Remember back in 2019 and 2020 when rumours swirled that Arrested Development alum Alia Shawkat and Brad Pitt may be a thing? The pair had been spotted hanging out for months and it was just after Pitt’s high-profile split from Angelina Jolie. Eventually, Shawkat set the record straight to Vulture that she and Pitt were just friends. But now, the Search Party star is opening up even more about the experience.
In a new interview with The New Yorker, Shawkat reveals that those rumours pretty much rocked her world.
“It came in hot and left as fast as it came in,” she explains. “It happened during COVID, and I was alone with it. It was so weird. Now it’s like a weird dream, where I’m, like, 'Did that happen?'”
The 32-year-old actor revealed that people started following her and suddenly she was seeing her name everywhere.
“At the time, it was not fun at all. I’m not an actor who has ever dealt with the paparazzi. They don’t know who the f--k I am,” she explains. “There’s something ironic about it. It has nothing to do with Brad as a person—he’s a great f--king guy. But of course, the idea of me being romantically involved with an older white guy is what gets me the most attention. Not a twenty-year career. That’s what gets me.”
It’s not like Shawkat has had low-profile projects, either. As a younger actor she starred with Jason Bateman and the rest of the Bluth crew as Maeby Fünke in Arrested Development; she played Lila in Transparent; she’s played Dory on Search Party since 2016 (catch the newest season now on Crave); and she just wrapped a role on Being the Ricardos alongside Nicole Kidman.
All of the Pitt-related attention even reached Shawkat’s family. According to her, one time when she visited her grandmother—whom Shawkat notes is an Iraqi Muslim woman who has been in America for more than 30 years but speaks minimal English—she found an old gossip magazine with her and Pitt’s pictures.
“It says, ‘Brad’s New Girl!’ And then on the inside it’s old Instagram photos of me and friends at dinner. It was like, ‘ALL ABOUT ALIA.’ This whole made-up story about how we were healing each other by spending time together. I looked at my grandmother, like, ‘Why do you have this?’ She’s, like, ‘It’s you and this movie star! And it’s your face.’ I was embarrassed by it. I told her she had to throw it away. And she laughed,” Shawkat continues.
“It’s ironic and gross and stupid. But yeah, again, it was super brief. And I was fine. I was shaken up by it because I have a studio in Highland Park where I go every day,” she continues. “And I was, like, ‘There are these photos of me carrying way too much s--t to get inside. There are all these embarrassing photos, they had followed me there.’ Then they just disappeared, and now they don’t give a s--t.”
The newfound attention may have been awkward and unwanted, but Shawkat also reveals the one person whose life didn’t change in the slightest over the rumours was Pitt’s. He had no idea anything was going on.
“[Brad] had no awareness of it at all. Which is so funny. Because he doesn’t read that s--t,” Alia says. “I was like, ‘You know everyone thinks we’re dating? And there’s this whole thing, and I’m being followed.’ And he was, like, ‘I’m sorry. It happens. If you hang out with me, it happens.’ He had no awareness of it at all.”
Pitt and Shawkat met a few years back through producer/director Spike Jonze. "We just became friends, and Brad introduced me to his group of friends, and it grew from there," Shawkat previously said in the Vulture interview.
"All my friends were like 'What's going on?' and sending me photos," Shawkat recalled at the time. "I just felt overwhelmed. It's that feeling of being naked in school, like, 'Oh my God, everyone's looking at me,'" she continued.
"To them it's like, 'We don't get it! This girl is weird! She's so different! Why are they hanging out?’ You get too close to the prom king, and all of a sudden, everyone's like, 'Well, who is this b--ch?'"
Um, how about Alia freaking Shawkat? That’s who.
Watch Search Party season 4 now on Crave. You won't regret it.
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