05/19/2011 at 09:15 AM EDT
knew from an early age that if he ever had his own family, it was going to a big one.
"I had a friend who had a big family when I was a kid. I just loved the chaos around the breakfast table and the fighting and the ribbing, and the mom making pancakes for everyone or the dad making pancakes," the actor, 47, and father of six tells the Associated Press in an interview at the Cannes Film Festival, where he premiered his new movie, The Tree of Life
"And I just decided then if I was ever going to do it – this left some indelible mark on me – if I was ever going to do it, that's the way I was going to do it."
Pitt, who has three biological children and three adopted children with Angelina Jolie
, says it's just his personality to go all in. "I know it seems extreme from the outside, but I've always kind of operated this way," he says. "When I know, I know, and why mess around?"
The actor has also said this week that his children inform his film choices, and that he wants his kids to admire him
as "a pretty damn good actor."