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Why Brian Plummer From The Equalizer Movies Looks So Familiar

In the action franchise that started with 2014's The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays an ex-Marine and Defense Intelligence Agency operative named Robert McCall who takes on a personal mission to tear down the Russian mafia gaining power in Boston. The action film, along with its sequel The Equalizer 2, are inspired by the 1980s TV series of the same name. In turn, the film series' success has led to another television show starring Queen Latifah, which is currently airing its first season on CBS.

In The Equalizer, McCall is a classic vigilante antihero, a brutal yet efficient killer whose vendetta against the Russian mafia begins when he meets an abused teenage sex worker named Alina (Chloe Grace Moretz) and decides to get her freedom back. Both The Equalizer and its sequel made about $192 million worldwide each according to Box Office Mojo. The franchise has received mixed reviews, but there is consistent praise for Washington's performance and the films' action sequences.

While the series features plenty of familiar faces, like Stranger Things' David Harbour and The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal, there's one supporting character likely to be familiar to most viewers, and that's McCall's friend Brian Plummer, played by Bill Pullman. The actor began his career all the way back in 1986, and he quickly started stacking up memorable roles in a wide range of genres.

Can't quite place where you've seen the veteran actor before? Check out the biggest roles of Pullman's career.

Bill Pullman played Lone Starr in Spaceballs

Directed by Mel Brooks, 1987's Spaceballs is a cult classic science-fiction parody film starring Pullman as Lone Star. The characters and plot are based on well-known sci-fi movies, with clear references to Star Wars, Alien, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and even The Wizard of Oz. Spaceballs also stars comedy legend John Candy as Barf, Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa, Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet, and Brooks as both Yogurt and President Skroob.

Pullman's character Lone Starr is a Luke Skywalker, Han Solo type of guy. He is in debt to a gangster named Pizza the Hutt (voiced by Dom DeLuise) and quickly develops feelings for Vespa. The movie isn't subtle about the parallels to pre-existing material, so it's quite easy to figure out who each character is supposed to represent. John Hurt, who played Kane in Alien, even cameoed in the film as his famous character, recreating his well-known death scene in which the alien bursts out of his chest. Brooks sent the script to George Lucas before he started production, and surprisingly the mind behind Star Wars was fine with the project — with the one stipulation being that there wasn't any merchandising done.

Although Spaceballs has a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, that's a far cry from the 83% Audience Score. Since the film's 1987 release, it has steadily grown to cult status, and many fans are still hoping for a sequel.

Bill Pullman portrayed Jack in the romcom While You Were Sleeping

Pullman took on a completely different genre with While You Were Sleeping, the 1995 romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock. In a story that could only happen in a romcom, Bullock's character Lucy, who works for the Chicago Transit Authority, rescues a commuter she has a crush on from getting killed by an oncoming train. Lucy accompanies the man, Peter Callaghan (Peter Gallagher), to the hospital where he falls into a coma, and a nurse mishears a comment she says and tells his family that Lucy's his fiancée.

The incident brings Peter's family together in Chicago, including his mother, father, grandparents, and siblings, one of which is his brother Jack (Pullman). Lucy is too embarrassed to tell the family the truth so she keeps up the lie for a while, growing close to the Callaghan family. Over time, Jack and Lucy develop real romantic feelings for one another, but Jack doesn't do anything about it because he thinks she's his brother's fiancée.

While You Were Sleeping has an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Critics Consensus saying, "While You Were Sleeping is built wholly from familiar ingredients, but assembled with such skill — and with such a charming performance from Sandra Bullock — that it gives formula a good name." The film is one of Bullock's first romantic comedies, kickstarting her long career in the genre. As for Pullman, While You Were Sleeping is one of only a handful of romantic comedy roles he has ever taken on. 

Independence Day features Bill Pullman as US President Whitmore

Arguably the role Pullman's most known for is President Thomas J. Whitmore in 1996's Independence Day. Whitmore must face the worst possible threat to the country when aliens attempt to invade. The unknown species deploys huge ships above every major city, inciting a worldwide attack and killing many people. 

Whitmore's hope for the human race is fading. Enter Captain Steven Hiller, played by Will Smith, a Marine and fighter pilot who captures an alien during an air fight. Along with Hiller is David Levinson, played by Jeff Goldblum, a satellite engineer. With their help, Whitmore is able to learn more about the aliens' plan and launch a significant counter-attack to hack into their systems and destroy their shields. They succeed, and forces all over the world can finally fight back and destroy the spaceships.

Pullman's character is mainly remembered for his big speech before they go to battle, declaring, "Should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!' Today we celebrate our Independence Day!" His speech includes a reworking of the famous poem by Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night."

A sequel called Independence Day: Resurgence came out in 2016, with Pullman reprising his role. 

Bill Pullman stars as Detective Harry Ambrose in The Sinner

Most recently, Pullman has gained praise for his performance as Detective Harry Ambrose in USA's The Sinner. While each season of the crime drama features a new storyline, Ambrose remains the connecting factor as he investigates each case. The series is named after the book by Petra Hammesfahr, the plot of which inspired the first season. 

In season 1, Jessica Biel stars as Cora Tannetti, a woman with a troubled upbringing who stabs a random man while on vacation. While she confesses to the crime, Ambrose wants to find out why she killed the stranger, and the shocking story of Cora's past unfolds over the course of the season. In season 2 of The Sinner, Elisha Henig stars as a 13-year-old named Julian Walker who poisons his parents in a hotel room. Ambrose returns to investigate the reason why with Detective Heather Novack (Natalie Paul), while Carrie Coon plays Vera Walker, a woman claiming to be Julian's biological mother. The most recent season, released in 2020, stars Matt Bomer as Jamie, a man who gets in a car accident that causes the death of the driver, Nick (Chris Messina), his old friend from college. Ambrose's investigation unveils a dark history between Jamie and Nick.

The Sinner has gotten consistently positive reviews, with the series getting a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Considering this success, it's no surprise that USA has ordered a fourth season, which is expected to air sometime in 2021.