Brad Pitt Talks Toxic Masculinity and the 'Barrier That's Created'

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Brad Pitt
P. Lehman / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Brad Pitt is examining his evolution on masculinity.

The leading man is at the Venice Film Festival, where he's promoting his upcoming space film, Ad Astra. While on hand, he admitted that taking on the project, which largely focuses on a father-son relationship, got him considering his own opinions on manhood and men's roles.

"In retrospect, I look back on our early conversations -- James [Gray, the film's director] and I -- and what we were really digging at, without labeling it so much, was this definition of masculinity," Pitt said at a press conference, via The Daily Beast. "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 certain 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?" the 55-year-old actor added.

In the upcoming film, Pitt plays Roy McBride, an astronaut tasked with traveling to the edge of Neptune in order to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones), whose actions could have triggered catastrophe back on Earth.

The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star also shared that, during the production of Ad Astra, which he also produced, he had conversations with his longtime pal, George Clooney, the star of 2013's Gravity, about the challenges of telling stories in outer space.

"George and I shared some discomfort stories," he admitted, later adding that, "I find space …an unbearably inhospitable, lonely type of existence …I'm much more comfortable in nature."

During the press conference, Pitt was also asked if he's still hoping to someday take home an Oscar for his acting.

"Man, I just want to get this film out!" he said with a laugh. "Every year, I see amazing talent getting acknowledged and amazing talent not getting acknowledged. And my feeling is, when your number comes up, it's great fun, and when someone else's number comes up it's usually a friend, so it's great fun still. How was that for a dodge?"

Ad Astra arrives in theaters on Sept. 20.

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