Hollywood actor Bill Pullman, best known as President Thomas J. Whitmore in the 1996 film "Independence Day," answered questions about his role in the movie “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” to a sold-out audience at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena Saturday evening.
After showing the Western film, Jared Moshe, the director-writer, joined Pullman to answer questions about the making of the movie. Pullman divides his time between his home in southern California and a ranch outside of Whitehall, and a good part of the movie was filmed in Montana at Bannack State Park.
Pullman plays Lefty Brown, a ranch hand who witnesses the murder of his partner, the newly elected Sen. Edward Johnson, played by Peter Fonda. Lefty Brown seeks to avenge his friend’s death with the help of a gunslinger and a U.S. Marshal.
Pullman and writer-director Moshe attended a sold-out screening in Whitehall on Friday as part of a benefit that raised nearly $10,000 for Whitehall’s Jefferson Valley Museum. While Pullman told Moshe he would “be tickled if (the movie) could be in Montana,” he said it was Moshe who fell in love with Bannack.
Pullman said the movie isn’t a “shoot ‘em up” Western and can move slower without a lot of editing and special effects.
“It’s really an intimate, tender story,” he said.
Pullman said Lefty Brown has more depth than the typical sidekick in stories, and said he’s an outsider but has deep friendships and a strong sense of loyalty. Pullman said his character also wasn’t written to be overly masculine.
“There’s a lot of good material there. ... He’s not just an alpha male,” Pullman said.
The independent film played in select theaters in spring 2017 and received a positive response. It went to Video on Demand last month.
Nearly 100 Montanans had small parts, were extras or worked behind the scenes, and some were in Helena Saturday to greet Pullman. Bannack was a mining town until the 1930s, but several buildings remain in their original state. The film crew added some furniture and other small details but mostly wanted to capture the natural state of the set.
Pullman and Moshe planned to be in Missoula Sunday evening for a screening of “The Ballad of Lefty Brown."