Legends of the Fall director remembers “volatile” shoot with Brad Pitt; disputed by others

After Edward Zwick labeled Brad Pitt “volatile”, a source fired back with stories of the director’s own violent behavior.

brad pitt legends of the fall

Edward Zwick hasn’t released a film since 2018 but he is back in the news for calling out Brad Pitt for “volatile” behavior on the set of 1994’s Legends of the Fall, the movie that helped launch the actor into superstardom. Now, a source close to the production has come forward to try to dispel Zwick’s recollections of the events, even calling the director a publicity hound.

In Zwick’s upcoming book, “Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood”, the director recalled a scenario in which Pitt showed “discomfort” and later the aforementioned “volatile” nature.  “Days before shooting, we held a table read. Given the script’s dependence on narration and visuals, it didn’t play very well in the sterile conference room. I could see Brad’s growing discomfort as it went on. Hours afterward, his agent called the studio to say Brad wanted to quit. It fell to Marshall [Herskovitz, producer] to talk Brad off the ledge. It was never mentioned again, but it was the first augury of the deeper springs of emotion roiling inside Brad. He seems easygoing at first, but he can be volatile when riled, as I was to be reminded more than once as shooting began and we took each other’s measure.”

But as the source told People, “[Zwick and Pitt] had disagreements…But Brad was not volatile.” They added that Zwick was the one whose temperament was on display on set, “It’s sort of sad that [Zwick’s] so desperate for attention that he would talk trash about people like Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and others, when he’s the one whose behavior, kicking over chairs and throwing things, got so bad that it upset the cast and crew.”

In the book (an excerpt of which was published in Vanity Fair), Zwick noted that their clashes were never personal and always meant to be seen under the lens of professionalism. Still, Zwick did remember Pitt barking back on one specific occasion. “I kept pushing and Brad pushed back. One afternoon I started giving him direction out loud in front of the crew—a stupid, shaming provocation—and Brad came back at me, also out loud, telling me to back off.” That’s actually quite amusing considering Pitt once told his Legends of the Fall co-star Anthony Hopkins he felt “pretty free” making the movie.

Edward Zwick is currently tied to co-write Stephen King adaptation Billy Summers, while Brad Pitt is lined up for Quentin Tarantino’s final film, The Movie Critic.

What do you make of the Legends of the Fall production stories? Whose side are you more likely to take the side of over the claims: Edward Zwick or Brad Pitt?

Source: People, Vanity Fair

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.