Reflecting on three decades at the top, Pitt — who has been married to Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie — told how he had only $365 to his name when he dropped out of school and moved to Hollywood.
Now one of the world’s most bankable actors, the star recalled: “It was a week before graduation and I realised all of my friends had jobs.
“I had a friend, who was not even a close friend, who talked about going out to LA and her dad had a place. I loaded up the car. I didn’t graduate.
“All I had to do was hand in a term paper, but in my head, I was done. I was going west.
“I landed and went straight to McDonald’s. I got a newspaper. I had $275 ($365 AUD) to my name, and I saw in the paper that you could sign up for work as an extra, so I signed up for three places.
“Within a week, I was doing extra work and I was really, really happy.”
Despite his sex appeal, success didn’t come on a plate.
Pitt said: “There was this catch-22. To get your actor’s SAG (the Screen Actors Guild union) card, you had to have a line, but to have a line you had to have your SAG card.”
He said: “I was an extra. It was a big dinner scene and they pulled me out to be the waiter.
“I was supposed to pour champagne and I thought, ‘I’m gonna try it!’ And so I poured Charlie’s glass. They were having a big conversation. I poured the next actor’s glass. And then there was a young woman on the end and I poured her glass, and I went, ‘Would you like anything else?’
“I heard the director yell, ‘Cut! Cut!’ He came over to me and said, ‘If you do that again, you’re outta here!’ ”
Things went better in 1990 when Pitt saw off five other actors — including George Clooney — in a final audition for his role as JD in Thelma & Louise.
It was apparently Geena Davis who said of Pitt: “The blond one … . hello!”
The star’s real-life leading ladies included Gwyneth Paltrow and Eighties pop singer Sinitta before he married Jennifer Aniston in 2001.
But in 2004 he allegedly linked up with Angelina Jolie, his co-star in the film Mr & Mrs Smith.
Pitt and Aniston divorced in 2005 and he and Jolie famously announced their relationship in glossy W magazine, finally marrying in September 2014 — leading Aniston to say Pitt was missing a “sensitivity chip”.
Jolie and Pitt were together for 12 years and he became a doting dad to kids Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne.
The couple now co-parent after their acrimonious 2016 split.
Since then, the two-time recipient of the Sexiest Man Alive award has not confirmed any of a string of rumoured love interests.
But Pitt and Aniston have come full circle, going from Hollywood’s hottest couple to husband and wife, to frosty … to friends again.
But while his private life has been tumultuous, apart from a few early turkeys in his career, there have been few low moments. One was 2004 blockbuster Troy, in which Pitt played Achilles.
He said: “I was in a skirt — leather. It was chafing. But that was just fun because it was aggressive. There was a lot of action and a lot of physicality. We had some great guys that developed the fights. It was fun.”
Pitt said the moment he saw himself as a professional actor was in 2007’s The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, in which he played James.
He said: “I’ve had some different junctures along the way where I would actually call myself a professional actor. Once Thelma & Louise hit, I tried some different things and then, around 2004, with Jesse James, I started making things more and more personal. Around then, I probably could have called myself somewhat professional.”
One of the most enjoyable film sets was 1999’s Fight Club. Pitt said: “We were having so much goddamn fun on that movie. I don’t remember research being the main component. It was just pretty good fun.”
He also revealed that he had asked Guy Ritchie if he could work with him on 2000 film Snatch, rather than the other way round — but then feared he would mess up the film as he struggled with the accent for his Irish gypsy character Mickey O’Neil.
Pitt said: “I saw Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels so I called him up and then panicked until the moment we were shooting.
“It was the dialect. I said to him the day before, ‘Guy, I’m gonna f*** up your movie. You should do it,’ because he would imitate it. He said, ‘Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.’ I was supposed to be on set at 6am and I was living in North London and I was walking the streets like a maniac.
“Literally at midnight I called and woke Guy up and said, ‘Are you OK if you can’t understand your beautifully written dialogue?’
“I’ve got to give credit to Benicio Del Toro for his brilliant performance in The Usual Suspects. He was, to me, the first person that I’d seen that was fearless with being unintelligible.”
But alongside the great movies, Pitt also turned down scripts that went on to become blockbusters.
He admitted: “If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we’d need two nights.”
If he had not been an actor, Pitt would have been a journalist.
He said: “I had loved All The President’s Men, and so the idea of investigative journalism appealed to me.
“I just started finding myself being drawn more to design and maybe magazine layout or something, but I’d always had a love for film.”
In recent months Pitt said he has been throwing himself into his new favourite pastime — sculpture.
And before the COVID-19 crisis hit, he even got close pal Leonardo DiCaprio in on the act.
Pitt said: “Leo’s good as gold. I don’t know — somehow that turned into a Ghostmoment with me and Leo at the pottery wheel.”
Reflecting on the success of the past year and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood — which won him his second Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, and also starred DiCaprio — it is clear Pitt took the right path.
He added: “It’s been really fun. It’s really fun when your number comes up. I look at it this way — kind of a wheel of fortune — and there’s so much good work every year.
“It’s so nice to see your friends go through this and then it’s nice to be here myself. So I have a lot to be grateful for.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission