The Legend of Brad Pitt

This happened in 2008. One of my dreams is to write a memoir, so from time to time, I’ll be sharing stories with you. For other stories about my acting journey, check out Pink’s Hot DogsThat Time I Was an Extra on E.R., and Living that L.A. Life: An Actor’s Tale.

Celebrity stories are a popular way to pass the time in extra's holding, but one story in particular is always a favorite, The Legend of Brad Pitt.
Just another day in the life of an extra…

In the cramped quarter’s of extra’s holding, there are whispers of celebrity encounters. Stories are like currency in this overlooked world of background acting. Everyone is trying to stand out while being paid to blend in. But, the stories, whispered between takes or gleefully told during lunch, bestow a sort of prestige on the teller.

Diva temper tantrums. Cue card dependence. Too much Botox. Friendly chit chat.

Stories of movie stars swirl through the background, inspiring and entertaining those who haven’t made it yet. The best stories are about stars who spent time in the background before they became famous. The stories are told with a sort of reverence usually reserved for Sunday mornings. My favorite is one I like to think of as The Legend of Brad Pitt. It was told by an extra who claimed to know Brad way back when and goes something like this…

Before he became a movie star, a Young Brad Pitt moved out to L.A. and got a job working as a giant chicken for El Pollo Loco. Young Brad would put on his chicken suit and flag cars into the restaurant. The gig was good because it allowed him to take time off to audition and work as an extra. Even though he was working as a giant chicken, Young Brad did not forget his movie star dreams.

There are many rules that guide extras. Most important is do not talk to an actor unless they speak to you first. A close second is don’t lose your voucher. No voucher. No paycheck. Of course, your voucher is worthless buy adderall tablets unless you get it signed after you are wrapped. Young Brad didn’t always follow rule #2.

Young Brad may have been a lowly extra, but he had a dream, and he wasn’t going to let the system keep him down. According to legend, Young Brad would check in on one set, grab his voucher, then run to another set to do the same before returning to the first set to check out at end of day.

At this point, the audience gasps because every extra knows that if you got caught doing this you would be black listed and never work again. AD’s love to threaten extras with black listing them, claiming that they have a whole database full of extras who will never work in Hollywood again. But, Young Brad is the hero of the story with a future of stardom before him, and suddenly, the AD’s threats are no longer so scary.

Finally, Young Brad gets his big break and no longer has to juggle being a giant chicken while stacking background jobs. And, what does Movie Star Brad do? He has El Pollo Loco cater the first meal of his movies because it’s important to remember who supported you before you were famous, and he makes sure extras are treated well on his sets because once upon a time he was one, too.

I’ve never met Brad Pitt, and I have no idea if this story is true, but I like to think it is. Like a modern day parable, the Legend of Brad Pitt is full of hope and important life lessons:

Don’t let the system beat you down.

Always remember the people who supported you along the way.

Don’t give up on your dreams, even if you are dressed as a giant chicken.

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24 comments

  1. Young Brad’s story certainly sounds very inspiring for extras with dreams of making it big in acting. And it’s very cool if it’s true since people shouldn’t forget how they got their start.

  2. That’s a great story! I hope it’s true! It must be hard being an extra. It reminds me a bit of the culture at Disney where it’s said the princesses/princes get treated better than the people who wear the costumes.

    Corinne x

  3. Haha I hope it’s true too! What an awesome system! I have always wants to be an extra. Just being anywhere on screen would be a dream come true. I love this memoir-style piece and I hope you do more like it!

  4. You know, it’s nice to hear a positive story about a celebrity for once. So often it’s all about celeb bashing, and I’m sure they’re not all monsters! I’m glad Brad remembered to thank those who helped him on the way up, just in case there’s a way down and he needs their help again!

  5. Oh, my goodness… how cute is this story?! I’d like to think that it’s completely true, too 🙂 Thank you for sharing (love behind-the-scenes talk!). XOXO

  6. I wonder if Brad Pitt has ever heard this story about himself. I’d like to think that it’s true, too. I definitely know that he worked as a giant chicken, but had never heard the other parts until this post. He’s always been a favorite of mine so I’d definitely like to believe that this isn’t just a legend. 🙂

  7. Wonderfully written and very engaging story. I second what others have said and like to think that such really is true.

    Joyful start of June wishes!
    ♥ Jessica

  8. I’ve been waiting this post! 🙂
    I love that Brad Pitt has El pollo Loco cater his meals for his movies! When I was younger, I worked for a marketing research company, we would survey people about their restaurant experience. One of the restaurants we would ask about was El Pollo Loco, which I had never heard of until I heard about Chicken Brad a few years later. I still haven’t been to a El Pollo Loco…
    XOXO

  9. Love this so much!!! I have been a long time fan of Brad’s (and oft dreamt of becoming Mrs. Pitt) and when we lived in LA for awhile, my sister did some work as an extra! So many stories! And so much fun to hear these get passed on!