IT’S NOT AS THOUGH BRAD PITT SNEAKED UP ON US. You could hardly overlook him in Thelma & Louise, where he was the most lustrous mammal of the Golden West. In A River Runs Through It, at just about any sun-dappled close-up, your pulse stopped with a noise like the flavor-lock on a Tupperware lid. In Interview with the Vampire, you wanted to ride bareback down the slopes of his hair. By Legends of the Fall, where Pitt played a tormented member of a western clan, we knew what to expect. “Sinking below, rising above, going off, giving up taking charge, taking control” is how he described his character. And that’s the kind of year it has been for Pitt. The way he looks at the cop he plays in his next film, Seven—”The guy’s got no problems, that’s the key thing”—sounds like Pitt again. Except for an occasional go at the basketball hoop in his L.A. backyard, he doesn’t even work out. “He’s a good old domestic beer drinker,” says Nilo Otero, Legends‘ assistant director. “Nothing pretentious.” Whatever went into the batter for this beefcake, we wish we could have licked the spoon.