Superstar Brad Pitt can basically name his own price when starring in a film. Sometimes taking to the small screen for guest spots, Pitt went commercial when he appeared in a Heineken ad during the Super Bowl in 2005, with a cameo by this actor of My Three Sons fame.
Barry Livingston kept busy after ‘My Three Sons’ ended
In his book The Importance of Being Ernie: From My Three Sons to Mad Men, a Hollywood Survivor Tells All, Barry Livingston chronicled his acting journey that started in childhood. Playing youngest son Ernie Douglas on My Three Sons alongside Fred MacMurray and real-life brother Stanley, Livingston went on to appear in a plethora of films and TV shows. His brother and former co-star praised Livingston’s tenacity in landing roles after the sitcom ended.
“I watched my brother wisely reinvent himself as an actor after My Three Sons ended in 1972,” Stanley, who played middle brother Chip on the show, wrote in Livingston’s book introduction. “Most actors would have packed it in and started selling insurance or used cars. Not Barry. He headed off to work on the stages of Broadway and Off-Broadway, and began his career and life anew.”
Landing parts in top-billed films including Argo, The Social Network, and Zodiac, Livingston also showed up in episodes of Will & Grace, Mad Men and The Middle. Yet he recalled a major boon in his career when he was recruited for a commercial in 2005, though he received few details about the job.
“My commercial agent sent me on another top-secret audition,” Livingston wrote. “I was to meet with a casting director, Laray Mayfield, for a Heineken beer spot. Nothing more could be revealed. I went on the interview in the afternoon and booked the job that evening. No callbacks, again! That was highly unusual. Commercials always have callbacks.”
David Fincher directed Brad Pitt and Barry Livingston in Super Bowl commercial
Livingston soon found out that a top film director was going to be calling the shots for the Heineken spot, which had a major time slot.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when my agent said that my commercial was going to air during the Super Bowl,” the My Three Sons star shared. “They are the crème de la crème of advertising. Not only that, the spot was going to be directed by David Fincher! Fincher was at the helm of some of my favorite films: Fight Club, Panic Room, and Seven. … Bragging rights are at stake.”
Assuming that Fincher’s manning the camera was the big secret of the commercial, Livingston had another surprise when he found out who had the starring role.
“I reported to work in downtown Los Angeles about a week later, excited to meet Fincher and play my part in the hush-hush commercial,” he wrote. “I was going to play a doorman at an exclusive condo and work with another actor. After donning my wardrobe, a company van ferried me to the set where I met the other actor: Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt?! Wow, this job really took an unexpectedly cool turn.”
Brad Pitt got props from ‘My Three Sons’ star
Livingston went on to recall Pitt’s down-to-earth nature when they met on the day of filming, and his idea for their scene.
“I was just a supporting player in the commercial whose story had Brad Pitt, mega–movie star, eluding fans and paparazzi as he hunts for a cold Heineken,” Livingston wrote. “We were introduced, and Pitt said, ‘Hey, man, I should say Hi, Barry when I see you. You’re my doorman, right? We probably talk from time to time, don’t you think?”
The My Three Sons alum raved of Pitt’s kindness, as well as his unselfish pitch for when they shared the screen.
“Pitt’s simple suggestion spoke volumes about his generosity as an actor,” Livingston explained. “He put me on an equal footing as a collaborator, making the scene more believable. Trust me, I’ve worked with plenty of stars who don’t give supporting players squat. They take the bucks and run, particularly in a commercial.”
He added, “Brad Pitt is worth a million in my book. In fact, I heard he made a few million for that commercial. They pay you what you are worth in Hollywood.”
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