INTERVIEWER: You just have to get slowly pot committed. You talked about playing a character from birth to death. Not a common thing to be able to do. Was it challenging, interesting, unusual in any way, or did you just look at it like any other part?
PITT: No, I mean, I really, I mean, other than keeping a track of the math or attempting to, because it was in reverse order, age versus experience. But, it was more about the subject matter and talking about what we wanted this to be, what we didn"t want it to be. Finch early on described it as a movie about a man"s life and the people who make dents in it along the way, the people who have a lasting impression. And he also talked about what it wouldn"t be, and that was the ballad of codependency. We weren"t gonna go down that road, we wanted to give more to an audience and I that meant a lot to me.
PITT : So, that was the focus, to answer your question for me, of... Or the interpretation. A lot a lot of the scenes for Benjamin are a reaction to those people who leave dents in him. And we wanted that, it was more important, the focus of, “What it is that interpretation, and how does that then shape him?"
MALE INTERVIEWER: Yeah, it seems like... It could possibly turn into a more reactive character. I don"t think he is, actually. I think he"s the guy that volunteers to--
PITT : Well, I... “Reactive" sounds... He"s not...
MALE INTERVIEWER: (overlaps) He, he volunteers to join the tug boat. He volunteers to become the cook. So, I mean, he"s, he"s in there.
PITT : Yeah in a sense. But it"s, I guess it"s... Of course and there"s that responsibility for decisions. I often ponder where is that that line of fate and that line of self-creation. I"m not sure where it is. It just seemed to constantly be moving. But, um...
BLANCHETT : It"s I think it"s often a a misconception with characters in stories and certainly in films, 'cause we can take them so literally, is that a character arrives fully formed. But what is unique about Benjamin, which is, and true to life, is that we become who we are. And what you witness is you watch the process of Benjamin becoming through experience. And...
PITT: And the choices we make from those experiences, yeah?
BLANCHETT: Yeah. Yeah.
MALE INTERVIEWER: Major difference, too, from the story, where he comes out as a fully-formed adult man. In the short story, right? Doesn"t he? And then, but in...
FINCHER: Well, I"m glad I never read it. Yes, he does, as a matter of fact.
BLANCHETT: Isn"t that Mork & Mindy?
FINCHER: Yes, it actually is.
PITT : It is, isn"t it?
FINCHER: But that was after they jumped the shark, so I didn"t, that was, so whole part of this...
FINCHER: That was the, the last lean years...
MALE INTERVIEWER: Um, you were talking about the dents that people make on him like what... You described him as a cue ball?
FINCHER: Yeah. You know... I wanted to make a movie about a guy"s life in terms of who, who the people that he collided with and, and the marks that they left on him.
MALE INTERVIEWER: So I guess, we should address some of who those other balls on the table are, some of the other side characters and who played them, you think? Do we wanna get into that? I don"t know.
PITT: Sure. We, it"s...
PITT: We had the luxury of a fantastic cast. And I know you"re supposed to say that every movie, but we did.
BLANCHETT: I just, I find Taraji, absolutely heartbreaking in this film. I just think she"s like an open book.
PITT: Taraji, uh, Henson plays the mother figure of Benjamin. Jason Flemyng plays the father. He"s fantastic.
FINCHER: The abandoning father.
BLANCHETT: And Tilda, Tilda Swinton.
PITT: Uh-huh. Plays his, his first, uh...
MALE INTERVIEWER: First love.
PITT: ...love affair. Uh, Julia Ormond plays a daughter...
BLANCHETT: I mean, I think that—Yeah.
PITT: ...who I worked with some years ago. Who am I missing? Jared Harris.
FINCHER: Jared Harris.
PITT: Plays Captain Mike.
FINCHER: Mahershalalhashbaz Ali.
PITT: Yeah, kind of a substitute father figure.
MALE INTERVIEWER: How long did it take for you memorize that name?
FINCHER: It only took me about nine months to be able to pronounce that.
FINCHER: M. Ali.
PITT: The beloved Mr. Weathers.
End of interview with Brad Pitt