Profile - Michael Pitt
Name Michael Pitt
Born 10 April 1981, West Orange, New Jersey
Background Having moved to New York City aged 16, studied drama, appeared on stage, and been talent-spotted for a part in the TV drama Dawson’s Creek, boyishly pretty Pitt wasted no time in establishing himself as an actor ready and willing to do extreme and distinctive films. His first two films of note were John Cameron Mitchell’s transsexual rock’n’roll musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Larry Clark’s Bully. Pitt’s big break came with Bernardo Bertolucci’s sexually explicit romantic drama, The Dreamers. Since then, he’s chosen to work with idiosyncratic filmmakers, most notably Gus Van Sant, who made Pitt’s favourite movie My Own Private Idaho and who directed him as a Kurt Cobain-alike musician in Last Days.
What’s he up to now? Pitt is currently working on Oliver Stone’s Vietnam My Lai massacre movie, Pinkville, and Abel Ferrara’s prequel to The King of New York, Pericle Il Nero. We’ll next see him playing a preppy serial killer in Michael Haneke’s English language, shot-for-shot remake of his chilling postmodern slasher, Funny Games.
What he says about Funny Games US ‘I watched the original, and it angered me because I thought it was horrible. But it’s really, really good. I met Michael and I knew this guy was going to make me a better actor. Some directors set up a scenario and see what happens, and then some directors make it happen exactly the way they want it. I was very open about not agreeing with Michael’s decision to do Funny Games US shot-for-shot. Now, having seen the film, I think it was the right thing to do. But it was no more enjoyable to make than it is for an audience to watch.’
Interesting fact The same year that he made The Dreamers, Pitt also played a character named Gopher in the John Holmes porn star biopic, Wonderland. Yet, all his scenes were cut. So no money shot.
Funny Games US is on selected release from Fri 4 Apr.