Brad Pitt says he is thinking about how his and Angelina Jolie's children will perceive his newest role as a harsh father in "The Tree of Life."
The film is set for limited release on Friday, May 27, and tells of three young brothers in the 1950s in the Midwest. Pitt plays their father and his character's oldest son, who is 11, witnesses the loss of innocence. Sean Penn portrays the boy when he is an adult, who tries to reconcile with his father.
"I'm hoping when my kids grow up, they'll go, 'Dad's a pretty good actor because that's not him,'" Pitt told OnTheRedCarpet.com host Chris Balish and other reporters at the film's premiere.
"I grew up in the same kind of environment, a lot of time outdoors," Pitt, who was raised in Missouri, told reporters earlier. "But I definitely didn't have the same family dynamic. I wouldn't be here if I did. It certainly made me think a lot about being a father and the impression that I leave on my kids, and that my actions are louder."
Pitt and Jolie have six children together, three adopted children - Maddox, Pax and Zahara - and three biological children - Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne. When asked at the premiere from where he gets fulfillment in life, Pitt said: "Oh come on, stop! Family!"
Terrence Malick wrote and directed the film and was nominated for two Oscars for writing and directing "The Thin Red Line." He began working on the concept for "The Tree of Life" in 2005 and went through a lot to get it made. Pitt saw strength in the passion project and signed on to produce and star in the film.
"I've been talking to Terry for quite some time about doing something," Pitt said. "I'm a bit of a cinephile and he ranks on top. It's a challenging film and equally challenging to get made. He had come to us, I think he needed some muscle to actually get it through and that's how we originally got involved and it was a big honor for me."
The filming experience was very different from most movie sets and Pitt explained the unconventional process at the premiere.
"It was completely different," Pitt said of making the film. "You don't have the chaos. You have to understand, a normal set is generators and noise, trucks and unions and food. This is none of that, it was quiet like everyday life - we were in the neighborhood, we were in the houses, working out of the houses, the whole place - the neighborhood is dressed like the 50s."
"The kids are in one house, they pick out their own clothes that day, that's what they wear, free-form script - they don't know the script," he added. "There's one guy with the camera and no lights. It was a completely different experience, he's trying to capture these imperfections in life where he finds the truth. I don't know if that's interesting, it was interesting for me on the other side, process-wise."
"The Tree of Life" won the coveted Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, May 22.
"It probably will [miss mainstream audiences], it doesn't follow a traditional story-line," Pitt said about the movie. "It's one that's more experiential than telling you a story, but I have to believe it's one that has some longevity, that has some legs. It'll find its time, whenever it finds its time. Whenever it finds its time, that'll be good enough for me and it certainly provokes some debate and I like that."
Jolie accompanied Pitt to the Los Angeles premiere of the movie on Tuesday, May 24, and wore a red (or poppy), one-shoulder, silk, chiffon Jenny Packham gown with a velvet waistband (see photos).
Pitt also addressed the recent deadly tornado that struck the town of Joplin, Missouri, where his mother and late grandparents once lived, saying: "My thoughts are certainly with them."
Watch the trailer for "The Tree of Life" below.
Reporting by Chris Balish, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).