The Coen brothers are known for putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and their latest film Burn After Reading is no different. First there is Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) a CIA agent who just got fired from his job, which is of little surprise to his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton). While Cox turns to drinking and writing his memoirs, Katie delves deeper into her ongoing affair with federal marshall Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney).
Meanwhile, across town in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, the employees at Hardbodies Fitness Center, Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) come across a copy of Cox’s memoirs, certain they’ve found some top secret CIA files and of course chaos ensues.
Brad Pitt on his inspiration for fitness buff Chad Feldheimer:
“That was all me. That was all me in a former day. I really don’t know. It’s a mystery to even me and I’m somewhat disturbed by it all, including my other half. She’s disturbed by it as well I think. I can’t really say, it was just this idea of assuming or presuming a situation would go the way it’s supposed to go and it doesn’t. Then not understanding how there is any other realm of possibility.”