Brad Pitt Asks Astronaut: Who Was Better? Clooney or Pitt?

Brad Pitt Asks Astronaut: Who Was Better? Clooney or Pitt?
Brad Pitt, left, star of the new space movie “Ad Astra,” speaks from NASA headquarters in Washington, on Sept. 16, 2019. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—Brad Pitt, star of the new space movie “Ad Astra,” had a burning question for a real-life astronaut.

“Who was more believable? Clooney or Pitt?”

46th AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient George Clooney attends American Film Institute's 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney at Dolby Theatre on June 7, 2018 in Hollywood, Calif. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
46th AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient George Clooney attends American Film Institute’s 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney at Dolby Theatre on June 7, 2018 in Hollywood, Calif. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Brad Pitt attends the UK Premiere of "Allied
Brad Pitt attends the UK Premiere of “Allied” at Odeon Leicester Square in London, England on Nov. 21, 2016. (Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

In a call Monday, NASA astronaut Nick Hague answered Pitt — “absolutely” — getting a big laugh. Pitt’s Hollywood pal George Clooney starred in the 2013 space film “Gravity.”

The International Space Station crew previewed “Ad Astra” a few weeks ago. The movie opens Friday.

Besides starring, Pitt also produced the film which he said was one of the most challenging things he’s ever done. Not only did he and Gray use primarily practical sets (he laughed that he and friend George Clooney “exchanged some discomfort stories” about the strings and rigs used to simulate anti-gravity in space films) but it’s an emotionally taxing role as well.

Pitt had to draw on personal pains and wounds to make his performance as honest as possible. Gray, who has been a friend of Pitt’s for 25 years, would send him emails every day revealing ideas from his own life that would help set the tone for whatever was needed for that particular day on set.

“We don’t have a normal male relationship, we’ve always been quite open about our foibles and had big laughs at our embarrassing moments and (been) open about our feelings about our perceived failures or missteps,” Pitt said. “It was a really unique experience.”

“I just want to get this film out,” Pitt said. “It’s a challenging film. It’s subtle and it’s operating on many cylinders and it has something to say about who we are, the soul, why we hang on, what’s our purpose? I’m curious to see where it lands. ”

Pitt portrays an astronaut who travels through the solar system to find his father. The film includes actual NASA shots of the moon and of Mars. Hague praised the zero-gravity depictions.

Pitt noted the movie’s spaceship was “a bit cleaner” than the station. He also wondered “who controls the jam box?” Hague’s answer — the six astronauts take turns.

By Marcia Dunn

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