Eric Charbonneau / WireImage 1 / 16
Eric Charbonneau / WireImage 1 / 16

He's one of the biggest, most respected actors there these days -- with a probable Oscar nomination for his role in "Moneyball" -- but Brad Pitt didn't exactly take Hollywood by storm when he arrived in the late 1980s.

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The handsome 48-year-old graces the February cover of W Magazine, and reveals the first big-time role he auditioned for.

"My agent sent me out for two films," Angelina Jolie's man of nearly seven years says. "One of them was 'The Accused' with Jodie Foster. I was so excited."

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Foster, 49, won her first Best Actress Oscar in the harrowing 1988 drama in which she played the victim of gang rape.

Did then-fresh-faced Pitt try out for the part of a rapist? "Probably not," he muses. "With this face, I was probably up for the guy with the conscience."

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Alas, the audition didn't go so well. "I called up afterward and asked, 'How did I do?'" the 'Tree of Life' star recalls. "There were three seconds of silence and then: 'Have you ever thought about acting classes?'"

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Pitt's far more confident about his acting prowess nowadays. "I die really well, by the way," he boasts to W. "It's one of my strong points. I just take a bullet well."