Brad Pitt interviewed Anthony Hopkins for Interview Magazine. They worked together on Meet Joe Black and they’ve remained somewhat friendly, although I think Hopkins mostly keeps to himself in general with Hollywood people. Some backstory: Hopkins is an alcoholic, I think. I’m not entirely sure if he refers to himself as an alcoholic, actually, but he had a big drinking problem when he was a young man. He got sober 45 years ago, by his own count. Brad, as we know, also had a drinking problem and it was so bad that something happened on a plane with his family in 2016, and after that, he went through some kind of makeshift drying-out program, and by his own admission, he attended AA for a year and a half. This backstory is because Hopkins brings it up near the beginning of the interview (which you can read here). I found this conversation… interesting.
ANTHONY HOPKINS: …what I believe now is that we can’t take credit or blame.
PITT: I feel the same. Certainly the credit. The blame I’m still wrestling with.
HOPKINS: What’s the blame?
PITT: I’m realizing, as a real act of forgiveness for myself for all the choices that I’ve made that I’m not proud of, that I value those missteps, because they led to some wisdom, which led to something else. You can’t have one without the other. I see it as something I’m just now getting my arms around at this time in my life. But I certainly don’t feel like I can take credit for any of it.
HOPKINS: I’ve read you had a struggle with booze and all that.
PITT: Well, I just saw it as a disservice to myself, as an escape.
HOPKINS: It was necessary.
PITT: To some degree, yes.
HOPKINS: It’s a gift. I myself needed to hide it, years ago.
PITT: I remember on Meet Joe Black, you were talking about it. You had dumped it.
HOPKINS: Forty-five years, almost. But I’m not an evangelist about it.
PITT: Nor I.
HOPKINS: But I look at it, and I think, “What a great blessing that was, because it was painful.” I did some bad things. But it was all for a reason, in a way. And it’s strange to look back and think, “God, I did all those things?” But it’s like there’s an inner voice that says, “It’s over. Done. Move on.”
PITT: So you’re embracing all your mistakes. You’re saying, “Let’s be our foibles, our embarrassment. There’s beauty in that.”…I’m seeing that these days. I think we’re living in a time where we’re extremely judgmental and quick to treat people as disposable. We’ve always placed great importance on the mistake. But the next move, what you do after the mistake, is what really defines a person. We’re all going to make mistakes. But what is that next step? We don’t, as a culture, seem to stick around to see what that person’s next step is. And that’s the part I find so much more invigorating and interesting.
HOPKINS: We’ve all screwed up.
[From Interview Magazine]
Forgiveness is a big part of a lot of these addiction programs. To forgive oneself, and to seek forgiveness from those you have harmed or hurt. It’s a good thing, I think, in general and in principle. But what bugs me about Brad discussing this is that he quickly found a way to forgive himself, and then he spent several years smearing Angelina Jolie because she dared to leave him and dared to try to protect their children from him. It’s just a reminder that for some people, the alcoholism IS the toxicity. But some people are just toxic with or without booze. So I have to ask… had Brad “forgiven” Angelina for leaving? Because it doesn’t seem like he has.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.