Zwick wrote that he and Pitt clashed on how much emotion the star’s character, Tristan, should show in the World War I-era family wilderness story. The arguments morphed into a “dick-measuring” war of wills.
He wrote that he barked directions at Pitt in a “stupid, shaming provocation” one day and Pitt warned him to back off. Zwick said he persisted because he resented his actor for not embracing his direction.
“I don’t know who yelled first, who swore, or who threw the first chair,” Zwick wrote. “Me, maybe? But when we looked up, the crew had disappeared. And this wasn’t the last time it happened.”
Zwick said the two made peace every time. “It was nothing personal,” he wrote. “Brad is a forthright, straightforward person, fun to be with and capable of great joy. He was never anything less than fully committed to doing his best. I, on the other hand, am a movie director masquerading as a rational human being.”
“Legends of the Fall” made more than $160 million at the box office, and New York Times critic Janet Maslin wrote that Pitt’s “diffident mix of acting and attitude works to such heartthrob perfection” in a mostly negative review.
So at least a few things went right.