New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
15 May 2018updated 24 Jun 2021 12:22pm

Bill Pullman Q&A: “I harvest fruit all year round. I can grow anything“

The actor talks exotic fruit, YouTube and living in a hotel in Warsaw.

By New Statesman

Bill Pullman was born in 1953 in New York. He made his debut in “Ruthless People” and has also starred in “Spaceballs”, “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Independence Day”.

What’s your earliest memory?

Bundled up in winter clothing and trying to sled. Trying to keep up with my older brothers and sisters with all those heavy clothes on.

Who was your childhood hero?

My brother and I used to improve the woods in our place in the country. There was a very charismatic forester named Art Flick. He used to write for Field & Stream, a hunting magazine. He had deep forest-blue uniform and worn-in boots.

What was the last book you couldn’t put down?

Jim Robbins’s The Wonder of Birds. My father loved the outdoors. Nature was a good meeting ground to share in our family.

Which political figure do you look up to?

Ralph Yarborough, an unsung but instrumental Texan Democrat. He was involved in civil rights. He established the Endangered Species Act and set aside large parts of wilderness when America didn’t care.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Exotic fruits – I have an orchard in LA. I harvest fruit all year round. I can grow anything. My most exotic? The jaboticaba fruit or the concord grape.

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live? 

New Amsterdam when New York was being settled: an interesting melting pot.

What TV show could you not live without?

YouTube allows me to see snippets of old things, like Sergeant Preston of the Yukon: Royal Canadian mountain police dishing out justice in a Canadian way.

Who would paint your portrait?

My brother, James Pullman, is a painter. If someone in the family is an artist, what can they say about you?

What’s your theme tune?

With films I get attached to, I usually find a song. Something of the chord structure of the character I’m playing.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Instead of a piece of wisdom, I see advice as an affirmation. I remember a teacher who said, “You’re going to do well in what you decide to do.” That affirmation, from a person I respected, changed me.

What’s currently bugging you?

Vocal fry. I hear it and feel as if I’m speaking like that and need to take better breaths.

What single thing would make your life better?

I’m living in a hotel in Warsaw at the moment. It has blackout curtains; I sleep longer than I have ever slept.

When were you happiest?

When my kids and I harvest fruit we step away from the world we’re living in. Doing a simple activity brings a sense of ease.

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?

I was involved in founding a non-profit: organising pop-up kitchens to make things with fruits. There was a point when I thought: I could quit acting and just do this.

Are we all doomed?

The happiest countries are usually Scandinavian. Why? They don’t expect to be happy. They see the glass half empty. We might better think we’re all doomed than pump ourselves with a lot of optimism. Then we won’t be doomed. 

Bill Pullman’s latest film, “The Ballad of Lefty Brown”, is out now on DVD

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change

This article appears in the 10 May 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Israel vs Iran