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Paxton and Pullman--Two Great Actors, One First Name

By Richard von Busack

Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman
Good-looking, reliable, vaguely Midwestern thespians with a taste for fantasy and avant-garde projects who also happen to be stars of some of the most popular movies ever made. You'd recognize their faces in an instant, but you just can't place their names. Was that Bill I or Bill II in Twister? Isn't Paxton great in that new independent film Traveller--or maybe it was Bill Pullman after all ...

Paxton on being in the same boat with Pullman
"The people who complain about Jim Carrey making $20 million barely understand business. Liar Liar's made $100 million by now. I'd say that the producers got their money back. I knew Jim when we didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. We were all three--me, Jim and Bill Pullman--trying out for anything we could get, after-school specials, anything." (Metro interview, April 25, 1997.)

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Richard von Busack's review of Traveller,
plus his interview with Bill Paxton.

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Help Is on the Way
To alleviate anxiety among filmgoers, we've prepared the following cheat sheet to help you tell Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman apart. Print it out and take it with you the next time you go to the movies.

State of Birth
Paxton: Texas
Pullman: New York

Birth Signs
Paxton: Taurus
Pullman: Sagittarius

Theatrical Schooling
Paxton: Studied with Stella Adler
Pullman: MA in Theater Studies

Biggest Hit
Paxton: Twister. Paxton played tornado-hunter Bill Harding
Pullman: Independence Day. Pullman played alien-hunter President Thomas J. Whitmore

As Rocket Jockeys
Paxton: Private Hudson in Aliens
Pullman: Lone Star in Spaceballs

As Cowboys
Paxton: Frank James in Tombstone
Pullman: Ed "Brother of Bat" Masterson in Wyatt Earp

As Vampires
Paxton: Western vampire "Severen" in Near Dark
Pullman: Has not played vampires but probably would have no qualms against playing one if the script was well written.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Paxton: Flirting with the very butch Jeannette Goldstein in Aliens
Pullman: Flirting with somewhat un-femme Ellen Degeneres in Mr. Wrong

In a Band?
Paxton: Yes! Martini Ranch (c. 1985)
Pullman: No

Lynch Quotient
Paxton: Directed by Jennifer in Boxing Helena
Pullman: Directed by David in Lost Highway

Proximity to Kevin Bacon
Paxton: Co-starred with Kevin Bacon in Apollo 13 (zero degrees of separation)

Pullman: Co-starred with Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction; Fiorentino co-starred with Bacon in Queen's Logic (one away from Kevin Bacon).
Pullman co-starred with Paul Winfield in The Serpent and the Rainbow; Winfield co-starred with Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks!, Nicholson co-starred with Kevin Bacon in A Few Good Men (two away from Bacon).
Pullman co-starred in Bright Angel with Sam Shepard, who directed Jessica Lange in Far North; Lange debuted in King Kong co-starring Austin Pendleton; Pendleton co-starred in Starting Over with Kevin Bacon (three away from Bacon).
Pullman co-starred with Kim Novak in Liebestraum; Novak co-starred with Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm; Sinatra co-starred with Marlene Dietrich in Around the World in 80 Days; Dietrich co-starred with Orson Welles in Follow the Boys; Welles co-starred with Jeanne Moreau in Chimes at Midnight; Moreau co-starred with Brigitte Bardot in Viva Maria!; Bardot was in Spirits of the Dead, narrated by Vincent Price, who co-starred with Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands; Ryder co-starred with Christian Slater in Heathers; Slater co-starred in Murder in the First with Kevin Bacon (nine away from Kevin Bacon).

Web Pages
Bill Paxton: Yes. Has at least eight sites.
Bill Pullman: Yes. Has about five sites.

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