Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow Had Instant 'Chemistry,' Recalls Director: 'I Wasn't Surprised'

In Ed Zwick's memoir 'Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions,' he reveals how sparks flew when Pitt and Paltrow first met

<p>Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Bryan Bedder/WWD via Getty</p>

Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Bryan Bedder/WWD via Getty

Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow clicked when they met during readings for Ed Zwick’s 1994 film Legends of the Fall.

In the new memoir Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years, excerpted in Vanity Fair, director Zwick, 71, writes how he could recognize there was “more than movie chemistry” when Pitt and Paltrow, then 29 and 20, did a test reading for the Western drama.

Writing that ultimately Paltrow was “too young” to play Susannah (the role would eventually go to Julia Ormond), Zwick says he “wasn’t surprised” the two would later step out as a couple at the film’s premiere event.

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<p>Bob Riha, Jr./Getty</p>

Bob Riha, Jr./Getty

Related: Gwyneth Paltrow Says Husband Brad Falchuk Reminds Her of Her Late Father: ‘I Finally Chose My Dad’ (Exclusive)

Pitt and Paltrow dated for three years, from 1994 to '97. After meeting prior to Pitt filming Legends of the Fall, the pair starred in the 1995 thriller Seven together. “[It] was major, major love at first sight,” Paltrow said on the Call Her Daddy podcast in 2023, reflecting on their whirlwind romance.

Two years into their relationship, the couple got engaged in December 1996. Six months later, Pitt and Paltrow broke up.

<p>Peter Sorel/New Line/Kobal/Shutterstock </p>

Peter Sorel/New Line/Kobal/Shutterstock

Paltrow, 51, and Pitt, 60, remain “friendly,” according to a Harper’s Bazaar interview with the actress in 2020. Plus, the exes reunited in 2022 for an interview on Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop. “I finally found the Brad I was supposed to marry,” joked Paltrow, who tied the knot with writer-director Brad Falchuk in 2018.

“It’s lovely to have you as a friend now,” Pitt told her.

Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years is available Tuesday wherever books are sold.

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