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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Brad Pitt, Part Two; Interview With Marlo Thomas

Aired December 11, 2007 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Brad Pitt -- the man.
BRAD PITT, ACTOR: We want to build homes.

KING: His mission...

PITT: We will get this place rebuilt.

KING: Our conversation.

PITT: Hey, you're good at this. You've done this before.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Brad Pitt for the hour -- it's exclusive and it's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Brad Pitt.

Finally, after all these years, we have obtained the services of Mr. Pitt -- on a very important occasion, by the way. This is the debut of an extraordinary charity to help a much-needed project.

Thank you so much for doing this.

PITT: Yes. Thanks for having me and having all of us here.

KING: OK. So, first of all, isn't it a blight on somebody -- city, state, federal -- that this Ninth Ward ain't any better?

PITT: Well, no question. I mean but it -- you know, the Ninth Ward has got a lot of attention. And we're starting here because it seems to have the least -- or the most difficulty of coming back. But this is -- this is everywhere. You -- to see the extent of the damage and the extent of the people -- the extent of the lack of movement is -- I mean, this goes on for parish after parish after parish.

We're hoping we can take -- start here as a nucleus, but we can keep expanding on this throughout New Orleans and the Gulf Coast itself.

KING: OK, Brad, what do we want to do here?

PITT: We want to build homes. We call it MakeItRight.

KING: A good idea because it's wrong, right? Someone has done something wrong.

PITT: Well, it certainly illuminated the fact that there's a portion of our society that we're overlooking, that we're not taking care of. And so that's -- that's -- that's where it started from. It started from a gentleman I had met who was in his 70s, I believe, and was telling me how he had done everything right, according to the American dream -- getting a job and saving for a house and buying the house and raising his family and sending his kids off to school from that house -- and then it all being wiped out.

And you have to imagine, if everything you own is completely wiped out and insurance is not covering it. And you put on top of that, that -- you know, this -- it wasn't just -- you can't call this an act of God. This was man-made failures. This should not have happened. These were levee failures. This was mistakes with destroying the barriers that once protected this city. I mean and when you look at it from that perspective, the people are set up.

Now, I don't it's -- it was a dastardly, evil move on someone's part. It was a chain of events that culminated into this horrific event...

KING: Which...

PITT: But it can be fixed.

KING: And now we have MakeItRightNola.org.

PITT: Right.

KING: Now, that's all one word -- MakeItRight -- Nola is New Orleans, Louisiana. MakeItRightNola.org is the Web site you go to.

PITT: That's right. OK, so we're...

KING: For anything, right?

PITT: That's right.

KING: To contribute...

PITT: We're trying to send people to the Web site, because what we now have here are -- we can get families into homes by the end of summer. We -- you're going to see this community start to come back. And where we need help is we need America to come together like they did directly after the storm and help the families here meet that financing gap to build properly, to build safely.

And that's what we're trying to do here. So we're -- we are asking for foundations, for community groups, church groups, corporations...

KING: Rich people...

PITT: Yes, high net worth individuals -- to come in and adopt a house. We're calling this -- this pink, which I'll explain back here, the adopt-a-house campaign -- and to adopt a house, adopt 10 houses, adopt a little piece of a house. But for every $150,000 that comes in, a family will move into one of these new homes.

And in the process, this will become one of the greenest communities in the U.S., which will be exciting.

KING: You kicked this off with $5 million of your own, right?

PITT: Yes, I did. Yes, I did, because -- because I know we can do this. I believe it should be done. There's -- I will -- I'll debate anyone for on the reasons why we should be rebuilding here. There are multiple reasons, but no better reason than when you meet the families -- the families who are trying to get back, families who have been dispersed, families without a really clear-cut direction on how to do it or not do it or to relocate.

But, also, because I believe in the potential here to advance the practice of what I call intelligent building.

KING: So if somebody -- some wealthy person, of our viewers, were to give a check for $150,000...

PITT: That would be...

KING: That would be building a house.

PITT: They...

KING: That would be a house.

PITT: They are putting a family in a house. They are returning a family to their neighborhood. Done. It's done.

KING: All right.

PITT: And I also want to say that this is also set up where people can contribute at all levels. It's set up, if you go to the Web site...

KING: You can give $5.

PITT: You can buy -- you can buy the tip of the corner of the house. You can adopt that section. Or you can adopt a solar panel and give it to someone for the holidays as a...

KING: And you said earlier...

PITT: ...and give it to them in their name or ...

KING: ...homes will be here this summer?

PITT: ... A low-flush toilet. That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Homes will be here this summer?

PITT: By the end of the summer, you will see homes finished and you will see families moving in.

KING: All right.

How do you answer those who suggest that rebuilding in New Orleans could be folly given the city's vulnerability?

In fact, after Katrina, I believe it was a senator -- I forget who -- if you were planning the country today, you wouldn't build in New Orleans. It's just too hazardous.

PITT: I don't -- listen, we need a whole segment to talk about this. But I mean, for those very reasons, you shouldn't be building in San Francisco, you shouldn't be living in Tornado Alley. I mean, these are...

KING: Miami.

PITT: These are -- Miami, certainly. And let's not forget the Netherlands are 27 feet under -- you know, below sea level. This right here where we're sitting is like -- it is like two to five feet, as far as I understand it, right here. It's not that difficult to deal with.

But more importantly, you know, it's that there's no clear cut direction for the people. They're caught in limbo. And so if you're telling them to relocate and you find that location, great, let's do it. I'm all for it.

But that hasn't been done. They're enticing people to come back, but it's not really -- it's not a clear path for them to do it. And that's what we want them to do.

So the key is here, is that you build safely. And that is, you build to -- you build -- on any economic level, you build to the safety standards that FEMA has set forth, as far as height and height restrictions. You build with the latest -- the qualities for storm- proofing. And you build in safety mechanisms so you have access to the -- to a top, a covered shelter, power, in cases where if you were to get caught in a storm without fresh water and these kind of safety divorces so we don't ever, ever experience that again.

KING: Brad Pitt is our guest.

Now the Web site is MakeItRightNola -- that's News Orleans, Louisiana -- MakeItRightNola.org. That's all one word. You can go to that Web site to contribute, to learn more, to get more information. You couldn't help a worthier cause.

We'll be right back with Brad Pitt in New Orleans.

Don't go away.

What is Angelina like as a mother? She's been on this program a lot. I've known her a long time.

PITT: It's the - I think it's the greatest gift I can give my kids is that she is -- that they have such a fantastic mother.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTOR: A relationship is -- is not about having fun together. It's not about hiding behind each other and trying to protect each other. But it's about having a shared view of what you want to create and what you want to do in this world.

I need to feel strongly with Brad about how we raise our children, about what we think is right and wrong in the world, what we think is worth fighting for. And if you have that same view, then you can go through anything. And I mean you -- and when you die one day, you look back at your life and you went on the right journey together and the same journey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

We're in the Ninth Ward, where once stood many homes and driveways and people living. Brad can tell you what -- what once was here.

PITT: Right. And -- and will be again very shortly.

KING: We are in a "once was and will be again." Well put.

PITT: It's a stand-well (ph) community.

KING: What -- what defines home for you?

PITT: A family. It's all family. You talk to people here, and they'll talk about -- they'll tell you about a front porch culture where neighbor helped neighbors. There was a lot of barbecues, sitting on the front porch and stories and music. And that's it. It's family and friends, period.

KING: How have you handled the kind of spotlight you've handled?

How do you, Brad, deal with that?

PITT: Well, I -- you know, I duck and jive. Keep moving. Just keep my head down a lot.

KING: I mean...

PITT: That's been my -- that's been my modus operandus. But -- but for something like this, I -- I feel very fortunate to have it and then I can direct it this way.

KING: So then you can use it? PITT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

KING: But you have to -- in other words, you don't like public attention a lot, right?

PITT: I'm not good at it. You know, there's other people who...

KING: You're a very good guest.

PITT: Thank you.

KING: No, you're very responsive.

PITT: (INAUDIBLE). But yes, I'm just -- it's just not part of my makeup. But for something like this, I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. And...

KING: So you use the perk, then, to take advantage?

PITT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

KING: And there's nothing...

PITT: Well, it uses me and I use it so...

KING: How about the attention afforded your children -- good or bad?

PITT: Truthfully, I worry about that. I'm very concerned about that. They call out my kids by names and shove cameras in their faces. And I really believe there should be laws against that. I mean, my kids believe that any time you go outside the house, it's just a wall of photographers and people that take your picture. They -- that is their view of the world.

Now, I -- I worry about the effect it will have on them, but -- but we'll do our best and...

KING: You know, there are many, many laws protecting minors in many areas.

Why not one like this...

PITT: I would...

KING: ...if you're under a certain age, no...

PITT: Yes, I would love to see it. I mean, I think -- I think it should be. I think it's truly out of hand. They didn't ask for this.

KING: Do you guess what it might -- how it might affect their growing up?

PITT: Sure. I think about it -- I think about it a lot. But, you know, we'll make them as strong and respectful individuals as we can.

KING: Children who are adopted...

PITT: Yes.

KING: Bob Considine, the late Bob Considine was a columnist in Chicago. He wrote a great line once -- one of the best lines I ever read. He wrote: "I have four children. Two were adopted. I forget which two."

PITT: Ha-ha! Yes. That's great.

KING: Isn't that a great line?

PITT: That's great. It is so true. They are as much my blood as I am theirs. And they are brothers and sisters. And I look at this, it's -- one of them came from Ethiopia and one from Vietnam and one from Cambodia and one was born in Namibia. And they are -- they are brothers and sisters. And they have fun. And they squabble and they fight, just like any other family. It's...

KING: And they're all the same to you, right?

PITT: It makes me so proud.

KING: Yes.

What about Zahara from Ethiopia?

PITT: Yes.

KING: What is she like?

I mean, that's an interesting country.

PITT: Well, again, I'm going to -- it is a very interesting country and also a place that could use focus and assistance -- and they say the birthplace of mankind, as far as we know it right now. The oldest...

KING: Yes.

PITT: ...the oldest lineage of humanity.

But, well, here's where I'm going to start being private about my kids.

KING: Sure.

PITT: But she is an absolute delight. She -- I just can't see life without her.

KING: Do you want more children?

PITT: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes.

KING: Yes?

PITT: Yes, we're just getting started.

KING: Four and you're just getting started?

PITT: We'll see. We'll, you know, we'll probably crap out somewhere. I don't know. But, yes, we're not done.

KING: Doesn't it hit a point where there's too many?

In fact, there are some who would say people shouldn't have more than...

PITT: Well, we're, you know -- we -- we are -- we're fortunate that we can give them -- we have time to give them attention and -- and protect their upbringing. And we'll know when -- when we should stop. But I see it as such a positive right now.

KING: The biggest problem when both parents are successful in the same field?

PITT: I'm sure -- I'm sure that...

KING: You must have problems.

PITT: ...a weight on our kids. But, hopefully, you know, I'll probably be -- probably have worn out my welcome by the time they're old enough to really realize. And it'll -- it won't be that -- that important or overshadowing.

KING: How about effect on life, though, your own life? And...

PITT: How so?

KING: ...Angelina's life. Well, she gets a film offer to do a film in Paris. You've got a film offer to do a film in Brazil.

PITT: Oh, we...

KING: You have four children.

PITT: Yes, we take turns.

KING: She likes her script. You like your script.

PITT: No, we -- we just -- we keep the brood together. That's a law of ours. So we'll take turns and make sure we get time off in between for everyone.

KING: A couple of quick personal things. You don't want to answer you don't have to.

PITT: Yes.

KING: And then I'll go back to this at (INAUDIBLE).

What is Angelina like as a mother?

She's been on this program a lot. I've known her a long time.

PITT: It's the -- I think it's the greatest gift that I can give my kids is that she is -- that they have such a fantastic mother -- dedicated, kids first, really inventive and great fun for them and very, very protective.

KING: What was it like to work with her?

PITT: Well, it was -- apparently, it was great fun.

KING: You met (INAUDIBLE)...

PITT: We got on all right, right?

KING: Yes.

PITT: Yes.

KING: But what was it like?

PITT: Well...

KING: When you're getting emotionally involved with someone you're working with ...

PITT: Well, that came after, Larry. That came after.

KING: Yes?

PITT: But she is a woman of strong opinion and very specific beliefs and a great voice. I respect it -- and great intelligence.

KING: Do you fight a lot?

PITT: No, not really. We challenge each other a lot and have good fun with that, but...

KING: And how do you like being a father, the hardest job in the world?

PITT: The hardest job in the world -- the most rewarding job in the world. There's something to -- you know, we put long days in here. We're up here as soon as the sun comes out. And to go home and have dinner with your kids and have to discipline one of them who's out of line and still have the energy for that is -- I can't explain the fulfillment of that, but it is -- it is everything.

KING: Whatever is important is in second place, right?

I mean nothing -- nothing matches fatherhood.

PITT: I haven't found it. No.

KING: Our guest is Brad Pitt.

Now, again, I'm going to be -- keep giving this to you, because it's very, very important. The Web site is MakeItRightNola.org -- M-A- K-E-I-T-R-I-G-H-T-N-O-L-A dot org for information and contributions.

We'll be right back.

How did you name them?

Maddox, Zahara, Pax and Shiloh -- that is not Jane/Mary.

PITT: No. We -- I can't -- I can't tell you anything more than it just felt right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MOVIE CLIPS)

KING: Let's talk a little bit about films.

How did you get your first movie shot?

PITT: I don't (INAUDIBLE) which film.

KING: "Thelma and Louise," right?

PITT: Well, that was the first kind of entry into the -- the majors, as they say. Well, I had auditioned for it and didn't hear anything and found out an actor had gotten the part.

Let me -- let me jump back. First an actor fell out, then I got the shot to audition. And I recognized it as being a really, really strong part and great people involved.

Then I had that audition, didn't hear anything in a while, found it -- that an actor had received the part. That actor ended up falling out again and I went in again and read and didn't hear anything for a week and suddenly I did and that next Monday I was -- I was on the set.

KING: Now, does that make you, one, feel for other actors...

PITT: Oh, yes.

KING: ...who are out there pounding?

PITT: Oh, yes. It's a -- it's a lottery just to get a shot.

KING: Do you think you're lucky?

PITT: Absolutely. Yes.

KING: So you -- you've got to have talent, though?

PITT: You've got to have -- let's -- you've got to have talent to stay in the game, I believe. You've got to have talent to experience any kind of longevity. But to get -- to open up the door, it's -- it's pretty much a lottery.

KING: Frank Sinatra said that once -- there's a lot to be said for longevity.

PITT: I would agree.

KING: If you could last a while, you're doing something right.

PITT: I would agree.

KING: One other thing about your kids.

How did you name them?

Maddox, Zahara, Pax and Shiloh -- that is not Jane/Mary.

PITT: No. We -- I can't -- I can't tell you anything more than it just felt right.

KING: They just fell out of the air?

PITT: Yes. It just kind of -- we stumbled on it and after much deliberation and -- when it felt right, it felt right. I can't explain it.

KING: No -- out of nowhere?

PITT: Can anyone?

Yes. Yes. It wasn't a tribute to anything or anyone or...

KING: Well, Shiloh was a famous, what, area in the...

PITT: Right.

KING: ...(INAUDIBLE) Mountains.

PITT: Right. And there's a Neil Diamond song and...

KING: Yes.

PITT: ...a Civil War historical...

KING: It's a Civil War site.

PITT: Yes. And I also think it -- there's a lot of reflects.

KING: Maddox is a pitcher now, with the Padres.

PITT: OK. All right. There you go.

KING: You're passing it along.

What was your first major film where you were the star?

PITT: I don't really know. I guess I try not to think about it in those terms. But...

KING: You had "Thelma and Louise." You must have got a big bounce off of that.

PITT: Right. Right. And, really, a great opportunity when I got into "A River Runs Through It" with Robert Redford. I felt like I really did something special at that point.

KING: That was a special place, too, the...

PITT: Absolutely.

KING: Montana?

PITT: Yes. And special subject matter and a beautiful film and -- and one of the greats and still one of the greats.

KING: Who was the guy in it?

PITT: Craig Sheffer.

KING: What was it like being directed by Redford?

PITT: Well, at that time, I was just starting. But I would say daunting and also very, very cool.

KING: Yes. Well, that's right. You were a new actor.

PITT: Yes.

KING: You're new on the scene.

PITT: Yes.

KING: And Robert Redford is directing.

PITT: Yes. Yes.

KING: But you didn't say to him...

PITT: I just remember him telling me one moment, he's like don't sigh. I went, did I sigh? And he said, yes, you sighed. Don't sigh. It takes out the energy of the scene. And I don't think I've ever sighed in a -- in a scene since.

KING: Did you -- were you comfortable, uncomfortable being a kind of sex symbol?

PITT: Well, I'm uncomfortable now. What...

KING: You know what I mean, because do you think sometimes, when someone is good-looking, it takes away from their ability...

PITT: It's both...

KING: ...they're not judged as actors.

PITT: Well, it's both. I get opportunities that other people wouldn't and I also get pigeon-holed and have to -- have to fight my way out of it. But it's, you know, whatever your cards are...

KING: You were dealt them, yes?

PITT: Yes. And it sets me up, also, for certain surprises that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise. So I -- listen...

KING: And you do the "Ocean's Eleven" for fun?

PITT: Yes. And the "Twelve" and the "Thirteen" and...

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

PITT: Yes, I love those guys. They are -- they are good as gold, a great bunch of guys.

KING: Are you having as much fun doing them?

PITT: Probably more fun doing them. Yes.

KING: Like they're paying us for this?

PITT: Yes, a little bit. Yes. Yes. And it's not all just fun and games and jokes. It's also quite serious and -- I mean as far as the conversations. And just a really solid, solid, solid group of men.

KING: How did you like working with my friend, Al Pacino?

PITT: Great. Well, I -- you know, I only got one scene with him, but it was certainly -- it goes in my highlight list.

KING: (LAUGHTER)

He's...

PITT: He's -- he's everything, isn't he?

KING: He's special.

PITT: Yes.

KING: What's next?

PITT: What's next for me?

I -- you know what?

I really don't know. That's nice to say.

KING: You don't have a movie?

PITT: I do not. I officially do not. I'm going to see this through and we'll see.

KING: This is more important now, isn't it?

PITT: Right now, this is the focus, getting through these five weeks, seeing what kind of money we can raise and how many houses we're going to be able to commit to.

KING: By the way, in a little while, Brad will be giving us a little tour. We're going to do a little walking tour.

We'll be right back.

KING: So where do you -- you live here?

PITT: Um-hmm.

KING: And...

PITT: We live in a few -- I mean, we're a pretty nomadic family, as you can imagine.

KING: How do you work that?

PITT: But, yes, we have a base here.

KING: How do you work being nomadic in this kind of society?

PITT: We pack up the kids. We've got our system and it's truly a mobile unit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Can you imagine what this must have been like?

PITT: No, no I can't. And -- and, I mean, the few that are standing just represent the other hundreds that are -- that have just been demolished and wipe out and don't exist anymore.

CHARLES ALLEN III, PRESIDENT, HOLY CROSS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Get a hold of that. I'll tell you.

PITT: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Muck and wood and everything just rolling around.

KING: Somebody lived in there.

ALLEN: Oh, yes. Somebody lived in here. Children were once here. Their neighbors were there. But with time, we're going to make this right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

We're in New Orleans. We're in Ninth Ward. In fact, we may be sitting -- this was obviously something.

PITT: This would have at one time been someone's house.

KING: It could have been a house... PITT: Yes, it's hard to imagine...

KING: ... or a driveway, too.

PITT: ...that within -- on that night, within under 20 minutes this place had a -- the break was right over there and there would have been a surge of water that eventually climbed to 20 feet.

KING: OK, explain the pink.

PITT: OK. This is what we're calling the adopt-a-house campaign. It's part art installation, part act of social disobedience.

(LAUGHTER)

PITT: But it's really meant to work as a fundraising component. And we were looking for something that was -- that was loud and would get a lot of attention and that was also hopeful.

So what you see here is -- as you see these blocks scattered across this section of the Lower Ninth to represent the houses that were destroyed, the homes that were destroyed. And what we're hoping to do is, as a house gets adopted -- and this is going to be up for five, six weeks, five-and-a-half weeks -- as a home gets adopted, we will right that house and we will put it back on its foundation.

So, hopefully, this will be an art installation that will be constantly evolving. And by the end of this -- by the end of this five-and-a-half weeks, we hope to have a symbolically -- a symbolic neighborhood put back together. And that's the goal.

KING: How did you get this -- first of all, why did you come to New Orleans in the first place?

PITT: I just always had a love for this place. I mean, it's really like no other city we have.

It's got its own unique vitality and it's the home of Mardi Gras. And, I mean, where else can you do something as silly as this and people really enjoy it?

KING: We're going to talk about that. But, I mean, did you come here before Katrina?

PITT: Yes, I've been here since -- coming here since '94. I came here then for a film. I lived here for about three months and really fell in love with the place. And it's been a nice home for myself and my family.

KING: The people are like no people in America. There's something about the people of New Orleans.

PITT: I mean, you'll meet 7th generation families here. People, they are not leaving. They love this place and it's very important to them. KING: So where do you -- you live here?

PITT: We live in a -- I mean, we're a pretty nomadic family, as you can imagine. But yes, we have a base here.

KING: How do you work that? How do you work being nomadic in this kind of a society?

PITT: We pack up the kids, we got our system, and it's truly a mobile unit. And we plop down here and we plug into a school here. And...

KING: Then you go to Los Angeles?

PITT: Los Angeles, we're there right now for a month here while Angie is working and then we'll be back through here. And...

KING: Does the film dictate where you live?

PITT: A little bit.

KING: So what...

PITT: The film or whatever we're focusing on, yes.

KING: So you came here out of a love for New Orleans. Now Katrina happens.

PITT: Right.

KING: Can you imagine -- being an actor I guess you could describe what it must be like to seeing your home go away.

PITT: No, I can't imagine that. I tried to. Actually...

KING: The loss of a child would be the one thing I couldn't understand. Forget that.

PITT: And these stories are here. I don't know how these people are still standing with the verve and spirit that they have, but they are. They are, and they're coming back.

But to lose everything and then -- and feel like you would be -- that there's some kind of a recourse that you would be looked after in some way and not finding that over the last few years would really -- would really take a big shot at my belief in humanity. I would really struggle with that.

KING: It would be hard for me to have faith in coming back.

PITT: Precisely. Faith in anything.

KING: Anything.

PITT: Anything, Yes. Faith in people, faith in God. Faith in... KING: I am told that Hillary Clinton announced today support for this project.

PITT: That's fantastic. That's great.

KING: And I would imagine you would call on the other candidates, too.

PITT: Well, I'll do exactly that. I was really pleased to see we had already been shown interest from Senator Clinton's campaign and also from Senator Obama's campaign. And that makes me hopeful.

And yes, I might as well be so forward to challenge them all to adopt a house here. But more importantly, I hope this becomes and is one of the major issues in this campaign, because it's -- all the issues are right here. They need to be dealt with.

And I hope it's used not so much as a whipping stick for the past administration, but really used for the proving ground, an opportunity to address these issues of healthcare and education, reform. It's all here, it needs it. So if you can make it work here, it works.

KING: Are you supporting anyone, by the way?

PITT: I'm still -- you know, I'm still -- I lean -- I'm still listening, yes. I'm still listening.

KING: Would you ask the president to support this?

PITT: Absolutely. Listen, I'd ask anyone and everyone.

I'm asking my dad to support this. I'm asking my friends to support this. And absolutely, I ask the current administration to support this.

You know, there's no reason we have to stop here. We can get this place rebuilt if support just keeps coming. So I hope at some point there's more federal support even for a campaign like this. And we will get this place rebuilt.

KING: The Web site is makeitrightnola.org. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here.

PITT: All of this was unnecessary. It didn't need to happen. And we feel that there is a responsibility to right that wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're back with Brad Pitt. It's makeitrightnola.org. We'll keep repeating that because it's very important.

We're in the Ninth Ward, a ward that we hope is totally rebuilt in a fairly short period of time.

We're with Bad Pitt, the Oscar-nominated actor and producer as well.

Did you dabble in architecture?

PITT: I do now. It's always been a love of mine. And it was that love that brought me here and led me and others to reach out to the architects that we did.

KING: So you participate then with the...

PITT: Yes, I do a little of that.

KING: ... the little gadgets and...

PITT: And hope sometime to build in the future, yes.

KING: That means that you like geometry.

PITT: That's right. I do like geometry, very much.

KING: Oh my god.

PITT: Yes, very much.

KING: A friend said the only reason you take geometry is to learn you have to do things in life you don't want to do.

PITT: Really? That's hilarious.

KING: Who cares about it?

PITT: I mean, I (INAUDIBLE) on it.

KING: Geometry is an architect...

PITT: Yes, I liked it.

KING: So you helped -- you want to help design these homes.

PITT: I think I should stay out this first round. I think it would be egotistical of me to think I can do that. But -- so we -- instead, we called on the great minds to come here and answer these problems.

KING: Do you ride your bike around town?

PITT: Yes. Actually, when I -- I started riding bikes here in '94. It's a great way to get around. But yes, bike around this as we were setting this up. KING: Are we saying motorcycle bike or bike?

PITT: Both, actually. The bicycle's best around here.

KING: You like bikes -- well, motorcycle bikes don't work around here, do they too much?

PITT: Well, you know, they do out in the city, but getting around right here, it's the best way to get around.

KING: Do you get a personal reward out of this?

PITT: Yes. Sure. I mean...

KING: A personal kick to Brad Pitt?

PITT: Yes, because I -- you know, I can see and I knew -- you know, the question people usually ask is how do I help, how do I help? How can I help?

People want to help. It's in our nature. It's who we are as Americans. And here walking around it I saw potential. I saw how, and by bringing in a lot of people who really knew how.

And now there's hundreds of people working on this, and we're going out to the people at home and asking you to help us and get involved with this thing, and really begin a movement. And I'm telling you, I'm telling you, we're getting people in homes. We'll all be building homes, putting families in homes. And the only question is how big can it go?

KING: Some celebrities get involved in a project, get it going and then goodbye. Are you long haul here?

PITT: I can't speak to that but, yes, this is -- certainly it has to be a long haul project for it to work, and there is no turning back.

KING: So do you grab the lapels of your friends and have you been ...

PITT: Yes.

KING: You know, here he comes.

PITT: I'm a little shy to do that but in the instance, no, I'll be doing exactly that.

KING: How does Angelina feel about this?

PITT: Well, of course -- you know her to be one of the great leaders as far as helping and changing and shaping up the world as we know it. So yes, she's been nothing but supportive, of course.

KING: OK.

And don't forget, if you want to help, it's makeitrightnola.org. That's all one word, makeitrightnola.org. You can call in now.

We'll be back -- well, call in a little while so you can hear the rest of this.

We'll be right back with Brad Pitt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PITT: And again, we've set, you know, our initial goal at 150, but there are thousands and thousands and thousands of homes that need to be rebuilt, and can. We can do it. It's just -- we're just going to need the support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we don't want to just rebuild this community the way it was. We want to rebuild it better, smarter, more efficient, sustainable. We want to learn some lessons from Katrina and Rita, OK? There's a silver lining, we feel, to this whole story, and this could be a model and good example of how a community recovers post a major disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We're in New Orleans. We're in the Ninth Ward.

I want to come back to this. Just other things about your life fascinate me, like script selection.

PITT: OK.

KING: How do you choose what you choose?

PITT: It's -- whatever sticks against the wall at that moment in time. And sometimes you might sign on to something way in advance and realize you've grown apart.

KING: You just quit a script, right?

PITT: No, I didn't quit. I had definite beliefs of what it should be, and the director had his definite beliefs. And, you know, we got up against this writers' strike where we couldn't fuse the two.

So it wasn't so much of a quit. It was finding a like-minded person so the film could go on.

KING: Do you have to be the star?

PITT: I'm sorry?

KING: Do you have to be the star?

PITT: No, no, no.

KING: You would be fourth star? PITT: Well, I hope so. I try to be. I try.

KING: I mean, it's hard in your salary structure.

PITT: Well, no. I mean, the last -- I mean, I'd do it for the love of the film. Like "Jesse" basically cost me money to do. This last one I did in New York cost me money to do. You know...

KING: It cost you?

PITT: Yes, it actually cost me money. But, you know, some pay and it's a big blockbuster. And some it's the love of the art and you need to support it. And that's the way it works.

KING: You're 44 now, right?

PITT: I'll be 44 in a few weeks, yes.

KING: When is your birthday?

PITT: The week before Christmas, the 18th.

KING: Oh, did you used to get double presents?

PITT: Yes. Yes.

KING: You get them on the 18th and get them on the 25th?

PITT: That's right, hit it all in one week.

KING: How long do you want to keep on acting?

PITT: I don't know. You know, I always see it as a -- as a -- really a -- I see it becoming less and less a focus as I get older. I think it's really more of a younger man, younger woman's game. But, you know, I'll come in and play the...

KING: Do you want to be a 65-year-old character actor some day?

PITT: I would like to drop in if I'm still invited, you know, every few years or so. Look at Newman. I like the way Newman's done it.

KING: What a...

PITT: He's got such elegance and class to it all.

KING: What a way he...

PITT: Yes. Yes.

KING: How about theater?

PITT: You know, that was -- that was never my calling, as they say. So -- at this point, I would rather -- it takes so much time. There's other things I would rather be doing. KING: You were, though, a journalism major.

PITT: I was a journalism major.

KING: At one of the best journalism schools in the world, Missouri.

PITT: That's right, University of Missouri. Right.

KING: Why didn't you...

PITT: I didn't graduate though. I'm a credit and a half short or something like that.

KING: Why are you not a journalist? Look how much rewarding it is.

PITT: Right. Right. Right.

KING: You could go chasing these people that chase you.

PITT: Right. I don't know. I stumbled this way and it worked out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We welcome as part of this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, Marlo Thomas, the Emmy Award-winning actress and best known for her role on "That Girl." Father and later -- and her late entertainment father, Danny Thomas, founded the St. Jude Children's research hospital in Memphis.

The national outreach director for that hospital is Marlo. Been doing it a long time. She recently launched her fourth annual Thanks and Giving campaign.

Wow, reaching a 50 partner milestone.

And with her is young Christian Gizara, a 12-year-old former patient of St. Jude Children's Hospital, diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003. Today, he remains cancer free with yearly follow-up visits to St. Jude. He is also, by the way, a competitive swimmer.

There are lots of stories like Christian, aren't there, Marlo?

MARLO THOMAS,: There certainly are. And you know, he just came back from St. Jude.

You had your four-year checkup, right?

CHRISTIAN GIZARA, TREATED AT ST. JUDE'S FOR BRAIN TUMOR: Yes.

THOMAS: And what did they say?

GIZARA: They say I'm cancer free.

THOMAS: Cancer free.

It's very exciting. He's what it's all about, Larry.

KING. Yes.

THOMAS: I mean, it's why you have us on. It's why I go around the country talking to all these companies and getting them to sign up for Thanks and Giving. It's what the whole effort is about, for a little kid like Christian to be cancer free.

And you know, he had a very difficult brain tumor. He had a surgery at another hospital. And after the surgery he was still vomiting and dizzy and not feeling well. And his father was very concerned, and he called the hospital where he had the surgery and said, my son isn't acting right, he's vomiting, he's dizzy, it doesn't seem right.

And the doctor there said, oh, well, don't worry about it, he had a brain tumor, so of course. And surgery, of course he's a little dizzy and vomiting.

Anyway, it went on for a while and finally the dad went on the Web and looked up St. Jude and brought him to St. Jude and said the reason he's vomiting and dizzy is that they left a piece of the tumor in his brain. And so he went to St. Jude and had the piece removed, and now he -- and he had radiation. He had conformal radiation, which we're very famous...

KING: Christian...

THOMAS: I'm sorry.

KING: Christian what was the -- no, I want to get the story here.

Christian, what was the first indication you had that something was wrong?

GIZARA: A headache.

KING: How old were you?

GIZARA: I was 8 years old, just had a birthday. And it was about a month after on October 8th.

KING: What was your reaction when they told you had a brain tumor?

GIZARA: I was very, very scared and -- but thanks to St. Jude and God, they brought me through it.

KING: When you had the first surgery and things weren't responding well, were you more worried?

GIZARA: Yes, I have to say yes, but thanks to people like Marlo, who raise the money so the doctors and nurses could help me through all this, and with God's help, they did.

THOMAS: Isn't he adorable? Look at this kid...

KING: He is.

THOMAS: ... telling his story. God bless him. And you know...

KING: He's a Christmas gift?

THOMAS: Yes, of course.

GIZARA: Christmas gift? I really like baseball.

KING: Yes, good.

GIZARA: And this year I want a new baseball glove.

THOMAS: You got it.

KING: I got a feeling you're going to get one, Christian.

THOMAS: Going to get more than one.

KING: Where do you live, Christian?

GIZARA: Upstate New York in a little town called Amsterdam, and I live with my mom and my sister.

KING: What, does he go every year to St. Jude?

THOMAS: He goes every year. You know, we have a program called After Completion Therapy. So he will be a patient for the rest of his life.

We will follow him because we're a research center. We will follow Christian for the rest of his life.

We're going to want to know, you know, how his eyesight is, how his hearing is, can he have children. You know, just everything about him as long as he lives, because since we're a research center, it's very important to know how he's doing. And also, we continually change our treatments and make them and modify them so that they have the least amount of damage to a child.

The conformal radiation is in a millisecond second. I gets to just the tumor of the brain and none of the -- none of the good tissue. And that's why he's able to be a champion swimmer, learn in school, have his motor abilities. All of that would have been possible even five years ago.

Because no child is never turned away for a family's inability to pay, that means that we have to raise about 72 percent of our funds from the public, while most hospitals only have to raise about 8 percent of their funds. So our outreach is very important, and the Thanks and Giving campaign is a very big part of that outreach.

KING: Yes.

THOMAS: What we say to America is give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not.

KING: We're happy to participate every time this year.

By the way, for more information or to make a donation, you can go to www.stjude.org, or you can call 1-800-4-STJUDE. 1-800-4-STJUDE.

And during this fourth year of Thanks and Giving, when you shop at any one of the sponsors, the consumers, portions go to St. Jude, right?

THOMAS: Well, no. What they do is they ask you if you would like to add something for the children of St. Jude right at the cash register. And at Williams-Sonoma, they have people giving $5, $10, $25. Last year they had somebody give $1,000.

CVS pharmacies, Dollar General, Kmart, all of them, they just ask for -- just want to add a dollar, want to make a donation? And whatever you give is certainly going to help us raise the money to pay for these -- for all these kids' treatments.

We pay for the travel, we pay for their housing, their food, the drugs, the treatment, for as long as it does to make them well.

KING: Christian, how's the swimming coming?

GIZARA: Really good. Last year I went to the Junior Olympics and I won three medals.

KING: Whoa.

THOMAS: He couldn't do that if he wasn't all better.

KING: You're not kidding.

What are you going to do for the holidays, Christian?

GIZARA: Spend it with family and thank God for my life.

THOMAS: Oh, isn't this so great?

KING: Thank God, and throw in a little for St. Jude, too.

GIZARA: Right.

KING: Thanks so much.

Marlo, thanks. Great seeing you.

And Christian, Godspeed.

THOMAS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Marlo Thomas, Christian Gizara, all for St. Jude's. Again, if you want more information or you want to make a donation, call 1-800-4-STJUDE or www.stjude.org.

Marlo Thomas and Christian Gizara.

That's it for this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Stay tuned for news around the clock on CNN.

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