How on Earth Do Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat Even Know Each Other?!

A very serious investigation

Katherine Singh
(Photo: Getty Images)

If you’re a woman within a 100-metre vicinity of Brad Pitt, chances are you’re probs dating him (or at least everyone will think that you are). But it turns out that, some of the time, Pitt’s would-be partners aren’t of the DTF variety but the BFF variety instead. Such is the case with actor Alia Shawkat. Pitt, 55, and Shawkat, 30, were recently spotted taking in an art exhibit together visited at the Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles. In the photo, Pitt, dressed like a newsboy at Whole Foods, is photographed standing beside Shawkat looking very intellectual and chatty about said art.

While seemingly innocent, the celeb spotting came on the heels of several other public outings between the pair—including a few dinners—which stoked the dating rumours. So are they or aren’t they? According to a source for People, the pair are “absolutely just friends,” which begs the question: How the eff do they even know each other?

Here, an investigation.

So who is Alia Shawkat?

For those who aren’t aware, Shawkat is pretty much the indie queen of the silver screen. After getting her start on Arrested Development as the iconic Maeyb Fünche, Shawkat has gone on to star in other low-key hits like Search Party and Whip It and lend her voice to animated cult faves like Big Mouth. She’s probably best known as “that girl you know from that indie art film you saw in Brooklyn.”

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She’s also an artist (but more on that later).

’K, but where would Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat have met?

This is *the* million dollar question. Because folks, trying to connect the dots between these two and their friend groups is like CSI-level sleuthing. You may as well have one of those serial killer boards with the thumbtacks and string up on the wall of your house to find the connections between these two BFFs.

The only real tangential relationship between the two I could find is bonkers complicated (and involves other celebs). Perhaps…Pitt and Shawkat were connected by mutual friend Portia de Rossi. ICYMI, Shawkat and de Rossi both starred in Arrested Development as mother and daughter. De Rossi is married to a little-known talk show host named Ellen DeGeneres, who just so happens to be friends with Pitt (and also dated one of his ex-GFs LOL). Did the new BFFs connect at one of DeGeneres’s infamous birthday parties?

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Or, maybe, as an artist herself, Shawkat decided to take a gander at sculptor Thomas Houseago’s studio and stumbled across Pitt, whittling away at a hunk of wood. After all, after the demise of his marriage to Angelina Jolie, the actor did spend some time in 2017 working out of and “squatting” in that studio, as he told GQ in May of that year.

Or maeyb (most likely), Pitt—spotting Shawkat for the cool, indie art world darling that she is—had his people reach out to Shawkat’s people and set up and good old fashion art date! Or they just bumped into each other at the Guggenheim or somewhere equally LA.

What do Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat even talk about?

Well art, duh. ICYMI, Pitt is kind of an art bro now. In the same GQ profile, Pitt detailed his period of reinvention, telling the mag: “I’m making everything. I’m working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood. Just trying to learn the materials. You know, I surprise myself.”

And if that—and his new look which the mag described as “an L.A. dad on a juice cleanse, gearing up to do house projects”—isn’t enough to convince you of his status, Pitt has also been behind the scenes on a lot of seriously great films lately: acting as an executive producer on influential films like 2014’s Selma and 2016’s Moonlight (an aesthetically *gorgeous* film).

And as mentioned, Shawkat herself is an artist. The actor showcases her art under the name mutantalia and seems pretty keen on classic paper and pencil sketches. They’re very funky.

Maybe Pitt wants to make his own foray into sketching? Maybe they just enjoy a good chat about the rise of Caroline Calloway as an artist over a big mug* of matcha green tea? (*Mug handcrafted by Pitt, obvi.)

Is Brad Pitt there for the vibes?

TBQH, we shouldn’t be surprised that Pitt would want to befriend Shawkat. With his new persona and low-key lifestyle, the actor obviously thinks of himself as a young, cool art guy (he drinks matcha, for goodness sake). This is the man who has openly declared his love for perpetual sad boy and millennial fave singer Frank Ocean, telling GQ about the singer: “I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Ocean. I find this young man so special. Talk about getting to the raw truth. He’s painfully honest. He’s very, very special. I can’t find a bad [song].” Honestly, neither can we Brad.

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And it’s not hard to see how one could view Ocean and Shawkat as very much the same vibe: young, cool, artsy, averse to the spotlight and with a strong DGAF attitude. Is it a stretch to think that Pitt is slowly building an army of hip, millennial friends that will eventually make him cool enough to hit send on that FB friend request to Ocean? I don’t think so. Maybe the *real* question is: Is Pitt just trying to be BFFs with Frank Ocean?

Is it weird that Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat are pals?

Um, no. While they may seem like an unlikely pairing, it’s a-OK for Pitt to have female friends. As mentioned, not *every* woman he’s spotted with is a potential love interest. Haven’t you watched Maniac? Folks, men and women can be friends, too.

Secondly, they wouldn’t even be the most unlikely friends in Tinseltown. That award would go to long-time BFFs Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg. We’re serious. These two are legit friends, joined by their shared incarceration status and Stewart’s apparent persona as a badass.

Why haven’t these two released a line of edibles together yet?!

So is this Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat friendship a good thing or a bad thing? 

For Pitt, this friendship is 100% an upgrade for him. Not only is Shawkat an edgy artist, but she’s also super socially aware, frequently tweeting and speaking out about global human rights issues. She also just recently wrapped a performance of The Second Woman, a 24-hour-long show in which she reenacts one breakup scene with 100 different men over the course of a day, which honestly sounds like an IRL nightmare, but also art. Oh, and she was also recently in a Beck music video. She is so millennial, artsy and cool that hanging out with her makes Pitt—an aging man who for a while there seemed to be teetering on the edge of irrelevancy—infinitely cooler. As one source told E! News: “Brad has different friends in different walks of life and this is one of them. He enjoys being social with friends.”

I seriously love this for him.

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