I’m a Brad Pitt fan. Have been ever since I saw “Kalifornia”, while not a movie for everyone is my version of a modern classic. Throw in “Twelve Monkeys”, “Fight Club” and stir, and you’ve got an unparalleled cinematic resume.
I even had a brief encounter with Brad. I was on the Fox lot, where he was shooting “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”. I was walking down a long hallway and I saw him coming toward me. I’m not usually starstruck, but there’s something undeniably magical about seeing The Brad in person. So much so that I stopped in my tracks. Literally. Like a huge dork.
But apparently this sort of reaction was nothing new for Brad, who continued walking toward me, completely unfazed. As he passed, he smiled understandingly, looked me straight in the eye, and said “Hey, man. How’s it going?” Not a pivotal moment in history, but it concretized my impression of Brad as the coolest movie star on the planet.
And here it is, three years later, and The Brad just keeps getting cooler. And for much more important reasons. Labeled one of “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine, Pitt has traveled to Africa to raise awareness for the Make Poverty History campaign, he’s filmed PSAs for AIDS-ravaged Kenya and Ethiopia, he’s taken part in telethons for the victims of 9/11 and now he’s turning his generosity toward New Orleans. Via Make It Right:
“When Brad Pitt visited the Lower 9th Ward for the first time after [Hurricane Katrina], he was shocked by what he saw: the remnants of people’s lives strewn across the streets and an entire neighborhood torn apart and turned upside down. Pitt was even more disturbed by the lack of a clear plan to address the situation. […] Inspired by the courage and hope of the residents he met, Pitt resolved to do whatever he could to help them rebuild…”
A longtime student of architecture and a big supporter of green building practices, he hooked up with Global Green to sponsor an architecture competition designed to sustainably rebuild the Lower 9th Ward. “The first responsibility is to help those that are the most vulnerable,” said Brad. “And we failed – and failed miserably.”
But he didn’t stop there. The architecture competition gave birth to Make It Right, a projected “intended to be a catalyst and a model for rebuilding a safer, healthier, and greener New Orleans.”
At a recent meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, he announced a new sustainable 150-home community to be built in partnership with real-estate developer and fellow do-gooder Steve Bing. Brad urged members of the coalition to donate funds for the project, adding that he and Bing have each pledged to match $5 million in contributions.
Generosity can be measured in different ways. But what’s even more impressive than a simple “how ya doing?” to a starstruck fan or a $5 million check for New Orleans? The fact that giving either would occur to someone.