Brad Pitt’s love story with the south of France continues
Delighting the audience with his surprise appearance at the César Awards, the American actor is investing in France and plans to stay a while...
On February 24, 2023, Brad Pitt presented David Fincher with the Honorary César Award in Paris and took the audience at the ceremony by storm. Among smiles, standing ovations and multiple rumours, his appearance sealed his beautiful - and mutual - love story with France. It has been the landmark of the 2023 César Ceremony. The evening was in full swing on the legendary stage of the Olympia when a major surprise came to raise the level of the event. Shortly after 10:30 pm and Virginie Efira’s lively speech, Brad Pitt made his entrance to award the Honorary César to American filmmaker David Fincher. The whole audience stood up with a smile on their face and stars in their eyes while they gave the Hollywood actor a big round of applause. The 59-year-old star – who doesn’t look his age – offered a humorous and spirited speech about the director of darkness with whom he has shot three films (“Seven”, “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”). Among other things, he declared that the American director was “the funniest bastard [he’s] ever met.” Later that same evening, Brad Pitt went to dinner at the Parisian institution Fouquet’s for the ceremony after-party.
His latest trip to the French capital wasn’t just a show of admiration for one of his mentors. It was also an opportunity for him to strengthen his ties with France, a country with which he has had a love affair for over a decade now. Brad Pitt seems to come more often to the country whose heritage and respect for artists he admires, whether it is to promote new projects, spend time at his home in the south, or develop more professional ties. Indeed, Plan B Entertainment (“World War Z”, “Twelve Years a Slave”, “The Tree of Life”, “Moonlight”), the actor’s production company launched in 2002 (with the help of Jennifer Aniston), recently merged with French audiovisual group Mediawan, which took control of it in 2022. Founded in 2015 by Pierre-Antoine Capton, Xavier Niel, and Matthieu Pigasse, the French company is behind the successful series “Call My Agent!” and the film “The Stronghold” (2020) by Cédric Jimenez.
The Miraval adventure
The romance between the hero of “Bullet Train” (2022) and Molière’s home country became official in 2008 when he and Angelina Jolie leased Château Miraval, located in Correns, in the Var department. They then purchased the estate in 2012. The sublime property, which looks like a village all to itself, includes a castle, a chapel, a lake, and several statures, extends over 600 hectares of forest and olive trees with several hectares of vineyard. Listed as a Maisons Nobles de France because the Prince of Naples settled there during the 16th century, the place eventually became the couple’s summer residence and an idyllic setting for their wedding. The fruity Miraval Rosé was also born there, now wildly popular at the top spots along the Riviera. More recently, the estate launched a green, unisex skincare brand called Le Domaine.
The property was hotly disputed in the couple's divorce and despite rumours of the estate being listed for sale, Pitt was adamant about keeping it, calling the winery his "passion project". Clearly intent on making France his partial home, he has made several moves to tie himself here professionally.
In October 2022, Brad Pitt and Damien Quintard, an Emmy Award-winning French producer and collaborator of Arca and Brian Eno, finally re-opened the legendary Miraval Studios, the small recording studio on the estate that has hosted Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Cure, Sade, Sting, and Courtney Love, among others, for album recording sessions. After a year-long, state-of-the-art renovation. The new Miraval Studios offers artist residency and all kinds of acoustic services, from music production to film scoring to architectural consulting.
Calling the South of France home
Aside from the many artists who would be interested in a residency at Miraval Studios, Brad Pitt himself plans to be spending a lot more time at his estate. In January 2023, persistent rumours arose, saying the actor’s potential semi-retirement might happen at Miraval. A move that doesn’t seem far-fetched considering all his ties to France. Indeed, last January, Pitt declared his love for France, hinting that he might spend more time here in the future. Invited to Le Journal de 20 Heures on TF1 for the release of Damien Chazelle’s latest film “Babylon”, the actor declared: “I spent a few months here last year and it was wonderful. There’s definitely a reason why painters chose France. I’m thinking of spending half of the year here, which sounds rather exciting.” Along with Scarlett Johansson, Mick Jagger, George Clooney, and Hugh Grant, the star ranks among the A-list of international personalities who choose to spend part of the year in France.
Since the South of France is known for inspiring the greatest artists in history, we wonder what six months in Provence will inspire this actor/producer/architect/winemaker/cosmetics mogul to create next…