Brad Pitt got some reporting tips -- and a lot of stares -- during a visit to The Post's newsroom.
Brad Pitt got some reporting tips -- and a lot of stares -- during a visit to The Post's newsroom. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)
Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Post's Pitt Stop

Stop the presses! Brad Pitt paid a sort-of-but-not-really surprise visit to The Post's newsroom yesterday, and not since Denzel Washington's newsroom tour in 1993 did so many heads turn and so much workplace productivity swirl down the drain.

Pitt, 43, is in town researching his upcoming role as an investigative reporter in "State of Play," a Washington-based drama about hard-nosed journos trying to solve the murder of a young political staffer, according to production supervisor Kwame Parker.

In his signature gray tweed English racing hat, blue slacks -- not jeans! -- a tan blazer and a white button-down shirt sans tie, Pitt graciously offered a few waves and "heys" to in-house admirers while he spent four hours making the rounds with "State of Play" director Kevin Macdonald.

The visitors lunched across the street at Palette with Post Vice President at Large Ben Bradlee, Executive Editor Len Downie and political reporter Dan Balz. Then they took a tour of the newsroom and had meetings with Managing Editor Phil Bennett, Chairman Don Graham and Publisher Bo Jones. Finally, Pitt headed back downstairs for a chat with military affairs and Pentagon reporter Josh White and a catch-up session with investigative reporter James Grimaldi-- also known around the office as Pitt's Sigma Chi frat brother at the University of Missouri back in 1984.

"It was really a conversation about craft," said Metropolitan Editor R.B. Brenner, who is consulting for the filmmakers and spent part of the afternoon talking shop with Pitt and Macdonald. For his part, White reports that Pitt was polite, engaged in the subject and asked good questions.

The rest of The Post's scribes tried -- but not too hard -- to act nonchalant while gazing dreamily in the actor's direction. "It was like angels singing," one female employee was overheard saying after apparently making brief eye contact.

Pitt's partner, actress Angelina Jolie, was nowhere to be found (which was probably just as well, because we have these things called "deadlines" here). Ever the do-gooder, Jolie met with Colin Powell at his Alexandria office, and then with his successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. Jolie's rep says she reported on her recent trip to Iraq and Syria, and discussed Iraq's 4 million refugees.

A Day at the Museum

Don't call first lady Laura Bush a whip-cracker. Yesterday she took the morning off to visit the Edward Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, accompanied by some friends and staff members. Her chief of staff, Anita McBride, and her social secretary, Amy Zantzinge r, came along, as did newly engaged daughter Jenna Bush.

End Notes

Injured: George Clooney broke a rib yesterday when a car collided with his motorcycle. Clooney and girlfriend Sarah Larson, whose foot was broken, were treated at a North Bergen, N.J., hospital and released.

Charged: Britney Spears could get up to a year in the slammer and a $2,000 fine for her alleged parking lot hit-and-run last month. Misdemeanor charges were filed against the imploding pop star in Los Angeles yesterday.

Spotted: 1990s R&B sensation Montell Jordan performed "This Is How We Do It," among other classics, at Posh Restaurant and Supper Club on Thursday night. Meanwhile, NBC's Tim Russert, Lisa Myers and David Gregory dined with 13 others at Cafe Milano, toasting Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, NBC's parent company.

-- Marissa Newhall, from staff and wire reports

© 2007 The Washington Post Company