A Pitt out of hell

In Good Look, Men, Op Ed. on December 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I’d first seen Michael Pitt  play an androgynous boy-wonder in Hedwig and the Angry Itch back in 2001. But that certainly wasn’t when my fascination with him began. Oh wait, now I remember. It was when I had read a cover story in the now-defunct indie publication Mass Appeal. It was 2008, and he was starring in the utterly disturbing American-remake of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. As far as I was concerned, he’d starred in a string of unforgettable roles, but this article convinced me to watch the film that seemed to propel some notoriety in his direction… The Dreamers.

Ah yes, The Dreamers. An über-hip hipster film set in late `60s Paris. Typical story, until incest is introduced. Along with homosexuality, innocence and ultimately, violence. But Pitt was at his best: beautiful, vulnerable, and completely vacant. And let’s not forget his bad singing courtesy of his band Pagoda. Oh, I can’t begin to imagine the drug and sex-fueled life of debauchery this man has lived. After Funny Games, which bombed at the box office, it almost seemed as though Pitt fell off. I missed him. Or, to put it correctly, I never forgot him. But with the help of his longtime compadre Steven  Buscemi and a Martin Scorsese-directed HBO series called Boardwalk Empire, it looks like Jimmy, or Mr. Pitt, has been given another chance at stardom.

Despite his poor choices when it comes to film, he has always been somewhat of a muse to the fashion world. He’s done a “fashion film,” for Yves Saint Laurent, or apart of some fashion-related project. You can’t help but wonder if this stems from the school of actors of the early `00s. The spill over of the grunge movement. A sea of beautiful – and in some ways depleted – and shallow actors who sat front-row at fashion weeks around the world, dated models, and made more money modeling despite the fact that their passion was for acting. They made the covers of Rolling Stone, they did countless independent films, they ran in troves and they were marvelous.

Mr. Pitt has been forced – in my opinion – into a very grown up place right now. But that mentality, the one that made him so beloved still remains. He’s not a modern James Dean, but had Warhol been alive, I don’t doubt he’d be a quintessential Factory boy.

Mr. Pitt has the potential to become iconic. And I say that earnestly. It will be interesting to see the direction his career takes the second time around.

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