Credit: Francois Duhamel. Copyright Twentieth Century Fox(VENICE) — Brad Pitt is currently in theaters in the Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but he’ll soon be seen in space

In the sci-fi drama Ad Astra, Pitt plays an astronaut whose dad, played by Tommy Lee Jones, vanishes during a mission.  Decades later, he follows in his father’s footsteps, and on his mission, he learns that not only is his father still alive, but that his survival has world-changing implications.

Pitt tells Variety that the film was, “one of the most challenging films I’ve ever worked on.”  In addition to the physical discomfort of having to be strapped into uncomfortable harnesses to simulate being in space, Pitt says the role made him feel emotionally vulnerable.

He says of director James Grey, “We’ve both grown up in an era where we were asked to be strong…and there is a value in that, but [also a] barrier because you’re hiding some of those things you feel ashamed of.”

“We were asking the questions — is there a better definition [of masculinity] for us…a better relationship with loved ones, with your kids and with ourselves?”

2019 is to be a big year for Pitt who’s already getting Oscar buzz in the air for his work in Once Upon a Time. Meanwhile, Ad Astra debuts today at the Venice Film Festival.

He’s taking it in stride, however.

“Every year, I see amazing talent getting acknowledged, and amazing talent not getting acknowledged,” he says. “When your name comes up, it’s great, and when it doesn’t, it’s a usually a friend [nominated], so I’m happy, too.”

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