Last week, Fire Island star James Scully reminded us how earth-shatteringly beautiful Brad Pitt was in the 2004 historical epic, Troy. With the body of a Greek god—or, a Greek folk hero, rather—Pitt’s Achilles was pure “sexual awakening” material.
For Scully, like many baby gays of a certain age, Troy was one of those no-turning-back moments: “That was definitely a moment where I was like, ‘Yep. I am attracted to beautiful men, for sure,” the actor joked to Thrillist. “No more uncertainty about that.’”
“I guess you could argue that the abundance of mostly nude, hot men in that film makes it a little queer. How am I supposed to not be gay when this movie exists? What is my response to this scene with his naked butt supposed to be besides ‘I want to sleep with Brad Pitt’?”
We feel the same. And we’re not the only ones.
In any event, Scully’s comments had us curious about revisiting Troy—for a sexual re-awakening, if you will—but then we came across comments from Pitt himself in a recently resurfaced New York Times Magazine profile that reminded us: Oh, wait… Troy wasn’t very good. And no amount of abs can change that.
“I was disappointed in it,” the actor said bluntly.
Looking back on Pitt’s career, there’s a pretty noticeable shift in projects not too long after Troy was met with a hearty “meh” by critics and audiences (despite being a box office hit). It seems the Wolfgang Peterson-directed film scared him away from the more traditional blockbuster fare that had made him a star.
And while he’d remain a leading man, those roles more frequently came in the form of idiosyncratic, auteur-driven features, like Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, or Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life.
Reflecting on why he opted to do Troy in the first place, Pitt said the following:
When you’re trying to figure things out in your career, you get a lot of advice. People are telling you that you should be doing this, and other people are saying you should be doing that. There was this defining film I never got to do, a Coen Brothers film called ‘To the White Sea.’ We had an opportunity to go, and then it was shut down. Then another interesting opportunity arose, and instead I was talked into: ‘No, you need to be doing this other thing. You can get to your art project later.’ I ended up taking that advice.
In other words, it sounds like Pitt has a few regrets.
He went on to discuss a crucial realization he had while filming Troy: That sometimes being the “handsome leading man” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially for an actor who takes their craft seriously. Clearly, the camera loves him, but Pitt grew weary of being its central focus:
What am I trying to say about Troy? I could not get out of the middle of the frame. It was driving me crazy. I’d become spoiled working with David Fincher. It’s no slight on Wolfgang Petersen; Das Boot is one of the all-time great films. But somewhere in it, Troy became a commercial kind of thing. Every shot was like, ‘Here’s the hero!’ There was no mystery. So about that time I made a decision that I was only going to invest in quality stories, for lack of a better term. It was a distinct shift that led to the next decade of films.
Look, we understand Pitt’s disappointment—the movie’s a bit of a dud. The silver lining is, Troy lead to some soul searching that then lead to some of the best work of the actor’s career. And, as a consolation prize, Pitt’s given the gays a three-hour-plus movie where he shows plenty of skin, so it’s hard to complain!
We honestly never need to watch Troy again—but we’ll happily throw it on, hit that “mute” button, and enjoy the show…