Zwick shared the revelation in his new memoir titled Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood.
The Oscar-nominated western follows a father (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his three sons in early 20th-century Montana, as their lives are affected by nature, war, and love. It is based on the 1979 novella of the same title by Jim Harrison.
In his book, which is set to be published on 13 February, Zwick writes about the rocky relationship he had with the Hollywood star. who was cast in the role of Tristan Ludlow after Tom Cruise dropped out.
“It fell to [producer] Marshall [Herskovitz] to talk Brad off the ledge,” Zwick writes in an extract published by Vanity Fair, after claiming that Pitt’s agent called him after the first table read “to say Brad wanted to quit”.
“It was the first augury of the deeper springs of emotion roiling inside Brad. He seems easygoing at first, but he can be volatile when riled, as I was to be reminded more than once as shooting began and we took each other’s measure,” the Oscar-nominated filmmaker added.
He continued: “Sometimes, no matter how experienced or sensitive you are as a director, things just aren’t working,” alleging Pitt “would get edgy whenever he was about to shoot a scene that required him to display deep emotion.”
Zwick said he and Pitt clashed over their respective visions for the character of Tristan, claiming that Pitt resisted “revealing himself” to the point that they would go through “blowups” in front of the crew, then later make up.
However, he stressed that Pitt was “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.”
The Independent has reached out to Brad Pitt’s representatives for comment.
It has been rumoured Quentin Tarantino will reunite with Pitt for his final film, The Movie Critic.
The director has cast the 60-year-old star twice before, in 2009’s Nazi-hunting war film Inglourious Basterds and as a storied stuntman in 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The Pulp Fiction director has long comitted to the idea of retiring after 10 movies, and according to reports in Deadline, the final film could be set for release in 2025.
While details about the new project remain scarce, Tarantino said last year at the Cannes Film Festival that it would be set in 1977, and would be “based on a guy who really lived but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag”.
Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood is available for pre-order, and will be published on 13 February.