Michael Carmen Pitt (born April 10, 1981) is an American actor and musician. Pitt is known in film for his role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, and in television for his role as Jimmy Darmody in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
Theater and television
Pitt made his Off-Broadway debut in 1999 in the play The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek at the New York Theatre Workshop. A casting agent, whom Pitt mistook as a police officer attempting to arrest him, noticed him and recommended him for a guest role on the television series Dawson’s Creek (he played Henry Parker in 15 episodes between 1999 and 2000).
Pitt’s breakout role as the lover of a transgender rock star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2001 led to supporting roles in Bully and in mainstream Hollywood fare such as Murder by Numbers and The Village, as well as the lead role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers.
Pitt next appeared in Asia Argento’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and starred in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days, playing a rock star “inspired” by Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. He performed all of the songs, which closely resembled Cobain’s guitar and singing styles. On set, he met Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who had been hired by Van Sant to serve as the film’s music consultant. The pair formed a close bond, with Moore writing, “[Gus] wanted me to hang out with Michael and talk about his character, and let him be in character. We ended up spending a lot of time together. My daughter Coco still relates to Michael as Blake from Last Days.”
In 2007, he starred opposite Keira Knightley in Silk, adapted from the novel by Alessandro Baricco. He played the lead role of Hervé Joncour, a French silkworm smuggler, who falls in love with a baron’s concubine while in Japan. The same year he starred in the romantic comedy Delirious as a young homeless man who befriends a celebrity photographer, played by Steve Buscemi, and falls in love with a pop singer (Alison Lohman). The movie appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. He also starred in Funny Games, Michael Haneke’s remake of his own 1997 film, alongside Tim Roth and Naomi Watts.
Return to television
In 2010, Pitt was cast as Jimmy Darmody in the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire (about the rise of Atlantic City during the Prohibition era), with Steve Buscemi. In 2014, he was cast in the recurring role of Mason Verger in the NBC series Hannibal.
Pitt sang and played guitar in his band, Pagoda, whose self-titled debut album was released by Universal/Fontana/Ecstatic Peace in 2007.
Under the title Jimi Pitt and the Twins of Evil, Pitt performed “Hey Joe” with the Twins of Evil for The Dreamers soundtrack.
In 2012, Pitt was named the face of Italian fashion house Prada to model their men’s clothes.