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60 Years Of Brad Pitt: How The College Dropout Got His 1st Big Break In Hollywood

60 Years Of Brad Pitt

When Brad Pitt got on the stage of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to accept his first Oscar for acting in 2020 (Best Supporting Actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), he recalled the two people that gave him his first big opportunity in the industry 30 years prior, which led to a fruitful career: Ridley Scott and Geena Davis.

In the late eighties, Ridley Scott — one of Hollywood’s highest-profile filmmakers at the time — was working on a script written by then-music video producer Callie Khouri. The name of the story was Thelma & Louise and followed two friends who embark on a road trip. At first, Scott wanted to produce the film and find a suitable director; however, he decided to direct it after being convinced by Michelle Pfeiffer, who was originally chosen to star next to Jodie Foster.

Both actresses abandoned the project as pre-production extended. After considering Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis — who had pursued the role for almost a year — were chosen for the roles. As the casting process continued, Scott and his team began looking for an actor to play J.D., an attractive young drifter who gets involved with Davis’ character, Thelma.

In recent interviews, Davis has revealed several names that auditioned for the role of J.D.: George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo, Grant Show, and others were considered to take the part. However, a blonde actor from Oklahoma named Brad Pitt ultimately won the role.

“There were five candidates for the part,” explained Davis in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “They wanted me to read with them so they could see the chemistry. But they didn’t ask me afterwards what I thought about them.” The actress then offered to give her suggestion. Every actor but Pitt had brown hair, so, when asked whom she preferred, she just said: “The blonde one! Hello!” Billy Baldwin had been reportedly cast for the role but he and his replacement dropped out of the film.

Geena Davis and Brad Pitt in a scene from the film.Geena Davis and Brad Pitt in a scene from the film. Fotos International (Getty Images)

At the time, Pitt had been trying to break out in Hollywood for a few years. After quitting university he moved to Los Angeles and started to take acting lessons which led to him starting to play small and uncredited parts in movies and TV. Although he had his first leading role in a Yugoslavian-American production called The Dark Side of the Sun in 1988, the film was shelved because of the Croatian War of Independence. With some TV guest appearances and supporting roles, he was still waiting for his “big break,” which came after auditioning with Genna Davis. “He’s so charismatic and so incredibly talented that I was screwing up his audition,” she also admitted during the Graham Norton Show as she was re-telling the story.

Pitt told W Magazine that he didn’t get the part immediately. He had to try for the part three times until he finally won it. As for the role, it wasn’t a big part, but his screen time was enough for him to show audiences what he could do. “When you look at him, he’s like a really good-looking American sexy boy, and he could’ve gone on to a TV series,” said Susan Sarandon to EW. “But there’s something about him that knew how to take that and make it really interesting. You can tell by other parts of the movie that he was something special.”

One of the most remembered scenes from the movie is the love scene between Pitt’s and Davis’ characters, a sequence that is now called iconic, and which turned the actor into a sex symbol. In fact, Ridley Scott worked hard on that scene in order to really show the intimacy between the characters. Sarandon recalled the filming of the scene to Davies during an ET talk: “I remember Geena, you coming back after the scene the next day and saying, ‘Honey, they’re maybe not looking at our lighting, but Ridley was in there spritzing him down and the lighting was on him.’ They made sure he was getting every single ounce of hotness or whatever of Brad Pitt that could be.” Pitt reflected on the scene: “Geena was so sweet and kind and delicate. That love scene, I think, went on for two days of shooting. She took care of me.”

However, Pitt’s looks weren’t the only thing that audiences discovered while seeing Thelma & Louise. After the theatrical release, the audience was in awe of Pitt’s work. Sarandon said: “When I saw the film for the first time, he did so much more with that part than what was on the page that I thought, ‘This guy is special.’ And he’s a character actor… what he added was really clever. So, that was the first time I thought, ‘Well, this guy is really special.’ Because he brought a lot of stuff to it that wasn’t in the script.”

Thelma & Louise had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 1991, and quickly was critically acclaimed for its lead performances, its feminist premise, and Scott’s direction. For Pitt, the film was his big break. That same year he took the lead role in Johnny Suede, and in 1992 he starred in Cool World. The rest of the decade he released several hits — including Interview with the Vampire, Seven, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club and Seven Years in Tibet — that made him one of the world’s most famous actors.

“I’m really grateful to Ridley Scott and Geena, who gave me that shot, because that was the big league,” he told The Sun in an interview in 2020. “I had nothing to show for myself, except for my work as an extra, and they took a chance on me.” That was only the beginning for the actor, who has now a career of more than 30 years.


Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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