This story ran in Thursday’s edition of The Oklahoman.
Bill Pullman is in love.
It’s not with actress Mary McDonnell who played alongside Pullman, 56, as the first lady in “Independence Day,” or Sandra Bullock’s character from the romantic comedy “While You Were Sleeping.”
He’s infatuated with Oklahoma.
Why else would the New York native actor take a break from his role in the Oklahoma film project “Bringing Up Bobby” on Wednesday morning to discuss his movie career with about 60 young listeners, ages 5 to 18, inside the boiling hot gymnasium at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in southeast Oklahoma City?
Pullman answered dozens of questions ranging from his role as the space captain Lone Starr in “Spaceballs” to what it’s like to know Will Smith.
Pullman said production for the film wraps up on Aug. 14, but he’s eager to spend more time in Oklahoma.
“We’ve had good luck with lots of different locations,” Pullman said. “The great thing about Oklahoma City is that it’s a big city but it’s also kind of a small town, and you get to meet a lot of interesting people that have been very supportive of the movie.”
Pullman visited the Boys & Girls Club at the invitation of club program director Shaun Hunt, 28, who met Pullman at a house party in Nichols Hills last weekend.
Pullman said he doesn’t normally visit with new people when he’s busy making a movie.
“This is an interesting city… that has a great community spirit,” Pullman said. “And I thought that’s the kind of thing I only would hear about. I wondered if I would ever get the chance to see it.”
Besides visiting the south side of Oklahoma City, Pullman and the “Bringing Up Bobby” movie crew enjoyed a visit to Pops on Route 66, spent time inside the Round Barn in Arcadia and filmed near the twisted red sculpture in Leadership Square in downtown Oklahoma City.
In “Bringing Up Bobby,” Pullman plays an Oklahoman named Kent who accidentally hits Bobby (Spencer List) with a car and brings the child back to health with the help of Mary (Marcia Cross). Pullman said the inspiration to write the film came to director Famke Janssen after she spent time in Oklahoma visiting the family of her boyfriend at the time.
The film is the first directing job for Janssen. She is best known for her performances as the psychic mutant Jean Grey in the “X-Men” trilogy.
Pullman previously visited the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to receive the Wrangler Award for his 2000 television movie “The Virginian.”
Last year at this time, Pullman was wrapping up his acting role in the film “The Killer Inside Me,” which was based on a novel penned by pulp writer and Anadarko native Jim Thompson.
Pullman said he thought Thompson was a very important writer and “The Killer Inside Me” was interesting because of its merciless and unnerving portrayal of a serial killer dealing with psychosis. The film has received backlash for its graphic violence toward its female characters.
Pullman said he remembered seeing the film for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival when it received boos.
“There are certain movies you do that just aren’t gabfests right away,” Pullman said. “I think it’s not good for everyone’s experience to immediately have to give back. You’re in turmoil, emotionally.”
Pullman was still processing what he saw on-screen and didn’t discuss the movie with the crowd after the film.
“I wish I hadn’t been there,” Pullman said.
But as the negative buzz relaxed, Pullman said he was glad to hear the film fared well at Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
“I was glad I was part of it,” Pullman said. “And I was glad Oklahoma made the movie.”