Michael Pitt. Known by most as Martin Scorsese’s prohibition-era television epic, Boardwalk Empire’s James ‘Jimmy’ Darmody.
An actor, and an elusive, unsuspecting pin up for the indie generation, he’s also a talented musician. Pitt’s music career is somewhat overshadowed by the strength of his acting career, but the luckily for the actor, his two passions are often merged.
When he headlined Gus Van Sant’s Last Days in 2005, (playing a rock star based on Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain), he performed all of the songs, which closely resembled Cobain’s guitar and singing styles. On set, he met Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who had been hired by Van Sant to serve as the film’s music consultant. The pair formed a close bond.
Michael Pitt’s band, Pagoda was signed by Thurston Moore’s record label, Ecstatic Peace, and the band recorded in Milan and in 2007, released their self-titled first album. Pagoda has since disbanded, but the actor’s musical abilities are often conjured up in his film and acting life.
For Prada’s Spring/Summer 2012 campaign, Michael Pitt is re-modelled as a Golden Age of Hollywood studio icon in a striking series of performative portraits.
The star, who also featured in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, explores the language of male role models from the rock star to the playboy, from the self-reflective introvert to the engaging and humorous farceur.
These cinematic codes are revealed as the many sides and moods of Michael Pitt as well as the many aspects of men living in a post-modern period of extended leisure and work culture. Contemporary men work when they play and play when they work — the boundaries are no longer clear — as the campaign’s simple props and gestures emphasise.
Shot by world-renowned fashion and portrait photographer David Sims, the images are presented in rich tones and deeply saturated colours echoing 1950s studio portraiture, and subtly referencing the celluloid iconography of the Prada Spring/Summer womenswear campaign.
Watch the behind-the-scenes video here: