Anthony Hopkins Tells Brad Pitt That the Meaning of Life Is in His Cat

“People say, ‘What’s your vision?’ I say, ‘I don’t have any vision.’”

(L) Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images, (R) Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Brad Pitt sat down with the venerable Anthony Hopkins for Interview magazine, and the two discussed everything from Hopkins’s dreams about elephants to how they both cry more with age to how Hopkins read that Pitt “had a struggle with booze.” Both have been on press tours: Pitt’s in two films with Oscar buzz—this summer’s Quentin Tarantino hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and auteur James Gray’s experimental space film, Ad Astra—while Hopkins is promoting his new movie The Two Popes. And they had a surprising amount to discuss—the actors worked together twice back in the ’90s, on 1994’s Legends of the Fall and the truly insane 1998 rom-com Meet Joe Black, in which Pitt plays Death on an earthly vacation (a particularly deranged clip from the film, in which Pitt is hit by multiple cars, went viral on Twitter earlier this year).

Pitt and Hopkins both share a passion for the arts. Pitt loves architecture, sculpture, and getting photographed at gallery openings with Alia Shawkat, while Hopkins is a prolific painter. Hopkins told Pitt that his wife, Stella Arroyave, pushed him to start painting before their wedding. “She said, ‘I want you to do some pictures for the wedding, a party gift,’” Hopkins recounted. “I said, ‘I can’t.’ She said, ‘Well, what are these? Just do them.’ She had them framed and given out. And then she said, ‘Right, now I want you to start painting.’ I said, ‘I can’t paint.’ She said, ‘Will they put you in jail? Paint.’

“People say, ‘What’s your vision?’” he added. “I say, ‘I don’t have any vision. I go in, look at the canvas, and just plop paint on it.’”

Hopkins spoke about his art and sharing it on his widely beloved Instagram account in a 2017 interview with W. “My wife will say, ‘Let’s do something in the studio, let’s put this on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter,’ and I actually sit there and say, ‘Oh, hi,’” he said. “I’m very pleased, because I’ve never done Facebook before. It was Mark Wahlberg who got me to do it, when I was doing Transformers and we were in London. He said, ‘Do you want to do a Facebook thing with me?’ I didn’t know what it was, but I said yeah, and that’s how it got started.”

In addition to his paintings, Hopkins often shares photos of his cherished cat, Niblo, on Instagram. He referenced the kitty while discussing the meaning of life with Pitt. “I was driving around Venice the other day, and I thought, ‘It’s all a dream. What a struggle it all is. It’s all an illusion, but it’s the glory of life, the sheer glory of looking for it in everything,’” he said. “And I’ve become aware of that now, more than ever. It’s in there. It’s in my cat, it’s in my dog, it’s in you. How could it be otherwise? I watch my cat jumping to a little pinch on the fireplace. Now, he can’t write a book, he doesn’t know anything about philosophy or mathematics. But how the hell does he do that? That is totally awe-inspiring.”

Related: Anthony Hopkins Is Surprised His Paintings Are So Popular