Over the course of the past decade, actor Brad Pitt has proved on occasion after cinematic occasion that he is a versatile and a vastly talented actor, not limited only to his handsome face and well-carved physique, as many a critic had originally charged. Now, sitting in this interview, discussing his latest, dramatic-action blockbuster, Troy, Pitt oozes both confidence and class, unmoved by praise or criticism alike.

From somewhere, a question about his body, on prominent display throughout the film ˆ something about so many hours at the gym. Pitt laughs.

"I dabble," he admits coyly, observing that physical appearance is now as important to an a role as the actor's as his ability to act. "I mean, it's what we do. Ever since DiNero put on 60 pounds for Raging Bull, he kinda set the course for it. He screwed us all. But I really hit it hard. Probably an impending mid-life crisis or something."

And all that work pays off, combining with Pitt's distant, yet focused, portrayal of the legendary warrior-for-hire, Achilles, to create a role that is both physically convincing and deeply engaging.

"His character is framed through experience, and sometimes he goes to extremes, but so much of it is perception," says Pitt, urging that physicality is almost as important as the best of dramatic performances. Internal and external alike. "That's all much more important to me. You put on what you put on to find character, but to me it's such an internal part."

Shots of his madly battling character leading an endless army of soldiers across a battlefield are every bit as intense as similar scenes in last year's war epic, Return of the King. That this film comes on the heels of three years of worth of LOTR foundation is something that Pitt is not so readily willing to dismiss.

"I see cycles come and go and it's a little strange how you'll see, like, three baseball movies come out of nowhere," observers the actor. "Or westerns. A lot of westerns coming out next year. But I think, definitely, in confusing times we'll reach to these kind of stories to help define things for us. That's what Gladiator kicked off."

And westerns seem a prevalent subject for Pitt these days. "I'm doing a thing with Andrew Dominick, who directed Chopper, with Eric Bana. We're going to do a thing called The Assassination of Jesse James. It's just being written right now."

As to whether Pitt enjoys playing the ambiguously heroic lead or the straightforward hero, Pitt answers with a sly, cryptic smile.

"Heroes?" he says. "I've never been good with heroes."

- By Kelly Dumouchelle

- Additional reporting by Chris Monfette

Dont't forget to also check out: Troy