In between all the online shouting about the smashed-avo related housing crisis and Donald Trump, sometimes you need some good-old-fashioned LOLs. This week that sweet, sweet relief comes via Brad Pitt and the things he likes to put in his mouth.
A Melbourne creative group called Long Prawn is behind Fat Brad, The Cookbook, a new book of recipes dedicated entirely to the food Pitt eats on screen. Which, when you think about it, is a lot.
The publishers of the book, Laura Clauscen, Lauren Stephens and Fred Mora, answered our questions as the Long Prawn collective.
Broadsheet: What is Fat Brad? Also ... why?
Long Prawn: Fat Brad is a cookbook that meticulously recreates the on-screen eating of Brad Pitt. Imagine all the moments you have seen Brad, mouth ajar, head to head with something tasty as he fumbles his lines out. Fat Brad views that scene through Brad’s eyes, not just the camera.
Perhaps it was a way to get closer to Brad. Or maybe just an obsession that got out of hand.
BS: The book seems like something you'd joke about with friends, but never actually go ahead and do. Why did you guys decide to go all in and follow through with making the book?
LP: Despite our turkey-in-cheek approach, the bones of the project are super solid. I guess the idea snowballed when we realised how good we could make it. What started as a quirk turned into a fully fledged cookbook really quickly with each film providing heaps of content. It also helps when your friends are really good at what they do. We used the whimsical hook to give rise to deep film research, art direction, food reference and sugary photography.
BS: What is Long Prawn?
LP: Long Prawn is a band of eaters tired with current food conversation in Melbourne. Over the coming months they will pop up with spicy, original and thoughtful food content. A slow, considered approach to food thinking is as precious as 10 nonnas and a full fridge.
BS: Give us your top three moments of Brad Pitt eating on screen. Describe them in brief but sensuous detail.
LP: Some of them made the book, others didn't! There is in an important moment in everyone's life when they try peanut butter for the first time. Brad’s display of this transformative moment in Meet Joe Black is unforgettable. His eyes widen as he plunges a silver spoon laden with Laura Scudder’s Peanut Butter into his mouth. We thought it ill-advised to take on Laura Scudder’s recipe so it was left by the wayside.
The Heartburn Burger, however, certainly made it in. At the end of Ocean’s Eleven, Danny is out of the clink and the heat is off, giving Rusty (Brad) some spare time to actually chew through something. He only manages a finger lickin’ mouthful of his greasy burger before he tosses it to the curb, overwhelmed by Danny’s freedom and a wave of indigestion.
We favour prawn cocktails on any occasion, but the backstory of Rusty’s Bellagio Shrimp Cocktail (Ocean’s Eleven) is particularly good. Over the multiple takes where it’s revealed the heist is tied up in Danny’s love interest, Brad ate over 40 shrimp on set. Who knows which number take was used in the final cut, but it’s great to know he ate each ‘lil shrimp with conviction.
BS: In 2011, Vulture compiled an exhaustive list of everything Brad Pitt has eaten on screen. Someone even made this supercut. What's the deal – is it a clause in his contract? Or is he just a hungry boy?
LP: We often talked about this when compiling the book. We don't know what perpetuates Brad’s hunger but we are certainly thankful for it. Too often do filmmakers skip over the human elements of life; to spill mustard on a shirt (Moneyball) legitimises character as well as any brilliantly delivered line. Through his guts, we got an understanding of each of his characters. With Fat Brad those characters and the meals that made them become set in stone, or paper, really. The book gives you the chance to be Brad, or turn your loved one into him.
BS: Who wrote the recipes in the book?
LP: There was no point doing this book unless everything in it was almost as good as Brad. We enlisted two amazing food thinkers to work with us to create recipes that were not only delicious but technically exact. Ali Currey Voumard (ex-Cumulus Inc, Moon Under Water) is a chef who we started dinner series Otis Armada with. She is now in Tasmania setting up an exciting new venue. Mietta Coventry (Chow Down) is the other Brad cook to watch: she is organising an event called Le Sous-Sol in late November, not to be missed.
BS: What's the response been like to the book? Have you heard from Brad?
LP: The online response has been kind of insane. We have ended up in places we certainly didn't expect, we knew the book would have a wide effect but never expected to land in the pages of Rolling Stone Italy, GQ India or the Daily Mail UK. At this rate it looks like we will need to do a comprehensive encyclopedia of Brad. It’s great to get nods from mainstream media as well as land the book in shops like Colette Paris, TATE London and Printed Matter NYC.
Brad has got a lot on at the moment but we hope to land one on his desk in time for his birthday (December 18).
BS: This is the first in a series of cookbooks. What's next?
LP: You’ll have to follow @Long_Prawn to get the drop. It could really be anything from Scientology The Cookbook to Fat Trump.
Fat Brad, The Cookbook *is launching on Saturday October 27 from 6pm–10pm at Golden Age Cinema & Bar in Sydney, and will be screening True Romance from 7pm. Bookings essential.