My best Brad Pitt story

This morning’s news about Brad and Angie getting married made me smile. I still feel a little proprietary about them. For a few years, Brad Pitt was attached to play the lead in a Warner Brothers production of The Sparrow. He was, reportedly, passionate about the book and I was told he gave copies of it to friends for Christmas one year.

I never spoke to Mr. Pitt directly, but I came close in 2009 when I got a call from the producer Nick Wechsler. “Brad is in New York for the opening of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’,” Nick told me. “He’d like to bring you to the city on Thursday to talk about The Sparrow.”

When I got this call, I was in a big rented ocean-front house on Folly Beach, just south of Charleston, S.C. “Nick,” I said, “Don and I are on vacation with our son and daughter-in-law. This is the first vacation my husband and I have had in years. We’re only here for a week. If I fly up to New York for a Thursday meeting, I’ll miss most of the time we’ve got left. Can we change the date? Maybe push it to next week?”

Nick said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Goggle-eyed, I went downstairs and told my family what was going on. “Talk about chutzpah! I just asked Brad Pitt to change his schedule for me.”

When my daughter-in-law stopped squealing, my son looked around and said, “It’s a big house. Tell him to bring Angie and the kids down here after the opening. We’ll put them up for the weekend!”

About an hour later, Nick called back to say that Brad would only be in New York overnight before leaving the country again. “Are you sure you can’t take a day for this? Brad would love to talk to you.”

“No,” I said. “I really need this time with my husband.”

“Well, we’ll see if we can make this work another time.”

“That would be lovely,” I said. “Give Mr. Pitt my best.”

Then I went downstairs and told everybody what just happened. My daughter-in-law looked at my husband and asked, “Do you know what just happened? Your wife just blew off Brad Pitt for YOU.”

As it happened, Mr. Pitt held the rights to two SF novels at the time and he ended up making “World War Z” instead of “The Sparrow.” Maybe if I’d gone to New York, things would have turned out differently, but I have no regrets. I haven’t read World War Z, but heard that the movie was only vaguely reminiscent of the novel it was based on, so maybe it’s just as well that The Sparrow remains a good book instead of a so-so movie. And it really was a wonderful vacation.

As for the Jolie-Pitt newlyweds, I wish them what Don and I wished for our son and daughter-in-law when they got married seven years ago. “May you be as happy as we are when you’ve been married as long as we have.” Next week is our 44th anniversary, and life just doesn’t get much better than what Don and I have had together.







14 thoughts on “My best Brad Pitt story”

  1. If that don’t beat all!

    Maybe if you’d spent 44 years accelerated to 0.95 of light speed, you’d still be around 20 or so. Congratulations, Maryann and I just passed 32. By the way, her book club is going over “Skeletons at the Feast” at our house this month. The story is vaguely similar to “Thread of Grace”.

  2. I love that story 🙂 It speaks to the fact that you really understand what is important in life, Mary. And frankly, I think a slash job on The Sparrow might have done irreparable damage to my psyche, because I love that book so much. I would rather never see a mediocre movie treatment of it. I still read it regularly 2-3 times a year. I feel like Emilio is an older brother/mentor sometimes. I find myself in difficult situations asking myself “What would Sandoz do?”

    Great story though 🙂 You blew off Brad Pitt for your husband and family…I love that 🙂

  3. Wow! But you know what? I’m with you. Not a huge Brad fan myself, so I’d choose my hubby over him, too. And not sure I can see Brad in The Sparrow. Then again, they had Tom Cruise play Jack Reacher, and that was a stretch. Hollywood has it’s own rules, and hopefully when they DO make the movie, they’ll have a closer representation. It took Diana Gabaldon more than 20 years to get Outlander made (and then as a series!), but I think they got that right.

  4. It’s only when your partner and your progeny are your priority that you can have such a wonderful life. Your not getting taken up by such things as brushes with fame and being content with daily life with family as it unfolded is what has made room for happiness over the course of time.

    What a wonderful story to exemplify this reality!

  5. Hahaha! I follow Brad and Angelina, too… but this interests me more, a quotation from your blog, almost four years ago… ‘From the beginning, readers have said that The Sparrow is very cinematic. People in Hollywood thought so, too. Producer Nick Wechsler came close to doing a movie adaptation twice, first with Antonio Banderas at Universal Pictures and most recently with Brad Pitt at Warner Brothers. The adaptations for both studios were variations on a large-scale, big budget action-adventure that Nick called “Lawrence of Rakhat.” Eventually both studios decided against the project.’ ANTONIO BANDERAS??

  6. What a sweet story! One thing I have always loved about the Sparrow is the marriage of George and Anne. So caring and the humor is perfect.

  7. Oh my – this gives me the vapors! What if the Pitts had gotten their hands on The Sparrow and done to it what he did to WWZ?! Nononono. He is gorgeous and all – but he ruined WWZ (you really should read it – it is terrific.) I am scared to death to find out what AJ did to Unbroken.
    Meanwhile, count your blessings and turn your sights to Javier Bardem for The Sparrow! Dedos acruzado!

  8. Oh, my! I am just reading this. I have a friend who lived on Folly Beach for years, and I agree…I would have made the same decision to stay there with my family as well.

    Good choice. 🙂

    PS…Naveen Andrews for the lead.

  9. All for the best. O plano de Deus

    I would suggest Esai Morales (OG boricua) as Emilio, especially an AMC-type production. I couldn’t help but picture Sandoz as an Edward J Olmos. It was probably from my latino sensibilities that our favorite Jesuit appeared to me as a heroic pachuco-of-the-cloth.

    Great book. Started reading CoG today.

  10. Mary, perhaps the books would best be told by animated film. I’ve spent weeks in the Sandoz world lately and I really believe (!!!) That this story should have it’s chance to be put forth by those passionate for proper visual storytelling. The Sparrow and Children of God would probably get their due through animation rather than a film. After all, it is a graphic tale.

Leave a Comment