October 24, 2004|Wearing a baseball cap and red jacket, Bill Pullman seems like any other sturdy middle-aged guy. He does, that is, until he talks. Like his screen persona, Mr. Pullman chews over his words with careful, delighted concentration--his speech is laced with just a hint of savoury, not the least because of his affection for "hmmm" as a lead-in to his laconic delivery. There's something about this vital sense of Mr. Pullman always being in the process of discovery (of evolving, if you will) that I suspect draws directors as creepily revolutionary as David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Wes Craven, and Thomas Vinterberg into his orbit. Mr. Pullman fights battles with himself in his performances, a sense of tension that's made palpable when he's matched with artists similarly engaged in refereeing the wrestling match between the intimate and the profane. In town for an experimental theatre project with which he's involved at the National Theater Conservatory, Mr. Pullman was joined for a few days at the 27th Starz Denver International Film Festival by Curtiss Clayton, who directed him in the filmed re-telling of Verdi's Rigoletto, Rick.