Actor Brad Bitt says his upcoming space thriller Ad Astra will explore themes of toxic masculinity and the consequent “barrier that’s created” throughout society.
The film, which will hit cinemas September 20, sees Brad Pitt play the role of astronaut Roy McBride as he “travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet.”
Addressing a news conference before the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, Pitt said that he and director James Gray were eager to explore the theme of toxic masculinity and its detrimental effects.
“In retrospect, what James and I were digging at was that definition of masculinity,” Pitt said alongside Gray and co-star Liv Tyler. “We’ve both grown up in an era where we were asked to be strong…and there is a value in that, but [also a] barrier because you’re hiding some of those things you feel ashamed of. We all hide and carry individual pain and wounds.”
Having grown up in an era where we were taught to be strong, not show weakness, don’t be disrespected, and so on and so forth, there’s certainly value in that as far as entering into the world and holding your own. But there’s also a barrier that’s created with this kind of embracing of the self because you’re denying, to a sense, those pains or the things [that make] you feel shame, whether real or imagined, the regrets in one’s life.
Looking back, we were asking the question: Does actually being more open provide you with a better relationship with your loved ones, with your parents, with your kids, and with yourself?
Some might consider Pitt’s comments ironic given his history of taking on roles that seemingly promote the concept of “toxic masculinity,” whether it be his role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club or the Greek war hero Achilles in Troy.
Nevertheless, the 55-year-old remains a seasoned progressive activist. Ahead of last year’s midterm elections, he joined Leonardo DiCaprio in a promotional ‘Get Out the Vote’ video aimed at highlighting left-wing issues concerns such as climate change and gun control.