Brad Pitt tells us how to play a moron, while the Coen brothers find inspiration in Linda Tripp

Brad Pitt tells us how to play a moron, while the Coen brothers find inspiration in Linda Tripp

Brad Pitt strolled into the Burn After Reading press conference with coffee in hand, appearing like he had fallen from a bed. He looked adorably scruffy, with mischievous eyes and a perfectly chilled-out demeanour. Close behind were Bowie-esque powerhouse Tilda Swinton, the confidently cool Coen brothers and always-a-tad-eerie John Malkovich. Cameras fluttered in a tizzy of excitement that sounded like a hundred hummingbirds swarming around sweet nectar. Unfortunately, in this case, licking the bait (read: Brad) was off limits. Brad’s first statement: “And last question?” A roar of nervous laughter erupts from the press. No one seems to know where this press conference is headed. After the jump, more from Brad and the Coen brothers.

Burn After Reading is a story about dim-witted, middle-aged people leading vacuous lives who suddenly find themselves in the middle of a CIA scandal. Chasing and screwing each other, they spin a web of ridiculous mystery that brings much-desired sparks to their lives. So how does it feel to be written as a fool?

“I’m a fool? I don’t understand,” Pitt deadpans. Again with the laughter. “I’ve been knocking on the Coen brothers’ door for a few years, so I was really happy when they called. Then I read the piece and was a little upset again.” More laughter.

Because Pitt is typically cast as a hero with slick fighting moves and insane sex appeal, it’s peculiar and curious to watch him play the comical role he does in Burn After Reading. Chad is a dumb, gum-smacking, arm-flexing fitness instructor. Thinking he’s fallen into the biggest scandal since Watergate, Pitt’s character is akin to a child pumped up on Ritalin and running loose in Toys “R” Us—out of control yet endearing.

Asked his inspiration for knucklehead Chad, Pitt responds in all seriousness: “That was all me.” Ba-dum-ching. “I really don’t know; it’s a mystery even to me, and I’m somewhat disturbed by it all.”

Disturbing or not, Brad and Chad still make for great eye candy. No simpleton has ever looked sexier than this, snuggly packed into a pair of tight red gym shorts.

The film is set in Washington, D.C., and the Coen brothers admit that the characters are emulating real people. Without trepidation, they offer, “Linda Tripp…Donald Rumsfeld…”

“You really have to stop,” Brad reprimands with a smirk. They do stop, with a shrug and an expression that reads “whatever.” Nothing can shake this dynamite duo.

A reporter from the crowd pipes up with a half-baked comment-question: “There is a very dark undertone to this film, pessimistic-feeling, empty, vacuous and self-serving.”

“Yeah, well, yeah.” Ethan Coen says dryly.

Swinton, Pitt and Malkovich all weigh in on how “rock solid” the script is and commend the Coen brothers for having short shoot days and allowing so much laughter on the set. How envious are we of these brothers who have such a strong camaraderie, who never fail to impress us with their wit and brilliance. Further, they can pay their friends millions of dollars to come play with them for a few weeks—while getting paid millions of dollars themselves.

It’s official: we are forever in awe of and star-struck by this lineup of mega-talent.—Jen McNeely