The Picture of William Bradley Pitt

INT. BRAD PITT’S FANCY KITCHEN.

BRAD makes matcha tea as a JOURNALIST from GQ interviews him. His old bulldog, Jacques, snores in the corner.

JOURNALIST: Now, let’s start at the very beginning, Brad. How did you know that you wanted to be an actor?

BRAD: It’s sad, really.

JOURNALIST: What’s sad, Brad?

Brad reaches into his pocket and pulls out an old photo of himself. He looks at it fondly.

BRAD: Oh, how rugged and handsome I once was. Those were the golden years…

JOURNALIST: Um, how old were you, Brad?

BRAD (looking at the picture): The year was 1991. Operation Desert Sabre was in full swing. The Dow Jones topped 3,000 for the first time in history. The world was shocked to find out that Mike Tyson wasn’t always a “gentleman” with the ladies. The Minnesota Twins won the World Series Championship. Across the United States, you could hear every tween singing (Everything I Do) I Do It For You while eye-fucking the dashing young Kevin Costner in his Robin Hood tights. Color Me Badd had just —

JOURNALIST: You know, Brad, I’m sorry to interrupt but I believe that we’re getting slightly off topic here.

BRAD: Oh, I’m sorry. Please continue.

JOURNALIST: No worries. Maybe we should continue with a different question.

BRAD: Shoot.

JOURNALIST: How did it feel to play the hunk in Thelma and Louise? Wasn’t that exciting?

BRAD: No.

JOURNALIST: No!? But wasn’t it fun to work with Susan Sarandon? I’ve heard she’s —

BRAD
No. I mean “shoot”. This photo was taken at a photo shoot in Malibu. (daydreaming) The air was crisp and my long brown hair was blowing in the wind. I was invincible then. The hottest Hollywood hunk to grace this ugly planet.

JOURNALIST: Yes, Brad. You were quite the stud. Anyway, how does it feel to finally find sobriety? You must be healthier and happier these days.

BRAD: No.

JOURNALIST: What do you mean “no”? You aren’t doing better? Is it because of the divorce with Angelina? The loss of your adopted children? The FBI investigation?

BRAD: What? No, no. Of course not. As I was watching myself in Allied I became fixated on something quite unpleasant.

JOURNALIST: You mean the horrific experiences of the soldiers in North Africa during the Second World War?

BRAD: No no no. A wrinkle. I noticed a wrinkle on my face.

JOURNALIST (chuckling): Well, I don’t have to tell you this Brad, but even the most beautiful among us notice wrinkles as we age.

BRAD: (dead serious) No! Everyone doesn’t get wrinkles. I wasn’t supposed to. I had devised a plan early on in my career.

JOURNALIST: What do you mean?

Immersed in his photo, Brad has stopped listening.

BRAD (to himself): But you, my wonderful picture…you will remain young and vibrant until the end of days! Never again shall I have to worry about growing old.

JOURANLIST: “Shall”?

BRAD: You see, I have Benjamin Buttoned myself for the rest of my life. By painting my newly formed wrinkles onto this 1991 photograph, I have ensured that I will never age. Meanwhile, the picture will grow old and die. Fuck that picture.

JOURNALIST: Why don’t we steer away from your photo for the moment. What happened on your private jet with your son, Maddox? Why did Angelina immediately request a restraining order when you all landed?

BRAD: He tried to wrestle my photo from my hands.

JOURNALIST: What do you mean?

BRAD: I mean, that little asshole tried to take my Dorian Grey photo away from me! My own adopted son! He was blathering on about how I “only have a relationship with the photo” and I “care more about beauty than art” and when we have family dinners, I “try to feed the photo.” I had to save my self- portrait before my son burned it with his lighter.

JOURNALIST
This is all very interesting, Brad, but…so how is your dog doing these days, Brad? He looks like he’s having trouble breathing over there.

BRAD: Yeah, Jacques is having a tough time.

JOURNALIST: Is he sick? Does he have cancer? Heart problems?

BRAD: No no no. You see, he got his portrait all backwards. Stupid dog.

The journalist notices an easel covered by a tarp, walks over over and pulls it off. It’s a recent photo of Jacques, in the same position as he is now.

The dog raises his head slightly.

DOG: Huuuuuh?

BLACK OUT.

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Flannery has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She teaches French, Italian, and visual media. Her book on Taiwanese cinema can be found on Amazon.

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