GOSSIP & RUMORS: Brad Pitt was ‘volatile’ on ‘Legends of the Fall’ set, director Ed Zwick claims in new book
Brad Pitt has been accused of displaying “volatile” behavior on the set of his 1994 western “Legends of the Fall.”
The film’s director, Ed Zwick, claimed in his new memoir, “Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood,” that the Oscar-winning actor would often get “edgy” ahead of a scene that required him to show “deep emotion.”
“I don’t know who yelled first, who swore, or who threw the first chair. Me, maybe? But when we looked up, the crew had disappeared. And this wasn’t the last time it happened,” he wrote in his book, according to an excerpt published by Vanity Fair.
The Oscar-winning director, 71, claimed the “Fight Club” actor “can be volatile when riled,” and was cast in the role of Tristan Ludlow after Tom Cruise dropped out.
Zwick claims Pitt’s agent called him after the first table read saying “Brad wanted to quit,” prompting producer Marshall Herskovitz to convince him to stay.
“It was the first augury of the deeper springs of emotion roiling inside Brad. He seems easygoing at first, but he can be volatile when riled, as I was to be reminded more than once as shooting began and we took each other’s measure,” Zwick wrote.
“Sometimes, no matter how experienced or sensitive you are as a director, things just aren’t working. His ideas about Tristan differed from mine.”
He continued, “Brad had grown up with men who held their emotions in check; I believed the point of the [Legends of the Fall] novel was that a man’s life was the sum of his griefs… Yet the more I pushed Brad to reveal himself, the more he resisted. So, I kept pushing and Brad pushed back.”
Zwick recalled giving Pitt a direction in front of crew members on the set, which Pitt allegedly did not appreciate.
“Brad came back at me, also out loud, telling me to back off,” the “Last Samurai” director claimed.
“The considered move would have been to tell the crew to take five and for the two of us to talk it out. But I was feeling bloody-minded, and not about to relent.”
“I was angry at Brad for not trusting me to influence his performance. Also for the reluctance he’d shown after the first table read. Who knows, I might even have been acting out my own inability to be vulnerable,” Zwick continued.
“But Brad wasn’t about to give in without a fight. In his defense, I was pushing him to do something he felt was either wrong for the character, or more “emo” than he wanted to appear onscreen.”
Zwick details one instance where Pitt allegedly raised his voice and threw chairs in frustration.
“Eventually the crew grew accustomed to our dustups and would walk away and let us have it out. ‘We hate it when the parents fight,’ said one,” he wrote, adding that they would often “blow up” at each other.
Zwick, however, described Pitt as a “forthright, straightforward person, fun to be with and capable of great joy.”
“He was never anything less than fully committed to doing his best,” he added.
The Post has reached out to Pitt’s reps for comment.
In addition to Pitt, the hit 1994 film starred Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, and Henry Thomas.
The film received three Academy Award nominations and scooped the gong for cinematography.