in partnership
Bill Pullman by Eye Steel Film.jpg
(Photo Credit Eye Steel Film)

Talking with Bill Pullman about 'Space Balls', 'The Sinner' & his newest passion project

For more than 30 years, Bill Pullman has been lighting up the silver screen. He's played just about everything from a prince, to a president. His film career began in 1986 in a movie that turned out to be a blockbuster, "Ruthless People".

"That was a fluke that I got cast," said Pullman. "And it was such a strange thing that such a small part could get kind of attention - but being the dumbest man on the face of the earth sometimes is noticeable, you can't hide that stuff."

From there, Pullman blasted off in a comedy that's become a cult classic.

"By all laws of survival it was not supposed to hang around," said Pullman. "It had mixed reviews. Now, it seems that the young kids discover [it] and they love it."

And then of course, he played Meg Ryan's fiancé Walter in "Sleepless in Seattle".

"I think in this day and age women would not hold it against a guy for having asthma," he laughed. "His sense of humor wasn't that awkward or embarrassing, and just the fact that he was such a generous guy. I got to sit on a stool in Pike Place Market where Tom Hanks was, so after 25 years Walter is back."

The actor also has a starring role on the small screen in "The Sinner" on the USA Network.

"We just went through the wild ride of the second season," said Pullman. "I'm a detective in a small town in western New York, which is actually where I'm from. It's a little bit dark, but I think there is great humanity of the characters. What can seem really just strange and creepy actually ends up having - you realize the motivation span behind people's denials and delusions."

More than 30 years after he started acting, the actor's son is joining the family business.

"We have our little tribe of artsy three kids, and they are all in the arts in LA," he said. "Which is a great privilege to share. This our son Louis who is 25, and he is an actor who is coming out in this movie 'Bad Times at the Royale.'"

And speaking of family, Pullman's dad was a doctor and his mom a nurse. That connection inspired his newest role with ARMADA.

"ARMADA is this antibiotic resistance network that is looking to build a big bio bank to help detect super bugs," explained the actor. The network is based right here in Seattle. The idea is something you're probably going to start hearing about now.

"Every year you are going to hear more and more about it because it's - on a lot of levels - we are losing the potency of antibiotics," said Pullman. "[They're] being used a lot in the raising of meat and poultry. We've been looking at bugs for a while - but even longer, bugs have been looking at us. They keep adapting and adapting and adapting."

Pullman says it's not like cancer, or other illnesses that have been consistently profiled.

"They're always changing their nature and it's going to increase arithmetically worldwide," he said. "There's predicted to be 100 million people dying of it by 2030. So that's twelve years from now and that's a stunning increase."

Who knows? Pullman's new passion project of helping others may just be Pullman's best role yet.