Late Bloomer…

Bill Pullman was 32 years old when he starred in his first film, 1986’s Ruthless People. This is, he notes, at least a decade later than most movie stars get their big break. “The term ‘late bloomer’ sounds awfully like loser, but I guess it’s what I am,” he says. “It sounds to me like a politically correct term for: ‘You’re stupid. Why did you take so long?’” …

Pullman talks in a low, laconic drawl but his eyes are bright and full of mischief. He has the air of a man quietly enjoying a joke that he’s not sharing with the class. When he’s not travelling for work, Pullman and his wife, the dancer Tamara Hurwitz, divide their time between Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles, and a cattle ranch in Montana that he has co-owned with his brother for 30 years. Nowadays he is mostly in charge of infrastructure – fence mending, irrigation and so on – although when his three children were young they spent long summers there, during which Pullman would roll up his sleeves and muck in. “If you’re having to plug meds up the butt of some beast, a lot of other things seem very manageable,” he says…

The last few years have been mostly taken up with The Sinner, the detective series in which he plays a grizzled cop grappling with past trauma. After the success of the first season, it was recommissioned as an anthology series, with Pullman’s character as the only constant. “I was really scared signing up for it,” he admits. “I admire actors who find joy in doing eight or nine seasons of the same thing, but my mind is too crazy. I thought I’d wither on the vine. But the showrunner Derek Simonds was great and we would talk before every season about where the story would go. So I never did get bored.” …As an actor, he says, “you want it to be lively, you want to hear ideas that you haven’t heard spoken communally in a while. You want to feel that charged energy of simple entrances and exits.”

Pullman adds that he has always enjoyed the fact that when strangers approach him to say “I really like you in … ”, he can never predict what film they will say. “I have no idea whether they’re going to say Casper or Spaceballs or The Sinner. To have that variety in my work makes me feel lucky. I always wanted to be the vessel, where I could get possessed by something.”

—  Louis Wise, from “Interview with Bill Pullman: ‘In acting, you can order the world’” (The Guardian, June 21, 2022)

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