When a man looks like Brad Pitt, we tend to underestimate him. We ask him to make a blockbuster a year. Date a beautiful woman. Have a cute baby. And we're happy.
But he's not content. As an actor and producer, Pitt, 43, has used his star power to get people to look at places and stories that cameras don't usually catch. He gravitates toward projects that emphasize we're all the same on this earth, like Babel, the 2006 multinarrative drama of cultural misunderstanding, in which Pitt plays an American tourist in Morocco. It gave many U.S. filmgoers their introduction to the notion of Pitt as a serious actor, with a range that was wider than gorgeous-to-handsome. In his portrayal of a scared, flailing husband, Pitt managed to do that tricky thing: make audiences forget that he's a big, handsome Movie Star.
He's also getting serious as a producer, with a slate that reflects a surprising range of interests for an Oklahoma-born Sigma Chi frat boy. There is God Grew Tired of Us, a documentary about the child soldiers of Sudan; Year of the Dog, a quirky comedy about pet loss; and A Mighty Heart, about murdered journalist Danny Pearl, starring girlfriend Angelina Jolie. He has ambitious plans to help rebuild New Orleans. Oh, and he'll also appear in Steven Soderbergh's Oceans 13, providing us, as every artistically ambitious celebrity should, with a little sugar just to keep us hooked.
Next Shonda Rhimes