As the price of making grandiose blockbusters creeps ever higher, so does the need to secure big openings in every market. In the case of "Troy" -- one of the most expensive films ever made, weighing in at around $175 million -- this is particularly true. Thus, when Brad Pitt sneezes, Warner Bros. catches a cold. That explains the panic surrounding Pitt's no-show at the film's Tokyo press conference due to "stomach flu." The show started without him, but mighty Achilles finally turned up, about two hours late, looking a little pale but thanking the doctor who "patched him up." Perhaps he got one of those infamous "vitamin shots" that Japanese docs love; he certainly looked as genki as Eric Bana or the rest of the cast as he joked with the audience and took questions.

On his choice of roles and work philosophy

Brad Pitt: I have been interested lately in these more iconic characters that represent more universal themes. At the same time, usually, whatever I've just finished, I want to go in the opposite direction. Whether that's an attribute or a fault of mine, I always want to go in the opposite direction of where I've been. . . . I'm looking for extremes, and contrast. I've found I've been happiest when I'm making something. It's that simple for me.