Action-star Brad Pitt has returned, following up his 2020 Oscar for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood — in which he plays a washed up stuntman — by reuniting with his own former stunt double, David Leitch.
Leitch, who doubled for Pitt on Fight Club, is at the helm on Bullet Train, Sony’s starry action thriller following five assassins on a Japanese train.
Pitt recalled meeting Leitch during those early stunt double days at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Monday, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “He trained me for those fights and in a way he [was] helping me develop the character; now he’s a director with his own voice and own vernacular and I’m serving him, he’s the boss. So there was a beautiful symmetry for two old friends.”
Pitt joked that his character is “the chump of the movie, it’s fair to say, and he’s been on hiatus and he’s just coming back in the game and trying to do things. He’s had a little bit of therapy, read a self-help book and had a few epiphanies and he’s going to try to find a win-win with these sociopaths.”
And though the film required a heavy dose of stunts, with Pitt’s character getting frequently beat up, he said he didn’t experience any real on-set injuries, though his younger co-stars did. “I’m just skilled at dodging, I guess,” he reasoned.
When it came to reuniting with Pitt, Leitch said he was excited for audiences to see the superstar in a new light.
“I think people hadn’t seen Brad like this in a long time, maybe ever,” the director said. “He was dying to do comedy and when we sent him this script I think he responded and saw the things that we saw in it. It has great characters, especially [his character] Ladybug. He was laughing halfway through it and said, ‘I can do this. Leichty let’s do it. Leitchy let’s do it!’”
The star-studded cast also features Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Bad Bunny, Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman and a small appearance by Sandra Bullock. Henry confirms he was one of the “young guys” injured on set (during a kick) but said, “When you get an opportunity to do a David Leitch movie with David Leitch choreography and David Leitch stunts you want to do it — I did and I had to sit down too. I’d do it again, I really would.”
Henry and Taylor-Johnson are known as the “the twins” in the film, which Henry said created a very close bond between the two. “I have a brother in this guy. Like he’s my emergency contact,” the Atlanta actor said of Taylor-Johnson. “He has my passcodes and my garage door opener; he knows the secrets, he knows where the bodies are. Once you meet someone like that they’re in your life forever.”
Taylor-Johnson had similar sentiments, calling Henry, “my brother in arms on this one. My partner in crime. We built such a great bond and a friendship on this one, we were literally codependent, so every time I wasn’t with him I was nervous to shoot a day. But then the other person was Brad Pitt so not too bad.”
On top of finding a new best friend, Taylor-Johnson said he was drawn to the “originality” of the film, which is based on a 2010 novel by Kōtarō Isaka. He added, “You sign up for a David Leitch movie and it’s got Brad Pitt involved and a bunch of stunts and a great ensemble in it, it’s a laugh-out-loud comedy so it’s a no-brainer honestly.”
Bullet Train hits theaters on Friday.