In impossible-to-miss celebrity news, famed exes Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston virtually reunited last week for a script reading of Fast Times at Ridgemont High to raise funds for a coronavirus relief fund.
Organized by comedian Dane Cook, who it turns out is very much still around, the reading featured an array of high-wattage stars, including Julia Roberts, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and Sean Penn (who actually starred in Fast Times way back in 1982).
But the reading got much of its fan fervour for bringing Pitt and Aniston back together, keeping the video viral a week later.
The pair was married from 2000 to 2005 and, at the time, were one of the most photographed celebrity couples. When the two split and Pitt moved on to another high-profile relationship, with Angeline Jolie, he and Aniston still made frequent tabloid covers, with fans hoping the pair might reunite one day.
Their story was made all the more soap opera-esque when rumours surfaced that Pitt had allegedly left Aniston for Jolie while the pair were filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In a Vogue interview years later, Jolie even admitted to falling for Pitt during filming.
Aniston herself seemed to address and confirm the rumours in a 2006 Vanity Fair profile, after Pitt and Jolie did a suggestive spread for W, saying, “Brad is not mean-spirited; he would never intentionally try to rub something in my face. In hindsight, I can see him going, ‘Oh—I can see that that was inconsiderate.’ But I know Brad. Brad would say, ‘That’s art!’ There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing.”
In the many years since, Pitt and Aniston moved on. He had an army of children with Jolie and she married the far more interesting actor Justin Theroux.
But when Pitt and Jolie announced their divorce in 2016, and Aniston and Theroux followed suit in 2017, media headlines hungrily asked the question again: Might the two reunite?
For the first time in a long time, there was reason to add fuel to the delicious fire. Pitt was spotted at Aniston’s 50th birthday party in early 2019. And, earlier this year, photographs of the two embracing and laughing at the SAG Awards went – obviously – viral. Body language experts would have and probably did dub the entire exchange “flirty,” what with Pitt pulling Anniston’s arm back toward him, their eyes connecting, and his charm switch very much on.
Cut to last week’s Fast Times reading when the rumours reached a fever pitch, despite the fact Pitt has been spotted during the last month with his rumoured new girlfriend, 27-year-old model Nicole Poturalski.
It was a tough ask for us gossip-starved fans not to get a little overjoyed when the video opened with introductions and Pitt grinned into the camera:
She responded, twirling her hair, “Hi, Pitt.”
He then said, Joey Tribbiani-esque, “How you doin’?”
And she, ever so toe-curlingly, replied, “Good, honey. How are you doing?”
“I’m all right,” he said, that grin growing.
It didn’t hurt that the pair looked like Grace & Frankie on holiday, in their retro glasses, oozing California beachiness.
Things kicked up yet another notch (at the 38-minute mark) when the pair reached the bit in the script that had Aniston saying, rather smokily to Pitt, “I think you’re so sexy. Will you come to me?”
Pitt’s face, naturally, went a lovely shade of red, lighting hearts on fire all over the world, and leading these particular clips to pick up endless views. Needless to say, most likely did not bother to catch the rest of the reading.
With that, the life-long furor over whether the beloved actors will ever reunite continues and has many wondering why we still hold this flame, and if we even should?
On Friday, Riverdale actor Lili Reinhart tweeted, “Unpopular opinion: can we just leave Jennifer and Brad alone? Stop analyzing their every move and facial expression whenever they’re involved in something together. Let them live their lives in peace.”
Okay, sure. She has a point. After all, isn’t it kind of pathetic to sit around pining for a celebrity couple who have been split for years to get back together so the rest of us can feel some kind of tangential bliss during a time when everything seems to be going wrong and it feels like the world might be ending?
I’d wager a no. Even an absolutely not. While I don’t prescribe to the notion that celebrities sign up for torturous tabloid fodder each time they sign on for a new film, I do think this pair know exactly what they’re doing when they sign on to do a script reading together. And since headlines have re-emerged over the last year, after their respective divorces, neither has said that they have an issue. In fact, if Fast Times is concerned, they’re happy to fan the flames.
It is worth noting, however, that it’s Aniston who has often had to bear the brunt of that fodder, as a woman in the public eye. For years, she was hounded by tabloids that decided that it was because she had the gall to not want children that Pitt rightly left her to then have a horde with Jolie. She went through a brutal media cycle, in which Jolie and Pitt were placed on a pedestal day in and day out.
And Aniston has long been in a place in her career where Pitt is more of a footnote than a featured item. She was just Emmy-nominated for her lead role in The Morning Show, and will soon be featured in a Friends reunion, after “breaking the internet” when she reunited with her former sitcom cast on Instagram just last year. The woman does not need him. As he continues through a nasty custody battle and fends off criticism for dating much younger women, it seems more likely that Pitt needs her.
What I do know is that I, and many like me, do need them. Not together, by the way, because I’m not sure Pitt is quite the right match for Aniston, who deserves considerably better.
But it’s fun making a fairytale out of their story and it’s clear, after all the time that has passed, neither mind much. In fact, it seems like they might even enjoy it. And if there were ever a time to find solace in whatever corners of pop culture we can, it’s now.