The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

'The Ballad of Lefty Brown'

Pullman stars in Montana Western


September 28, 2016

Jack H. Smith

Bill Pullman plays the title role in "The Ballad of Lefty Brown" which is currently filming at the Bannack State Park near Dillon.

Since his film debut in "Ruthless People" 30 years ago, Bill Pullman has made movies across the globe. During this time he has also made several movies in Montana, where he lives part of the time at a ranch near Cardwell.

Pullman, who has filmed such movies as "Cold Feet", "Bright Angel", and "Walking Out" in Montana, is once again filming in the state, this time playing the title role in "The Ballad of Lefty Brown", which is currently shooting at the Bannack State Park near Dillon.

In an interview on set Tuesday, Pullman said he takes great pleasure filming close to home and folding lives together that sometimes can be separate.

"When we are at the ranch, it's a lot of agricultural work. People say I go there to relax -- it's not that. Montana for me isn't fishing, and it's not hunting or snowboarding. I just fix the irrigation and work on the ranch, trying to figure out another angle to make things run better on my end of the ranch," he said. "So for me to fold in movie making is a real treat."

During filming Tuesday, Pullman was also able to work with family and friends on the set. Pullman said his son Jack, and two of his friends in Montana he's known for 40 years were all in the same scene.

"It's on the border of surreal," he said.

Pullman originally became involved with the project when Director Jared Moshe approached him. He read the script and was excited about potentially starring in the movie.

Pullman is no stranger to starring in Westerns, and discussed their importance in today's film making, adding Moshe understands some of the deep roots of the genre.

"I think there is an element of story telling in every genre that can kind of capture something that others don't. Science fiction might be cautionary tales, you know like if we don't do this, the Earth gets destroyed. With Westerns, it is kind of a sense of morality and code that gets either reinforced or disobeyed," he said.

Jack H. Smith

In "The Ballad of Lefty Brown", Pullman said his character has such an unusual premise because he is the sidekick who has been in the shadows of a legendary cowboy, and has never been his own man until the moment the legendary cowboy is assassinated.

"Lefty says I'm going to avenge his death, and everyone around him says you're not the guy that's going to do that, and things are going to end badly for you," he said. "He paws ahead and things go badly for him. That angle of a man that's in his 60's and suddenly coming into his own and discovering what he thought, and all these assumptions that he had proved not to be true. He has to reframe according to his own nature and find his own identity in this world."

The film also starts Peter Fonda, Tommy Flanagan, and Jim Caviezel, and is scheduled to be released in 2017.


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