Brad Pitt & The Fountainhead

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie visit Falling Water on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon, we’re told about it, and given the classic photo op (above). They took a two-hour tour which ended with a private birthday (his) celebration afterward in the living room.

This isn’t a case of the media finding out and letting us know. This is clearly a case of Brad and His People making a concerted effort to get this photo and press release out. There are two points that Brad wants in the public consciousness.

#1: “Brad said he had a visual sense of Falling Water but experiencing it in person, hearing the sound of the waterfall cascading under the house and smelling the wood from the fireplace, was better than anything he could have imagined.”

#2: “Brad said he had wanted to experience Falling Water ever since he took an architectural history course in college,” said curator Cara Armstrong. “He and I talked quite a bit about design and art. He was incredibly well-informed about architecture.”

Point # 1 amuses me. How nice of Brad to share poetic thoughts on his Falling Water experience. It’s almost like enjoying his vacation photos over a glass of cabernet, isn’t it? Such a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Point # 2 slightly disturbs me. It’s that bit about wanting to see Falling Water ever since he took an architectural history course in college, which was well over 20 years ago.

Mr. Pitt has spent the last several years making sure that we know he loves architecture. We’ve heard details of how he personally re-designed the interior of a Hollywood home (and how it left Jennifer Aniston so unimpressed that she didn’t even want the place in the divorce). He’s gone out of his way to repeatedly insert his name into the star glow surrounding his favorite architect, Frank Gehry. And he’s been so successful at representing himself as a design-driven creature that what clothing accessories he prefers bears mentioning.

At first, I was enamored with Brad’s architectural bent. “Gee, he’s such a huge and handsome star, yet he spends his spare time immersed in architecture… he’s so smart.” But in reality, I know that stars of his magnitude only release that kind of information for precise purposes. And that’s what disturbs me.

He’s spent years rolling out this architectural image of himself, but other than the remodeled house that Aniston hated, nothing’s come of it. So, when he makes this latest concerted effort to share his Falling Water experience, I get concerned because it could indicate that his architectural id will finally manifest into the physical.

I picture him financing a public building that he designed himself, or donating money to expand an architectural wing of a university in his name, or designing and building an entire village in one of those countries that his girlfriend adopts children from. I also know I’m lending him way more architectural gravitas than he actually has. He’s a movie star, an actor who enjoys acting like an architect…

Then the mailman delivers my current Netflix selection, The Fountainhead. Gary Cooper as a barely-disguised Frank Lloyd Wright antagonized by his secret patron/love interest Patricia Neal. The movie was just finally released on DVD, which I consider a big deal. Brad Pitt probably does, too.

And then it hits me!
Mr. Pitt wants a Fountainhead remake with him and Jolie!
Rather than having to make good on all his publicly-declared architectural aspirations, he can just act like the ultimate architect. So, he trots his girlfriend/co-star out into the snowy woods across from Falling Water for the photo op, sends out the press release, and in a few weeks he’ll be in the executive office of a major movie studio getting the financial green light for this project.

This idea would be the perfect resolution to his “I want to be an architect” desires, as well as a brilliant career move. Plus, I’d much rather he re-do The Fountainhead than actually foist upon the world a building he designed. So, here’s hoping for the win/win.