Bill Pullman Reflects on Remarkable Murdaugh Murders Transformation, Fast-Paced Filming & More!

Spoilers

If you haven’t tuned into Lifetime’s Murdaugh Murders: The Movie event, you’re missing out on a scintillating depiction of one of the century’s most heinous crimes.

And you’ve also deprived yourself of a remarkable performance by the acclaimed Bill Pullman, who we reiterate was truly transformative in the role.

The Murdaugh murder trial gripped the nation and sparked multiple documentaries.

It only seemed fitting that such a notorious case would not only appear on Lifetime’s True Crime slate but also that the two-part movie event helmed by one of the finest actors of our time would serve as the network’s milestone 500th original film over three decades.

The two-part movie event, and especially Pullman’s performance, stick with you and should be on everyone’s radar.

Murdaugh Murders: The Movie Key Art

We had the privilege and distinct pleasure of speaking with the legendary Bill Pullman about taking on this project and stepping into the shoes of one of the most high-profile killers in one of the most sensational murder trials in the past decade.

Murdaugh Murders: Part 1 Review: Gripping Peek at Affluence, Tragedy & Dismantling of a Legacy

We hopped on Zoom to speak with the warm, humble, and talented star about what inspired him to take the role, how the fast-paced and tight film schedule impacted his performance, and much more.

Check out our exclusive chat below!

Sly Look - Murdaugh Murders

What inspired you to jump aboard this project and play who is inarguably one of the most loathsome men in recent years?

Yeah. [chuckles] There was something about it. As I was reading through the script, I realized that there was some shame that I was feeling. And it was my own shame, and I thought, “Why am I reacting this way?”

And I realized that I was identifying — responding to what it is to hide and have a big secret nobody knows.

I was drawn to the idea of what it takes to feel like you just can’t stop — that once it starts, you just gotta keep going, you can’t be regretful. You can’t be shameful. I think he had a brain that was probably a little sociopathic — so he could be cut off from any guilt.

Prison Beige - Murdaugh Murders

You captured that well. There was such complexity. You gave us a remarkably nuanced portrayal of Murdaugh that I did not anticipate. I genuinely hope you make the rounds on the award circut with this film.

Thank you.

What was that process like trying to embody Alex Murdaugh? I know it was a quick turnaround filming; how did that impact your performance?

It was fast. Yeah.

I had done a play in London before this. As much as you make these movies over many decades, you still feel like your last one … you may have lost it before you get the next one.

Roughing Paul Up - Murdaugh Murders (tall)

I had been in the theater, and I felt like, “Gosh, this is a lot of lines, and there are a lot of tough scenes.”

But I felt I was in shape. I was mainly afraid that I would get fatigued. You have to go long hours, 12-hour days and everything. There was so much work in such a short amount of time because we didn’t have a lot of shooting days.

But I found that this role gave me energy. It got inside me, and it woke me up every morning. It gave me a little skip to get the coffee going, and I was off and running.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Beeman prior to the movie airing, and he mentioned that you were his favorite collaborative partner that he’s worked with yet and spoke of how much he loved this project.

Wow!

Alex Murdaugh Arrested - Murdaugh Murders (tall)

He raved about you and spoke of how you guys fed off each other. How was that partnership on your end? How do you feel it affected the final product?

Yeah, he surprised me. I spoke to him on the phone initially and had to decide if this guy had game or not.

There’s a side of him coming into work where he has to work fast. I knew he had a lot of adrenaline and a lot of reinforcement for shooting quickly. These TV series are so complex, and they require so many special effects and all that.

I was aware he had this kind of reputation. He can go fast. And I thought, “I don’t think that’s a good thing necessarily for this story.”

Killer in Mourning - Murdaugh Murders

But then I talked to him, and I realized that he agreed with me that Alex did love his wife and son. That doesn’t make it easier; it makes it more challenging to do that story.

Because then, how is that? That’s a paradox. How can you say that and then ultimately kill them?

Related: Murdaugh Murders Part 2 Review: Bill Pullman Delivers a Riveting Performance!

So that really bonded me with Greg. And then there’s also Stacy Mandelberg, the executive producer. We were a triad, the three of us. It was a great collaboration with her as well. We were lucky.

We had a great crew, a young crew in Vancouver, and many of them didn’t have a lot of experience at all. But they jumped right in and put in good work, 110%.

Paul Murdaugh - Murdaugh Murders

True Crime and Biopics are huge genres right now. You got to play Alex Murdaugh with great success. So, if you had to do another biopic, is there anyone else you’d love to play in the future?

Oh, my gosh. I wish I had thought about this before. That’s a great question to ask. It’s like you’re giving me an apple for Christmas or something.

Who else would I like to play? I would have to think about it.

Grinning Killer

I don’t think of myself as wanting to do true-life things. But I’ve had fun doing them. I did Jamie Dimon in Too Big to Fail. I played a lawyer, Harry Deitzler, in Dark Waters. I’m still in touch with him.

There are some interesting people.

If I were able to do Murdaugh Murders again, I wouldn’t mind being Creighton Waters, the prosecuting attorney. [Laugh] He’s also in a rock band! There’s a lot of mystery to that guy.

— This interview has been edited for length and clarity —

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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