Michael Pitt

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This article is about the American actor. For the British civil servant, see Michael Pitt (civil servant). For the college principal, see Michael William Pitt.
Michael Pitt
Michael-pitt-2011-critics-choice-television-awards-01.jpg
Pitt in 2011 at the Critics Choice Awards.
Born ( 1981-04-10) April 10, 1981 (age 34)
West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Musician
Model
Years active 1997–present

Michael Carmen Pitt (born April 10, 1981) is an American actor, model and musician. Pitt is known in film for his roles in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, Gus Van Sant's Last Days, and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, and in television for his roles as Jimmy Darmody in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Mason Verger in season two of the NBC series Hannibal.

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

In 2001, Pitt earned a breakout role as the lover of a transgender rock star named Hedwig in the film adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell's Tony Award-winning production, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.[1] Although not his first film role, Pitt's performance as Tommy Gnosis led to a series of strong supporting roles in many acclaimed and often controversial films, including Larry Clark's Bully, Murder by Numbers, and Funny Games, Michael Haneke's remake of the 1997 film of the same name. One of Pitt's most notable roles was as the lead in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers.

Pitt attributes his success in films to a combination of hard work and the presence of "a few angels in my life."[2] He has also stressed that he chooses roles not with the hope that they will garner commercial success or to gain notoriety but to create art, challenge the audience, and ultimately contribute to a project that he is proud of:

To be honest, I make very controversial films. The films that I've made have been very, very bold choices. As the years go by, I think my work is going to come more and more in context. The truth is that you can't take what people say too seriously. If I cared what people think about my career, I would have not done—just look at my work. Don't look at me, look at what I've done. Every movie that I've picked, from my first film on, has been considered by everyone to be "career suicide." And I have an amazing life. I have an amazing career. I work with artists. But I'm not making Spider-Man.[3]

Pitt has also appeared in Asia Argento's Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village and starred in Gus Van Sant's Last Days as a rock musician "inspired" by Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain.[4] He performed all of the songs, which closely resembled Cobain's guitar and singing styles.

On the set of Last Days, he met Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who had been hired by Van Sant to serve as the film's music consultant. The pair formed a close bond, with Moore writing, "[Gus] wanted me to hang out with Michael and talk about his character, and let him be in character. We ended up spending a lot of time together. My daughter Coco still relates to Michael as Blake from 'Last Days'".

In 2006, he starred in the unconventional romantic comedy Delirious as a young homeless man who befriends a celebrity photographer and falls in love with a pop singer. The movie appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. The following year, he played opposite Keira Knightley in Silk, adapted from the novel by Alessandro Baricco, as Hervé Joncour, a French silkworm smuggler, who falls in love with a baron's concubine while in Japan.

In 2014, Pitt juggled two starring roles, as Tommy Uva in the comedic American crime drama Rob the Mob and as a molecular biologist in search of the truth about the origins of the eye in the aptly-named I Origins.

He has several films in post- and pre-production set for release in 2015 and 2016.

Theater[edit]

Pitt made his Off-Broadway debut in 1999 in the play The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek at the New York Theatre Workshop.[5]

Television[edit]

During his theater debut, a casting agent whom Pitt had mistaken for a police officer attempting to arrest him noticed him and recommended him for a guest role on the television series Dawson's Creek. He played Henry Parker in 15 episodes (1999-2000).[6]

In 2010, Pitt was cast as Jimmy Darmody in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (about the rise of Atlantic City during the Prohibition era), as the protégé of Delirious co-star Steve Buscemi. He appeared in the show's first two seasons and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics's Choice Award for his performance. In 2014, he was cast in the recurring role of Mason Verger in the NBC series Hannibal[7] but dropped out late that year, presumably due to scheduling conflicts.[8]

Music[edit]

Pitt sang and played guitar in his band, Pagoda, whose self-titled debut album was released by Universal/Fontana/Ecstatic Peace in 2007.[9]

Under the title Jimi Pitt and the Twins of Evil, Pitt performed "Hey Joe" with the Twins of Evil for The Dreamers soundtrack.[10]

Directing[edit]

In January 2015, Pitt made his official directorial debut with a campaign film for Rag and Bone's Spring 2015 collection. The video features Pitt and prior co-stars actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey—the new face of Rag & Bone womenswear—and British actor Stephen Graham, from I Origins and Boardwalk Empire, respectively. Says Rag & Bone co-head, Marcus Wainwright, "[Pitt]'s a really talented actor and musician, and he came to us with this concept of doing a film-based campaign. We thought it was awesome and well worth trying."[11] Pitt has also directed a number of music videos for Pagoda.

Modeling[edit]

Pitt has modeled for numerous designer campaigns. In 2012, he was named the face of Italian fashion house Prada and modeled their menswear line. He was also featured in two separate Rag & Bone campaigns prior to the release of his self-directed campaign—once for Fall/Winter 2013, with French actress Léa Seydoux,[12] and once for Fall/Winter 2014, with acclaimed actress Winona Ryder.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Pitt is of English and Italian heritage.[14] In 2005, Pitt revealed that he had been "engaged for a long time now" to the model Jamie Bochert. Said Pitt of Bochert: "She's my other half."[15]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Hi-Life Boy Teen
1998 54 Dance Student Uncredited
1999 Even Housewives in Minnesota Have Those Daydreams Petey
2000 Finding Forrester John Coleridge
2001 Bully Donny Semenec
2001 The Yellow Bird Stuff
2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Tommy Gnosis
2002 Murder by Numbers Justin Pendleton
2003 Rhinoceros Eyes Chep
2003 The Dreamers Matthew
2004 The Village Finton Coin
2004 The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Buddy
2004 Jailbait Randy
2005 Last Days Blake
2006 Delirious Toby Grace
2006 The Hawk Is Dying Fred
2007 Funny Games Paul Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor
2007 Silk Hervé Joncour
2011 Hugo Projectionist Uncredited
2012 Seven Psychopaths Larry Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Nominated–San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance
2014 Rob the Mob Tommy Uva
2014 I Origins Ian Gray Also executive producer
2015 Macadam Stories John McKenzie
2015 Criminal Activities Zach Post-production
2015 We Are Sisyphos Norman Ray Post-production
2015 You Can't Win Jack Black Also producer & co-writer; Post-production
2015 Criminal Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Dellaventura Babyface Episode "Above Reproach"
1998 Law & Order Andy Episode "Carrier"
1999–2000 Dawson's Creek Henry Parker 15 episodes
2002 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Harry Baker Episode: "Prodigy"
2008 T Takes The Guest in Room 113 Episode: "Room 113"
2010–2011 Boardwalk Empire Jimmy Darmody 24 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011–2012)
Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Ensemble In A Drama Series (2012)
Nominated–Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2011)
Nominated–Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2012)
Nominated–Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Supporting Actor In A Drama Series (2012)
2014 Hannibal Mason Verger 3 episodes
Nominated–EWwy Award for Best Guest Actor, Drama (2014)
Pending–Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television (2015)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]