & More '90s Rising Stars: E! News Rewind

This June, E! turns 30! To celebrate we're looking back at the most monumental moments in pop culture.

As strange as it sounds, there was once a time when Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves weren't some of the biggest movie stars on the planet. Throughout the early 1990s, all four were just getting their start in both television and film.

In honor of E!'s 30th anniversary, we're reminiscing on some of the actors' earliest E! News interviews, where they dished on everything from their idols to their plans for the future (can you guess who said he was going to become a truck driver?). Watch the throwback clips in the above video!

First up is Brad Pitt, who does his best to give E! a shout-out, but ends up butchering the name. 

"They tell us you're watching E! channel television!" Brad said before someone off-camera corrects him. "Oh, well E! stands for entertainment...is that right?"

The actor was on the set of the 1990 television show Glory Days, which marked his last regular TV series role ever. He couldn't even say his character's name—Walker Lovejoy—without laughing.

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"Hey, I didn't name him!" Pitt said, cracking up. "I pleaded. But that's his name, anyways. We don't get to pick our names at birth, right?"

He's eventually asked whether or not he could've predicted he'd wind up an actor, to which he answered a hard "no."

"No, I had no idea really because I grew up in Missouri," he responded, pronouncing the state like "Missourah."

At that point in time, Pitt still wasn't confident in his acting career. He laughed at the idea of becoming a producer or director, and predicted he'd end up buying a semi and becoming a truck driver. 

Boy was he wrong!

Before we're able to start imagining films like Se7en and Inglorious Bastards without Brad Pitt, the E! clip delivers a young Will Smith, who's discussing how the iconic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came to be.

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At the time of the interview in 1991, Smith had only met Benny Medina—the producer and music manager who's life story inspired Fresh Prince—in recent months. 

"We sat down, we talked about the idea," Smith explained. "We decided that the man to steamroll this thing for us—you know, one of the strongest Black men in America—and he's sitting right beside me: the Q!"

Smith was, of course, referring to Quincy Jones. He said that the music legend "came in, took [Fresh Prince] to NBC, pitched it, pushed us through and everything, and it went from concept to pilot in about 13-14 weeks." (Jones argued it was closer to just 10 weeks!)

Once production on Fresh Prince began, Smith revealed he was able to "pretty much do all my dialogue," in addition to having periodic meetings with the writers to brainstorm ideas.

According to Smith, some saw his commitment to the show and work in general as too much.

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"I'm just young," he noted. "People talk about, oh, I need a rest. I don't a rest. You rest when you're 70."

Smith continued, "My father, you know, he owned his own business and he always taught us, work. You can't do nothing sitting around. I'm 21 years old, what I need rest for?"

Around the same time as the launch of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, another young actor was embarking on his first recurring television role: Leonardo DiCaprio.

He played Garry Buckman in the 1990 series Parenthood, and in the E! throwback interview, the 16-year-old expressed his wish that his two favorite actors—Joe Pesci and Jack Nicholson—would tune into the show.

DiCaprio seemed to have already mastered the art of the interview, saying, "I like to act. I think it will get me ahead in life, you know, starting at such a young age. And I like the attention, I must admit. I like the attention!"

He added, "And I like to be interviewed like this!"

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The same didn't appear to apply to Keanu Reeves, who's shown in the E! clip on the set of the 1991 film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey alongside his co-star Alex Winter.

With his long locks covering his face, he told the interviewer that all he looks for in a project is "a good part and a good story."

"...then cool," Reeves said shyly. "Let's do it."

However, after talking about some of his previous roles—dating back to John Proctor in a high school production of The Crucible—Reeves opened up a bit more with some help from Winter. The two, who remain good friends to this day, seemed to be in their own world while laughing and going back-and-forth.

Watch all of the interviews in the video up top!