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If you look over Brad Pitt’s filmography, you won’t be at a loss to find plenty of movies where Brad Pitt’s gone shirtless. So by now the guy is obviously used to taking his shirt off in front of the camera, and he did as much during last year’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That said, evidently director Quentin Tarantino wasn’t aware of Pitt’s shirt-removing bonafides.
As such, when the time came for Brad Pitt to take off his shirt in the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scene where his character, Cliff Booth, is fixing a TV antenna on a roof, Pitt took the opportunity to throw some sass Quentin Tarantino’s way. The filmmaker recalled:
It was funny because actually in public, Brad is kind of shy about things like that. At the same time, he knows exactly what time it is. I go, ‘So, I’m thinking maybe you unbutton the Hawaiian shirt, and you peel that off, and then peel off the Champion T-shirt.’ He was like, ‘Really? You want me to go through all that button bullshit? I’ll just take it off in one bit. Go!'
I’m sorry, unbutton the Hawaiian shirt and then take off the t-shirt? Maybe that sort of removal process is logical in real life, but for a movie like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with Brad Pitt just one of its many notable stars, you need to streamline the taking off of one’s shirts. Pitt’s an expert in this area, and while it’s not in his comfort zone when it isn't professionally-related, once he’s in front of the cameras, he’s quite experienced with going shirtless in a snap.
Continuing in his conversation with the hosts of the Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith podcast, Quentin Tarantino said he realized that Brad Pitt had the right idea and decided to just let the actor do this aspect of that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scene his own way. In Tarantino’s words:
I’m like, okay, this guy knows exactly what time it is. Shut the fuck up and let the master do his job! Even when you see him in the work shed and the way he puts on the leather gloves and puts the wire in his mouth all butch and macho. He just knows what time it is.
After more than 30 years of professional acting, and most of that chunk of time being one of Hollywood’s most well-known faces, Brad Pitt still has the star power to put butts in seats. You can be sure that he knows how to dish out the eye candy in the proper way. Besides, with Cliff Booth fixing the TV antenna belong to his friend/employer, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, and no one else paying attention to him in the neighborhood, it’s not like he’d be concerned with shirt etiquette.
This shirtless scene wasn’t the only time on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that Brad Pitt put his own stamp on the material. During a scene with Leonardo DiCaprio, he also improvised the line, “You’re Rick Fucking Dalton,” which helped DiCaprio cement his own interpretation of the two characters’ co-dependent relationship.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was Brad Pitt’s second time working with Quentin Tarantino, having previously appeared in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds. The actor went on to receive numerous accolades for his performance as Cliff Booth, which included winning a Screen Actors Guild Award (where he used his acceptance speech to poke fun at Tarantino’s interest in women’s feet), a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
In addition to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt also appeared last year as Major Roy McBride in Ad Astra. Both those projects somewhat marked the end of a chapter in Pitt’s life, as the actor said last fall that he’ll act in fewer movies going forward since he’s gotten invested in other activities, both behind the camera and unrelated to film.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on Brad Pitt’s career, and keep track of the ever-shifting theatrical release lineup with our comprehensive guide.