Actor Brad Pitt is known for taking on all sorts of movie roles, ranging from charismatic to cool to crazy characters in films including Meet Joe Black, Seven, Ocean’s Eleven, and 12 Monkeys.
While he’s not typically an action hero, Pitt famously appeared in a film based on fighting when he portrayed fistfight-loving soap salesman Tyler Durden in the 1990s cult classic Fight Club.
The movie was out there in terms of its concept as it featured a ripped Brad Pitt, 35 years old at the time, throwing punches with co-star Edward Norton and others in a fictional fight club where people could take out their frustrations and get an emotional release.
In his newest film, Bullet Train, the 53-year-old actor embraced another unique fighting role, this time with fast-paced action scenes on board a train.
While it was uncharted territory for him, Pitt says he looked to the iconic Jackie Chan, known for his action-comedy films that involved over-the-top fight scenes featuring skillful martial arts.
Pitt recently spoke about the new film and compared Chan to another iconic actor who rose to fame as the premier star in an originating era of motion pictures.
Bullet Train star Brad Pitt credits Jackie Chan for fight style
The film Bullet Train opened in theaters on Friday and is one wild ride for viewers. The movie, an adaptation of the Japanese novel Maria Beetle, stars Brad Pitt as Ladybug, an assassin who wants to give up that life.
However, he gets called in by his handler to replace another assassin tasked with collecting a briefcase from a train that’s traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto. There just so happens to be three other killers onboard the train along with Ladybug and other passengers, resulting in some crazy fight sequences and hilarious scenes along the way.
The action-comedy genre isn’t something Pitt’s been in much during his career, but he says Jackie Chan heavily influenced director David Leitch and his performance in the film.
“We always talk about Jackie Chan, how much we love Jackie Chan,” Pitt said, per ETOnline. “He’s like our Charlie Chaplin, he’s just so underrated. And it’s so amazing the stuff that he’s pulled off. So to do something in that vein, with the comedy infused into the fights, I’ve never done that before!”
Chaplin famously appeared on screen at a time when films involved no sound or spoken dialogue, so he had to use physical humor to tell the story and entertain audiences. Chan relied on a similar skill to entertain the masses with his impressive martial arts skills.
Some of the hit films that Chan appeared in have included Rumble in the Bronx, Shanghai Knights, The Tuxedo, and three Rush Hour movies. The latter co-starred comedian Chris Tucker, with the trilogy earning over $849 million worldwide.
Pitt went from playing stuntman to doing own stunts
In 2019, Brad Pitt co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which received 10 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards.
That included Pitt winning the Best Supporting Actor award for his role as Cliff Booth, a stunt double for DiCaprio’s fading actor, Rick Dalton.
There weren’t a lot of fights or action scenes for Pitt in that film; something Bullet Train has much more of. Most Hollywood A-listers might have opted out of those physically-demanding scenes, erring on the side of caution.
However, Jackie Chan did all his own stunts. Would the 53-year-old Brad Pitt?
According to the movie’s second-unit director and stunt coordinator, Greg Rementer, the Academy Award winner didn’t rely on the use of a stunt double all that much for his action-heavy scenes.
“Brad did 95 percent of his physical stunts — the fighting,” Rementer said, per Vulture. “He’s like a natural-born athlete. He really got in there!”
The risk-taking Pitt leads an impressive cast in the new Sony Pictures film directed by David Leitch.
Others appearing on screen for the wacky thrill ride known as Bullet Train include Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, and musician Bad Bunny, with some surprise cameos arriving during the fast-paced trip.
Bullet Train is currently playing in theaters.