Welcome to Random Roles, where we talk to actors about the characters who define their careers. Catch: They don’t know in advance what roles we will talk about.
Actor: Since his debut among the Cruel People in 1986, Bill Pullman Appeared in about 100 roles. While sleeping in the most inspiring president in the history of the film in both Independence Day films, Son Seduction went from a man who did not get his daughter neo-noir shoe. The continuation of the epic of foreign occupation was still a theoretical opportunity for the first time The A.V. The club spoke to Pullman for casual roles: in 2013, while returning to the fictional Oval Office and playing POTUS on the NBC sitcom 1600 Penn. Currently, he plays Harry Ambrose, who is undoubtedly less president of the US series Sinner, as a sensitive, semi-mixed detective with a back problem and a clear sense of determination. Before The Sinner finished his third season tonight, Pullman spoke to The A.V. The club is back for the next highlights of its eventful, decades-long career, which began after President Thomas J. Whitmore’s reflections.
1600 Penn (2012-13) – “President Dale Gilchrist”
Bill Pullman: From above, the first thing that came to your mind, along with the covert image of the show, was the Sound, sitting in the audience, and for 30 seconds they turned the camera on us and said, “We’re really going to run a 1600 Penn warning after us!” I wore a few pins and something on the show, and for some reason, when I went to The Voice, I wore a presidential pin inside my coat, even though I was there like myself. Not in character, in other words. As I sat there, I thought, “It was a weird thing, I wonder why I was dressed.” But I think it was one thing to feel safe wearing it in the office. You can see why people like it. (Laughs.)
Ə.V. Club: Looking at this game, it seems impossible for someone to suddenly say, “Well, for starters, we already know he can be president.”
BP: I met the director (Jason Winer) about a year ago and at some point he had to think about it for me, but he didn’t talk about it. So when I heard about it … I knew it well, and then I knew they thought it was a long shot. It was a situation where they didn’t know if I was against it or not, but I was on their wish list, so they went for it. I thought it was a long shot, frankly. When I heard about it, I thought: “Okay, I will read, but I don’t know. I’m not likely to be excited to run for president again. “More, because if there was a tension, it would be who I am for a while. I’ve been trying to diversify my whole career and I’m afraid of getting stuck with any ‘type’. But it really surprised me. I didn’t do comedy a while ago, I was interested in writing and really I was attractive and just thought, “I wish I could look more.” And I did.
AVC: Of course you’re not afraid of small screen work, but were you looking for a series?
BP: No. I get offers to do pilots and jobs, but I never felt like a good candidate. I think I always feel out of the culture, whether it’s a mother, a zeitgeist, or media management. Because I don’t watch TV and I don’t keep track of who’s doing what at the Hollywood Reporter. To be honest, I’m a little cold! When I watch some comedies on TV, some just leave me. I should probably leave him.
AVC: What are your favorite sitcoms?
BP: That’s right, I was saying, I’m not kidding! I watched Modern Family because Jason Winer was involved and I was really happy. Therefore, I would say that I want it. But I don’t think it’s a very good circular idea based on deep knowledge of the environment.
Cagney & Lacey (1986) – “Dr. Giordano ”
BP: Oh, mine. What you have achieved is amazing. (Laughs.) I was just starting out in my career, and I remember feeling lucky to have this part. I never sat down before, but I went downstairs, and both Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless were really polite and welcomed me, and I immediately felt like a member of the family. We practiced, I became a doctor, we talked in a hallway, and then they talked to me, and everything was very random.
Then all of a sudden we started filming, and they were all putting in extras, the gurneys were going, people were standing on the board, and I was completely crazy in the first fight. I thought, “I can’t remember my lines! It was all random and all this chaos at once! But then Tyne took me to him and said, “Stop here,” because he could see that I really couldn’t get anything, and we just went into a room, and he ran with me. He said patiently, “Don’t worry, it always happens.” Then I went out and did it, no problem. But then I realized that television is a very different game.
AVC: How did you first start your acting career?
BP: I was going to college on a vocational program for carpentry, and it was mostly an act of rebellion at the time. It was ’71, I didn’t want to go to Ivy League College and I just wanted to do something different. But then I went to a audition with a set of refrigerated students working for a game, and I was called by a man I was a lifelong companion. I said, “Okay, maybe I’ll do a few shows …” He said, “No, you’re not going to do any of the things you think you’re going to do. You go to college and get a theater degree. It’s a good life. You want to.” So I did. (Laughs.)
(2011) – “Oswald Danes”
BP: Yes! It was a great adventure. In a very strange way. I never stopped liking in advance. It was a parable that there were indeed many social and political references. I will be executed with all my thoughts, and then I will not die. Then they realize that no one else is dead. I play the role of a convicted murderer and a pedophile, a person who wants everyone to die and see me killed, but when they can’t kill me, I turn around and start being a messie. I really enjoyed working with Welsh, including Russell T. Davies, who was the main man himself. Like producer Julie Gardner, she was great. They are great people, just like everyone else. The cast was also lower than John (Barrowman).
AVC: It’s not that you haven’t seen a dark material in the past, but you don’t seem to be the first choice to play a pedophile killer. How did you look at the mix? Did Davies approach you personally?
BP: No, it was just an offer, but then I talked to him. I used to do dark things. I’ve made a few with the Demons, including Observation with Jennifer and of course Lost Trunk with David. But Russell actually said, “It would be a lot of fun if you played a role because people didn’t expect it.” So I think he just collected it that way.
(1997) – “Fred Madison”
(2008) – “Sam Hallaway”
BP: My God, I remember the filming in Canada (Observation) and when I went to film … We were on a sound stage and they were building a set, so we were in a real area. After those first steps, I walked out the door, and all the Canadian staff, who were very friendly with me, suddenly seemed as if they didn’t want to take their eyes off me.
AVC: What does it look like to work with two different generations of Lynch? Are there any similarities in their styles?
BP: I just love em. I feel close to them as my own family, just because of the charm and the joy of being with them and the love I love. In this way they are similar. Although artistically, they are lacking. David is from an art school and never discusses psychology, and Jennifer comes from a place where everything comes from a psychological foundation. So they are seriously colorful.
AVC: How did David work? He has the reputation of being the most beautiful boy in the world, but his senses are as dark as they come.
BP: Yes, I was amazed that people always smiled when they talked about their bad behavior. With him, I think, under the facade of all this, it is this exciting fantasy world that drags us into behaviors that we do not recognize in our public life.
(2002) – “Jason”
BP: Yeah! You know, people who are reminiscent of that movie … To find those little movies that look unique and interesting, you have to have really good movies, and I think that’s appropriate. It was pretty strong for me. Growing up when I was 7, my mother had a lot of psychiatric problems, so it was sometimes really difficult for us. As with anyone who has a mother or father with psychiatric problems. At first you think that this behavior is unique only for your family, because you have no content for this or that, and it took me a long time to talk about it. But playing someone like that was actually more cathartic than I thought. I signed for it thinking, “Oh, I know something about this,” but I didn’t think much about what would be taken to me while I took the shower scene.
We were in New York, and my family came to visit New York, and I thought, “Well, you have to come to the rescue at any point in the day.” I’m in the shower, there’s blood, and everything else, and the assistant director comes in and says, “Oh, Bill! Your family is here!” I said, “Uh, okay, it won’t work. Tell him to go home. ”
Kasper (1995) – “Dr. James Harvey ”
BP: Yes, it was good that he was the one I was looking forward to taking my children with me. They were at the perfect age to enjoy all the magic, and Universal is here. So I thought it would be really fun to just take them far away from home and go to a tasteful house built on a Universal sound window. It was really impressive and a great place to visit. They watched the whole scene with me. I’m glad you can be a part of them.
Snake and Rainbow (1988) – “Dennis Alan”
BP: This was my third film, and I thought, “Boy, the movies will be so exotic!” (Laughs.) Because we went to Haiti, then to the Dominican Republic, and then there was a riot! That movie was such an experience. I became friends with Wade Davis, who wrote the original book and was almost my age, and found the whole world of ethnobotany and anthropological works, country, music … Everyone admired me. There are still many works from that set and from my home experience. It was a very significant experience for me.
(1998) – “Daryl Zero”
BP: It was … man, it’s all the crown jewels in my little treasure chest. (Laughs.) I think it’s one of my experiences, because it was just such an experience. When I was 13 with Jake Casdan, I met the Random Tourist Set and I really loved getting to know him. Later, when Wyatt was at Earp and making a documentary about him, I spent time with him and he said, “I want to be a writer and one day I want to write a screenplay for you. I said, “Really?” The thought “it will never happen”. When I was 21, I suddenly got an offer for Zero Effect. I just love his sensitivity and his whole approach. It was a great honor to work with him. This is another case of working with the father and later generations. I feel very rich because I can do this.
AVC: There was an attempt to make a series based on the zero effect, but was there any talk about making a real sequel in the film?
BP: I have never heard of it. I think it was exactly when the Titanic came out, and people don’t know why the movies weren’t made, but they never caught it. I remember hearing: “Oh, these are two movies: Friend is a movie and romance. And people like it simple. They want to know what they got. “Something like that. So I think maybe some money has been in people’s minds ever since.
(1987) – “Lone Starr”
BP: Man, yes. It was … (Laughs.) I just had a wild experience, didn’t I? In fact, speaking of Lone Starr, when shooting an episode of 1600 Penn … You know, you get these scripts two seconds before you have to shoot, and I was doing my normal thing. But there is a wedding in this episode, and I don’t think it’s too bad to pamper it – I stop making vows and they end each other, so I say, “Okay, let’s do this quickly.” Justice of Peace says “You …” and I do. “And you …?” “I do.” Then we kiss and run. And suddenly I said, “Wow, these people know their movies. I never said it was in vain.” And during the break, I walked past the monitors and said, ” It’s as funny as you put it in Spaceballs. ” And they said, “We did not understand.” (Laughs.) There are weird circles that, if they let you stay long enough, have these interesting ways of getting things back.
AVC: What do you remember about working with John Candy?
BP: I think about every movie I make because it was generous and selfless, and in a way that I didn’t really have much of a place in life. He was very good with the crews and just very generous, giving them things. I always tried to remember with every movie and every project.
Angel (1993) – “Andy Safian”
AVC: You worked with Mel Brooks at Spaceballs, but you also have the opportunity to work with Ms. Brooks-Anne Bancroft a few years later.
BP: Yes! Oh, man, Anne. And this was one of the many accusations. I thought, “Here I am, a man from western New York who works as a real pedigree.” But I would already feel very close to him because I came to LA to do a play and then I got The Cruel People, but I continued to work on another play at the LA Theater Company, and it was a strange passionate play based on the biblical character Barabbas. Mel brought Anne to watch the game when she thought I’d take her to Spaceballs, because they’re all theater people. So from that point of view, I would meet him, but then working with him on the same stage was a real thrill.
Cruel people (1986) – “Earl Mott”
AVC: Well, since I grew up –
BP: You know, sometimes you have a chance to go shopping on a slippery slope, to get out of the primitive machinations of the wannabe actors you work so hard to do your job, but this movie role happened because it was my job to paint. growing up from the show and I was unconscious. I had to be blonde to be this Russian tank commander, and now it’s changing. But the Zucker brothers … came to listen and laughed in strange places, then called me back and threw me like Earl. I asked, “What was that?” My lawyer said, “Yeah, I don’t know what that is, but they love you and want you to hold your hair that way.” (Laughs.) Random.
Officers (1992) – “Dr. Jeffrey Jamison ”
BP: That’s right- this is a surprise along the way. At first I rejected the part and Bridget Fonda and Cameron Crowe said, “No, you have to! You really want to be this, Bill. That would be great!” I said, “I don’t want to do that! I really don’t want to do that!” ? ” They said, “I told my lawyer, ‘Don’t say anything to them, just say,’ No, thank you, ‘because I don’t want to feel bad about turning them back, but I can’t.” “But” Why? ” They asked. So I explained that because it was a plastic surgeon, my father was a doctor, and he was a blood doctor all his life, and he was always talking about “empty surgery” and there were people who made a lot of money from drugs in this way … he was deeply disgusted with the types of wealth. That’s why I said, “That’s why.” I was on the phone with Cameron and explained, and he said, “Well, that’s all I said, I want to be in the movie.” That’s why he wrote it on film. He cut the path (part), but there was still something: “This is the last time I’ve been, I have to quit this job, I just don’t believe it, my father was a doctor.” And that’s it. So it was really something personal.
And on this note, the other side of Singles is that my part was a little bigger. It was such a romantic kind of living with a little girl as an older boy, and I hate it because we have such different cultures and everything. And then there was a break period when I came to the door, and Bridget was instructed that if you’re having trouble building a relationship with someone, or you’re breaking up with them, just imagine that you’re making too many concessions. I did all these scenes as I approached the door and suddenly I was in a clown costume, or talking to him while I was covered in mud and dirt. We shot all these epics, but before it was screened, I called him and he said, “Bill, I just want to tell you, I had to cut them all because I watched six characters. Bridget has something, but you’re late, and that was a lot of story, so we had to cut it. “So of course I said ‘No problem’, but I made the part better in this way. It was a real ‘little more’ learning moment for me. Since we never had a full relationship in the film, this connection in our behavior in the film. and there is the joy of rapprochement and each other’s company.
(2004) – “Peter Kirk”
BP: You know, it was something else I thought: “You don’t really have to do this part.” There weren’t many moments that were really great or anything for me. Basically it was just thinking, “What a strange way to start.” But then the idea of shooting in Japan with director Takashi Shimizu, I just said “OK”.
It was an excellent adventure; we shot it at Toho Studios, where they made all the original Godzilla movies, and it was true during the cherry blossom period, and I had Toshirô Mifune’s dressing room. It was really a very exotic experience. Working with Japanese crews and their production style is so different from the Americans. The most daring thing was that your shoes were not considered part of the wardrobe. They are considered requisites. I said, “What?” Who was I? I think because they want to present them to you on the set. Similarly, they would give you a watch and things like that and lift you up, then you would walk in normal shoes, you would wear slippers to go from the door of the noisy place to the edge of the set, and then when you sit in a group, they would give you shoes and watches to walk like Westerners. So this kind of thing was really very memorable.
Plus, working with Takashi … he’s really like working with the Japanese version of David Lynch, so he had an attractive personality and an interesting way of speaking, and he asked me to do interesting things. There was a moment in the script, first of all, where I got out of bed and said, “Baby? Honey? “I started walking towards the balcony and he says, ‘He turns to her and there’s a half-smile expression,’ and then you know he goes back out and comes out, and then there’s just a boom, and he falls on the balcony.” When we were preparing to do this, I told him: “It is written here that it is half a smile. What is a half smile? “And he thought about it for a long time. He had very heavy eyes and he would look at a place where you don’t know if he was facing a language or any problem, but he would always do the most poetic things. He said, ‘When I turn around and smile, I want half the audience to think you’re smiling.’ and I want half the audience to think you’re not. “I thought,” That’s great. “Some actors said,” What? I don’t know what that means. “But I knew exactly what he meant. I would say he basically said,” Do it. ” (Laughs.) But he said it in such a poetic way that I thought, “I got it.”
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – “Walter”
Last price (1994) – “Gil Gregory”
While sleeping (1995) – “Jack”
AVC: So what happened to your career in the mid-90s, every character you played for a while spoke romantically, to the point where you were killed by your girlfriend in Last Seduction.
BP: Yes, it was rude then. (Laughs.) But you know, there were just a lot of stories when the second man took the lead. I wasn’t in a position to take over the first male leadership, but I always wanted a part and I wanted to listen and take everything into account. I never set a time when you could define it that way, but as I immediately saw – because it took months for the movies to come out – “Well, that wasn’t my intention.” I just want to be a traveling actor and play a lot of different characters and a lot of different characters, from a Civil War guy to a per-editor to a crooked editor. But the fact that the girl rejected the second male lead was an example I did not see. Thankfully, it came around you while you slept. I finally got my daughter!
Harper Island (2008) – “Uncle Marty” (non-pilot)
AVC: Even though it’s mentioned on your Wikipedia page, many people outside the TV Critics Society haven’t seen your work on the original pilot site for CBS ‘Harper Island.
BP: Oh, mine. Have you seen
AVC: In fact, there is. CBS sent it out as a teaser before the end of the first proper episode, and when someone on the panel for the TV Critics Association’s press tour show asked about it, executive producer John Turteltaub called your appearance “While You Sleep.” please
BP: That’s right, that’s right. (Laughs.) But he’s a great person to work with, and I had a good time. I don’t know if it’s someone else, but it was at the last minute. Or maybe that’s what happened. Maybe the money only came together at the last moment. But he knew he wanted to buy it for someone and said: “Listen, I don’t have to do anything with the series later, but I need something now. It’s good if you do, it’s good if you don’t. “But I loved the chance to go there (British Columbia) and it was kind of confusing. I had a good time and the actors were good. I loved Elaine Cassidy.
Brain Dead (1990) – “Rex Martin”
BP: Oh, you know, I just went on a long journey in the memory lane with Catherine Hardwicke. He’s a great director now and in everything, but he was a production designer back then, and I was at a party two nights ago and we said, “Hey, remember all the shooting in Roger Corman’s woods in Lincoln?” How about those Corman-style films? Brain Dead, I think, is a way of life that most of those movies didn’t get. It was chosen as a religion loved by some champions. And I remember it was one of the first movies I got on DVD, not just VHS. . It amazed me. So it just didn’t fall apart. It was also a chance to work with Bill Paxton!
AVC: We would be sorry if we didn’t talk about it.
BP: Yes! I have always loved him and we have been together ever since and we have known and kept in touch. Maybe rarely, but we kept in touch. And every time I get a script with his name on it, and he gets something with my name on it. (Laughs.)
AVC: But Brain Dead is still the only movie if someone asks, “One with Bill Pullman or Bill Paxton?” The answer is simply “Yes”.
BP: (Laughs.) Absolutely. Absolutely B.P. thing, you know? It is interesting. But you know, it’s a good litmus test to see if people pay attention when they’re watching a movie.
AVC: There’s actually a “one.”Paxton or Pullman“An online quiz, you have to find out what movie people are in here.
BP: Is he there? I really saw that this could be a problem. Between the two of us, an oevr is hell. (Laughs.)
(1996) – “President Thomas J. Whitmore”
BP: You know, it was hard to believe at first. Could I play president? In fact, the first thing I said to my agent was “Is this a comedy?” Because I did not think of myself as a presidential material. I saw myself as more of a character or something than an iconographic one. But they said, “No, we want you as president.” I think I could stay inside like a bit of a germ until 1600 Penn, because then I thought, “Yeah, this comedy could be the president’s fun.” It can help me participate in the show. Plus, I did a parody version of Star Wars with Spaceballs, and I’ve always loved movies like Dr. Strangelove, movies with naughty moments in the midst of global emergencies. I loved the feeling of nonsense, which always seemed like a strange dream. And there are definitely some very strange things happening in that movie. But it was a very good experience, and people still say it continues. Many films of that time say that special effects were not captured, but they did not fall into the trash because they hit a classic tone with them.
Note: Below is an interview from March 2020.
Guilty (2017 -) – “Harry Ambrose”
Ə.V. Club: Sinner was meant to be a seasonal production, but now it’s your third season as the protagonist. How did you get to Sinner and how did you get your head around the first season?
Bill Pullman: Yes, maybe I was a little naive, because I was never part of a series that never repeats itself. I think I tried not to think about it much because it’s just a series, a season, but then (the creators talked about it) there is a time when each new season can produce a whole new actor, or maybe it’s the same group of people in different circumstances. There was always hope that they would watch Ambrose in a bigger way, and so I just remember hoping for it, or I think I would be happy if it worked, but I was ready for anything. I love that Ambrose’s journey has evolved and evolved over three seasons and has found its integrity, and we’ve had special guests – co-stars who seem to be new every season, with their own type of travel throughout the season. This story added to the level of surprise and I feel like I’ve been paid for three seasons.
AVC: In the last episodes, your character goes through something dark. For example, he was buried alive. How were these scenes for the shooting?
BP: I talked to Derek (Simonds, executive producer and writer) about the substantial progress of the story each season, and I remembered that I think it would be really important because it’s not just an idea. Obviously, his idea was very strong and bold, and I could have thought that part of it was the end, buried in the ground, but how it was shown, I really just had to trust me. Because you see it on the page, then you see it in the outlines, but I’m sometimes a little cautious, in terms of, in most cases, can they convey that? Ancaq bu iki mövsümdə Derek’in diqqət yetirəcəyinə və məni masaj etməsinə (süjet nöqtəsi) daxil olmasının ən mənalı olduğuna və həqiqətən lazımlı və mümkün bir şey olduğuna inandım. yalnız bir hekayə nöqtəsi sensasiyalı effekt üçün qurulmuşdur. Düşünürəm ki, buna nail olduq. Bir müddət çəkdi və bir qədər real düşüncə aldı. Mən də “köpək balığından atlama” termini öyrənəndə.
AVC: Bunu eşitməmisiniz?
BP: Mən bunu heç eşitməmişdim! Bəlkə ona görə ki, mən həqiqətən televiziya mədəniyyətinin bir hissəsi olmamışam və bu öz ziyanımdır, amma mən buna qarşı deyiləm. I just learned it in the sense of, let’s make sure this isn’t something outside of character possibilities and let’s make it connect to that character. So I did see Henry Winkler on a motorcycle jumping over a shark. But I think we avoided that.
AVC: Has The Sinner—or any other projects you’ve worked on, really—given you any insight into why “normal” people commit heinous crimes, as is the case in the show?
BP: Yeah, that’s the precedent of the first two seasons. It was someone very much like you and me having a shadow aspect that doesn’t manifest at first. This season, Matt (Bomer)’s character is a person that presents so normally and who seems to be aware of their actions and compelled by a hypersensitivity to what is disturbing in the world. Almost philosophically—well, not just almost. It is directly philosophically. There’s a sense of resisting this half-conscious, waking dream aspect to most people’s lives, and according to Matt, that makes him all the more prone to seek ways to stay present and in the moment. And there’s that aspect that I suppose has been part of Ambrose’s inclinations, as he is aware of those things that he is numb to. So there is a side of him that can’t deny that there is some premise to what he is saying that is real, but at the same time, he’s sworn (to fight crime) and that side of him is still in gear, but he’s dangerously close to uncoupling from it in certain circumstances.
Dark Waters (2019)—“Harry Dietzler”
AVC: What was working with director Todd Haynes like?
BP: I did like working with Todd. I really found that to be an incredibly productive workplace. Everybody felt valued, very special—everybody on the set, the crew—and everything else was really exemplary. He’s comfortable in his own skin and very, very supportive of actors. He’s got a very open, expansive work method. I felt so comfortable and it was a really good experience.
The odd thing was that I had an injury and then suddenly in January of last year I fell down on my back and so when I was in Ohio, I had such incredible pain during (that shoot). I had never had any problems with my back or anything like that and then all of a sudden I was in the hotel room crawling across the floor. I couldn’t get up.
I managed to go through that and I watched the movie and I really looked for a sign that I had it. But I didn’t see it, and I was really glad of that. But because I had mentioned it to Derek that I was having this incredible pain in my back, about a month or two later he calls me and says you know, we’re moving things along in the writers’ room and I really like this idea of you having a sciatic problem. So that kind of gave birth to that whole affliction that Ambrose has.
AVC: So something good came out of it. And you understood how to play a character even better.
BP: Well, yeah, that’s true. I had some first-hand experience and knew that it would come and go and would be different levels, and all of that stuff. But I was glad to be free of it by the time I finally got free of it… but then I was forced to reenter the zone.
A League Of Their Own (1992)—“Bob Hinson”
Bottle Shock (2008)—“Jim Barrett”
Nobel Son (2007)—“Max Mariner”
AVC: You have done multiple projects with the same people over and over again. You’re in A League Of Their Own and several other movies with Geena Davis. You did two movies with Alan Rickman in short succession. Is there an actor or a director that you think you’ve worked with the most?
BP: Well, you know, I’ve also worked with offspring of directors. Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner and David Lynch and Jennifer Lynch and Jake Kasdan and Larry Kasdan. That’s a gift I think, especially when you have kids. I have kids that are older now—they’re all in their late 20s and 30s and they’re on their way and everything, but now people are working with my son, Lewis, who is an actor. It’s some kind of real pleasure to know that. You meet some great people that you get to work with and you love to think that they’re aware that there is a connection through generations.
You know, I’ve worked with Holly Hunter both in movies (Nobel Son) and on stage, and I’ve always had huge respect for her. We did a lot of readings together and plays, and we’ve been friends for a while. But in terms of the ones who really inspire you to come to set and work, it would be Holly and Alan Rickman (Bottle Shock) for sure. You’d have scenes with him and feel his intelligence and his humanity and it really makes going to the set pretty exciting. And same with Holly.
Newsies (1992)—“Bryan Denton”
AVC: You were originally in Vice, playing Nelson Rockefeller, which reunited you with your old Newsies co-star Christian Bale. Did you guys reminisce?
BP: By nature of that part and everything, I think (Christian Bale) really needed to keep his own space and everything. So when they cast me in the movie I thought well, we have some scenes but it’s gonna be pretty quick, and I haven’t really seen him since Newsies days.
Anyway, I got to the set and was there early standing around the monitors when I sensed that some real heavy-set person was coming toward me and I thought, oh, this must be a very comfortable set where everybody just gets to walk up to the monitors and start talking to people, and that’s a good sign. So I see him kind of hovering and coming closer, but I’m talking away, and then all of a sudden I hear “Santa Fe…” and I remember thinking, “That guy must be a Newsies freak.” You know? He’s coming up to me, and he’s really out of control. And then I realized, oh my god, it’s Christian in makeup. I mean, I was a good ten feet away from him but I didn’t clock it for the first several seconds anyway.
Liebestraum (1991)—“Paul Kessler”
BP: I really loved that story. I’m not sure whether we nailed it exactly in the best way possible or not, but I did really enjoy working with Mike Figgis. He’s got his own style of storytelling and his whole sense of how to go after the movie and refine the dialogue. We would get together in huddles and run the scenes, just kind of listening to the dialogue many many times before going to step into places and shoot.
There’s a moment in that movie where there’s a party going on, and the Kevin Anderson person was invited to the party and my wife was there at the party, and I come into the kitchen and I see the two of them standing there and from afar I see something that threatens me, and it’s kind of referred to in the script, and in the take. So we shot it, and then (Figgis) said, “Okay, what I really want to see when you come into the room this time is every molecule in your body change.” That reminds me of a chemistry set. I’m not sure. But the way he talked… there’s a few directors that give these really good, oblique, poetic things that become good jumping-off places. It’s a little more objective.
AVC: Do you think you did it? Did every molecule of your body change?
BP: You know, I don’t know whether he picked the right take where I changed the most molecules or not. I left it up to fate.