If you turn on your television and just happen to catch an ad for the newest Brad Pitt film, “Killing Them Softly,” it should look like a fairly familiar movie. There’s a tough guy (Pitt) who has to find the people responsible for robbing a mob-staked card game. A normal crime movie, right? Not quite.
It’s really about the economy.
While that doesn’t necessarily sound like the thrilling mafia picture you’re expecting, it’s actually much better. “Killing Them Softly” comes from Pitt’s “Assassination of Jesse James” director Andrew Dominik and is based on the book “Cogan’s Trade” by legendary crime author George V. Higgins, and there has not been an angrier movie made about America post-recession.
MTV News’ Josh Horowitz caught up with Pitt to discuss the politics of “Killing Them Softly,” whether he plans to work with David Fincher again and what he thought of all your Chanel ad jokes.
MTV: Shouldn’t you be fighting zombies [on the set of “World War Z” ] right now instead of talking to me?
Pitt: I actually am. I literally wrapped Sunday. Working Sunday, got on a plane, got here this morning.
MTV: So you’re done now? You’ve killed all of the zombies?
Pitt: No, I’ve got another week, so I got to get back on the red eye, land and go straight to set to fight more zombies.
MTV: A zombie killer’s job is never done.
Pitt: It’s a dirty business.
MTV: It strikes that you’ve worked with a couple filmmakers repeatedly, obviously Fincher, Soderbergh and Andrew. Is there a common denominator of filmmakers you keep going back to?
Pitt: Certainly one, great skills with the camera, with the frame. More importantly, all having a distinct point of view with a specific voice and what they’re telling me. They know exactly what they’re after. You need that at the helm. You need for the film to have some kind of impact, needs to have that weight behind it.
MTV: It’s fascinating for somebody when they sit down to watch this film, it’s a very unusual film in that it works on multiple levels, and that other level is certainly is in the foreground and the background at different times in terms of the economic collapse that’s going on. Are you somebody that talks back to the TV during something like that in 2008, when the economy is going to hell, someone that really gets into it, or can you bottle that up and channel it?
Pitt: What do you mean? At the time?
MTV: At the time. I’m curious. Not during the making of the film.
Pitt: Yeah, I’ve certainly suffered from audience participation when watching the news.
MTV: Is that something that excited you in terms of the way that Andrew was going to weigh in?
Pitt: It’s absolutely that in that it’s an undercurrent to the film. We think we’re watching a crime drama, and it is a crime drama on the surface and entertaining on those levels. It’s being sold that way, but there is this undercurrent to the film that I think speaks to our time specifically, as one view point of what we just come through and not completely through and a warning for the future in some way, and it doesn’t crystalize until the very last line in the film.
MTV: Then you have to watch the film all over again.
Pitt: Then you go, “That’s what it was about.” I find that a rather grand design.
MTV: I mentioned Fincher at the outset. Are you two going to get back together for “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”?
Pitt: We would love to. He’s my man.
MTV: Him doing that kind of a film is also very intriguing to me.
Pitt: He’s got a great take on it. That’s just going to be about schedule and time allocation, but he’s my man.
MTV: Were you surprised about the reception to the Chanel ads, that people had some fun with it?
Pitt: Man, fair play.
MTV: All good?
Pitt: Yeah, fair play.
“Killing Them Softly” opens in theaters Friday.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Killing Them Softly.”