Bill Pullman! Where do I start? What a legend!!! This shoot, an early Saturday morning, was at the rehearsal rooms of the Old Vic where Bill was to perform the lead in the play All My Sons.
We had set up lights and backdrop and soon after, Bill turned up casually, with a plastic bag in hand filled with alternative shirts. He’s a tall guy, and the beard I had got used to after watching The Sinner was long gone. We shook hands and started to talk. The problem with Bill is that he’s not only very interesting but he is also very knowledgable and interested in listening to whomever he’s talking to. This means that we ended up talking for quite a while. The dedicated hour for the shoot had slipped my mind. Maybe I was thinking that we were both enjoying the meet, so we’ll always be able to get some more time on the end. However, after a long chat I asked the publicist who was there if we could have more time after the shoot, and I was reminded that there was an interview to take place straight afterwards. (Whoops!)
Down to business! I was well prepared and ran Bill through the different setups and finished more or less on time. We shook hands and off he went with the journalist. After I had packed down I left my business card in his plastic bag with a note saying ‘Thank you!’. A little later that day I got an email from Bill suggesting to meet again, inviting me to his mango orchard in California, of which I replied that he’s welcome to come to Hackney and see my purple sprouting broccoli.
A few weeks later, Bill comes strolling off the train in Hackney. He stops by the house and we enjoy a croissant and coffee. The conversations were genuine and honest. Bill is a true legend and a people’s man. Celebrity status with Bill is just a byline - if not an obstacle - Bill is just that interesting and honest ordinary guy who you can imagine being a good friend for life.
I hope I will get a chance to visit Bill in California one day, or he comes knocking on my door when next in town. Until then I know I will be seeing him again, on a screen somewhere, doing an excellent job!
Shot for Sunday Times Culture