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.

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."

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."

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?'"

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."