Having not appeared in a leading role for almost three years, Brad Pitt's finally back on the big screen – and his latest actioner is one for the ages. The actor leads Bullet Train, directed by Deadpool 2's David Leitch, in which five rival assassins chase after a MacGuffin briefcase on a Japanese Shinkansen traveling at 300kph. One of those assassins is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
"I get to go toe-to-toe with Brad," he tells Total Film in the new issue, featuring Thor: Love and Thunder on the cover. "As does everybody. We all take a shot at the big man. Everybody gets a nice piece of the pie. We all have our own real juicy bit of action and our own fighting styles. It’s great." He pauses. "Thankfully I didn’t accidentally punch the most beautiful man in the world in the face."
While the assassins may all be fighting Pitt's character Ladybird, the movie's not simply a thriller or action flick or murder mystery or even a comedy. It's all those things and, as Leitch puts it, "an irreverent commentary on fate."
"When you’re on one of those tentpole movies, action is the cornerstone," he continues. "You already know Ethan Hunt was there for a previous impossible mission, and you have to figure out a bigger set-piece. They’re awesome, but that’s what they need.” Bullet Train, meanwhile, is fresh, irreverent, anarchic, not yet hemmed in by rules or templates. In today’s Hollywood, original IP is rare and should be celebrated. But can it steal eyeballs from superhero sequels?
“I think this can [compete]," Leitch says. "We need to fight as creatives to have original IP out in the theatre. I love superhero movies, and I’ve directed them – Deadpool 2, and arguably Hobbs & Shaw because the Fast world is almost a superhero franchise at this point – but people are ready for new ideas. I think audiences are hungry for it. And we can do it with the right ideas and the right stars and the right studio support, for sure."
Bullet Train opens August 3 in the UK and August 5 in the US. For much more from the movie's cast – including Pitt – and director, check out the new issue of Total Film, available now on shelves physical and digitally.
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