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Bill Pullman: ‘The term late bloomer sounds an awful lot like loser’

The Independence Day star landed his first major role in his 30s, but has since made up for lost time. Now he’s heading to the stage in a furious satire. He talks about family, fame and how Ibsen put him in a coma 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?’” The reason he took so long is theatre. Prior to Pullman’s Hollywood career, during which he has hopscotched from film noir (Lost Highway) and kids’ films (Casper) to horror (Lake Placid, The Grudge), romcoms (Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping) and a triumphant blockbuster (Independence Day), he spent much of his time directing and acting in plays. Even a catastrophic fall during a student production of Ibsen’s Brand, which caused a brain haemorrhage and put him in a coma for two and a half days, didn’t put him off. He was 21 at the time and playing the titular pastor who, at one point, climbs up an ice church, which in this production was constructed out of the bodies of the other actors. “I was climbing up on people’s shoulders, someone moved and then: boom! Down I came,” he recalls. “I never did go back to Ibsen after that.” Continue reading...

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