Pinch us! We still can't quite believe we got to see Brad Pitt with our very own eyes when he stopped by Tokyo, Japan earlier this week to promote his latest movie 'War Machine'.
The Hollywood actor was joined by the film's writer and director David Michod as well as producers Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner at a press conference with Asian media.
The A-list actor plays General Glen McMahon in the satirical war film... and it's quite a different look compared to the Brad Pitt we're used to seeing on the big screen (or anywhere else, for that matter)
Sporting grey hair and a range of exaggerated facial expressions, Pitt's Glen McMahon is pretty much a comical caricature based on real-life US Army General Stanley McChrystal, a former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan whose military career came to an abrupt end following a Rolling Stone exposé by the late journalist Michael Hastings.
In fact, the premise of 'War Machine' is largely based on Hastings' New York Times bestseller, 'The Operators', chronicling the rise and fall of the ultra-confident McMahon.
Apparently, McMahon was deliberately made to look "silly" to represent the absurdity of war. Pitt even drew inspiration from director David Michôd for one of the character's most ridiculous quirks.
"General McMahon developed over many sessions with David. Truthfully, it just made us laugh the most. We wanted, from the get go and by design, to illuminate the absurdity of the machinery of war and we felt that it was best embodied in the absurdity of the general and that was the first springboard for us," Pitt explained at the press conference.
"But the running, specifically, was… he (David) first did the imitation, by the way. I’m imitating David but he does it much better. I think it speaks to the delusion of the character himself and he portrays and seems himself as an emblem of greatness and when actually he looks quite silly."
In a light-hearted moment, the actor also joked about starting a new trend with his character's ridiculously short running shorts
"I take full credit for the shorts. I dare everyone here. We’re going to start a new trend together. We unite."
Michôd chipped in, saying, "I’ll show you what you do. You get a pair of shorts. They’re slightly too big and you just pull them up as high as they’ll go."
Bizarre character aside, 'War Machine' does not seek to glorify war. Instead, the core of the story is focused on how "plain human delusion" led to the the longest and still ongoing war in US history.
"We - when I say we, I specifically mean the United States of American and Australia - have been at war in Afghanistan now for more than 16 years, and that in itself is terrifying. In all of the reading that I had been doing about this war, I couldn’t work out why it has been going on for so long and how it is possible that people - who I would assume are quite smart and capable - are still pretending as though there is some kind of victory waiting for them just around the corner," Michôd said.
"Then, these guys brought me a book called 'The Operators' by Michael Hastings, because what I saw at the centre of it was a character, a general who was kind of delusional because he was so removed. His ambition had seem him climb to the top of the ladder and removed him from the real world... removed him from the the experiences of the troops on the ground, and from the civilian world that he was there to serve. And so I started to see that at the root of this endless war was actually a kind of just plain human delusion."
"We start with the micro view of the general, but we then expand to the macro view of the whole machinery at large specifically for America," Pitt added.
"Of course we start with an absurd tone, but the film turns quite serious when we are dealing with the expense of young men and women, life and limb, great cost, civilian life. We wanted to ask questions like, 'What is winning?' 'What is our idea of winning?' 'Is our definition of winning even achievable?'
We really think it’s time to take a good look at our strategies and tactics instead of this business as usual climate or wheel we seem to find ourselves on. And that was the impetus for embarking on this journey for us."
We were at the red carpet premiere for the movie too! Check out our favourite Brad Pitt moments from the event (he's a total QT, you guys):
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