Bill Pullman: mango expert. Who knew?

A recent bit of news from the celebrity grapevine regarding the underrated 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman caught my eye: he's actually an expert on mangoes as well.

It's a refreshing change from the usual "did you know Jeff Bridges is also a musician?" and "Francis Ford Coppola makes his own wines" fun facts. While it may not hold the same power as Kevin Costner's oil/water separation invention he recently flogged to BP, it's on a par with that titbit about Daniel Day-Lewis cobbling together his own shoes.

The story about Pullman is that he's long been a fan of rare fruits and when he's not appearing in the likes of 'Casper', 'Lost Highway' and 'Lake Placid' he grows them in his orchard at his home in Los Angeles.

The cult actor's hobby eventually went full circle back to his original career path - he will be appearing in documentarian Jung Chang's film 'The Fruit Hunters'.

Pullman tells, "I've been growing rare fruits for a while quietly in my spare time and it got into a profile two years ago and this Montreal documentary filmmaker read about it. We met about a year and a half ago and he's been building it and now we're starting to shoot.

"I just got back from Florida, the centre of tropical fruits, where they had the mango festival, so I'm gonna be on camera for parts of it. I was kind of the audience's eye into the world of the wildness of mangoes.

"There were 350 different varieties and I tasted over 25 different mangoes. There are mangoes like a Creamsicle or a Pina Colada. It's the fierceness of people searching for exotic flavors and they're all gathered there in Florida. For somebody who dabbles in horticulture, like I do, it was a thrill and a half.

"The next phase is we're gonna shoot in L.A. for a bit because there are a bunch of growers and eventually we'll end up at the Seychelles Islands."

If that news wasn't fruitful enough, he's also revealed that wherever he is he simply must taste the local variety: "In England I had gone into this nice Pakistani grocer that had incredible mangoes that we don't get here (in America). I bought some in the morning and had to carry them into my interview sessions (for Torchwood). I felt a little greedy carrying boxes and not offering them, so they (journalists) got offered mangoes.

"At the end of the day I still had some so I brought them into the restaurant and the bartender made mango martinis, mango mimosas, mango margarita and then mango parfait."

And you thought Oliver Reed's off-set drinking was exotic...

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