01/22/2007 at 04:05 PM EST
On Brad Pitt's road to Hollywood, it helped to have strippers in the passenger seat.
Talking about one of his first jobs at Newsweek's annual Oscar roundtable Saturday in Hollywood, Pitt said, "My job was to drive them to bachelor parties and things. I'd pick them up, and at the gig I'd collect the money, play the bad Prince tapes and catch the girls' clothes. It was not a wholesome atmosphere, and it got very depressing."
But it was not without its perks: Just before quitting, Pitt made a critical show business contact.
"This girl – I'd never met her before – was in an acting class taught by a man named Roy London," a famous acting coach, he said, according to excerpts in this week's Newsweek. "I went and checked it out, and it really set me on the path to where I am now."
He added: "Strippers changed my life."
On a more serious note, the Babel star, 43, talked about how becoming a dad has put things in perspective.
"When I started, I had this idea that the films I did defined me, and that my life would be interesting based on the characters I'd chosen," he said. "I don't feel that way anymore. I'm a father now. There are other things that are important to me. I was chasing something that wasn't fulfilling."
He added: "I caught myself on the phone the other day – Leo (DiCaprio) has been playing some real strong men these last few years, and I found myself saying, 'I want to play more of a man.' I got off the phone and I thought, 'No. Live like a man, and the movies will follow.' "