Heart­throb with heart

Brad Pitt has to save his screen fam­ily from flesh-eat­ing zom­bies in his lat­est film, World War Z. Shereen Low finds out why, in real life, the ac­tor would risk ev­ery­thing for his near­est and dear­est.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - CINEMA -

Fam­ily means ev­ery­thing to Brad Pitt. Once famed for be­ing the most at­trac­tive man on the planet, th­ese days he’s the A-list poster boy for fam­ily val­ues, and the de­voted dad-of-six is happy to ad­mit that he’s pri­ori­tis­ing his beloved brood ahead of ev­ery­thing else. In fact, it was his fi­ancee, An­gelina Jolie, who stole the lime­light at the UK pre­miere for Pitt’s lat­est film World War Z. The event was 38-year-old Jolie’s first red car­pet ap­pear­ance since re­veal­ing last month she’d un­der­gone a pre­ven­ta­tive dou­ble mas­tec­tomy af­ter dis­cov­er­ing she car­ried the “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which sharply in­creased her risk of de­vel­op­ing breast and ovar­ian can­cer. Her de­ci­sion to “go pub­lic” led to a huge out­pour­ing of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for the ac­tress - with Pitt lead­ing the praise. “She’s do­ing great,” the ac­tor and pro­ducer says to­day. “It’s busi­ness as usual and on to the next stage for us.” Jolie, whose own mother was 56 when she died of ovar­ian can­cer, un­der­went weeks of hos­pi­tal ap­point­ments, in­va­sive surgery and re­cov­ery dur­ing the early months of 2013, but the cou­ple are feel­ing pos­i­tive. “It doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, it can be em­pow­er­ing,” says Pitt of his fi­ancee’s surgery. “It’s been an emo­tional and beau­ti­fully in­spir­ing few months. It’s such a won­der­ful re­lief to come

through this.” Pitt’s trans­for­ma­tion from ladies’ man to fam­ily man is well and truly com­plete. Once en­gaged to Gwyneth Pal­trow, he mar­ried for­mer Friends ac­tress Jennifer Anis­ton in 2000, be­fore they split in 2005. It was ru­moured that his re­la­tion­ship with Jolie, whom he met on the set of Mr And Mrs Smith, caused the break-up, and while al­le­ga­tions of adul­tery were de­nied from both camps, Pitt and Jolie later ad­mit­ted they “fell in love” while work­ing on the film. The cou­ple are par­ents to three bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren - Shiloh, seven, and four-yearold twins Knox and Vivi­enne - and three adopted kids: Maddox, 11; Pax, nine and eight-year-old Za­hara. Pitt had his kids in mind when he signed up for zom­bie thriller World War Z, he says, par­tic­u­larly the two older boys. As well as star­ring in it, he pro­duced it through his pro­duc­tion com­pany, Plan B En­ter­tain­ment. “Th­ese zom­bies are scary as hell,” he says. “And the movie, I be­lieve, works on nu­mer­ous lev­els. But pri­mar­ily, it’s com­plete sum­mer fun and some­thing I wanted to do for my sons to en­joy.” In World War Z, di­rected by Marc Forster (Quan­tum Of So­lace) and based on Max Brooks’s post-apoc­a­lyp­tic hor­ror novel, Pitt plays for­mer United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tor Gerry Lane, tasked with hav­ing to save his fam­ily while try­ing to stop, the source of the epi­demic that’s turn­ing peo­ple into zom­bies. The ac­tor says play­ing some­one nor­mal, not a su­per­hero, ap­pealed. “Gerry can’t fly, he can’t beat up bad guys. He has no su­per pow­ers. He’s a dad, with a burn­ing need to keep his fam­ily safe. To do that, he can only rely on his in­tel­lect, his in­stincts and his ex­pe­ri­ence,” Pitt ex­plains. He has kind words for his on-screen wife Karen, played by Mireille Enos, who’s starred in the US ver­sion of The Killing. “Mireille is a bril­liant part­ner on set,” he says. “She can em­body the lov­ing­ness of the mother and flip to the fe­ro­cious­ness of the li­on­ess pro­tect­ing her young in an in­stant.” Pitt, who be­came a Hol­ly­wood heart­throb af­ter ap­pear­ing in Thelma And Louise in 1991, and later in films like Meet Joe Black and Fight Club, has re­ceived four Os­car nom­i­na­tions in his time, in­clud­ing two for 2011 drama Money­ball. His up­com­ing roles in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave and Ridley Scott’s The Coun­selor, are sure to bring him fur­ther ac­claim.

Mireille Enos as Karin and Brad Pitt as Ger­ald Lane in World War Z

An­gelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the world pre­miere of World War Z in Lon­don

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