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Cullen, Meat Loaf to Attend Special Friends

27 September 2001 No Comment

Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil
— September 27, 2001
Written By: Julien R. Fielding

My first impression of Brett Cullen came from his performance in “The Replacements,” in which he portrayed an egotistical, mean-spirited professional football player who gives Keanu Reeves and his band of misfits trouble.

Shortly after the film’s release last year, he arrived in the metropolitan area to support the Special Friends Celebrations.

At a meet-and-greet, I saw him – much taller in person – standing near the door, talking with one of his colleagues. He displayed an open, friendly attitude, so I took a chance on an interview.

Inwardly I hoped he wasn’t one of those types who treat reporters like cockroaches.

But he greeted me as he would an old friend and talked warmly about the charity event and cancer survivors.

The conversation didn’t last long, though, as he had other obligations.

Before he left, though, he told me a little about Yellow Rose, the production company he and Meat Loaf run.

Before my mouth could hit the floor, he had vanished.

The “Bat Out of Hell,” leather jacket-wearing singer and this golden boy, with a chiseled chin and athletic build not only were friends but also business partners? This was a story too good to let slip away.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to build on that conversation. Everything was so hectic.

So, when I learned Cullen would return for this weekend’s fund-raiser, I put in my request and crossed my fingers.

The actor phoned me Tuesday, with the same friendliness he previously had exhibited. But before I could broach the subject of Meat Loaf, who will join Cullen at Saturday’s Celebrity Golf Challenge, the conversation fell to current events.

“I was supposed to be in Mexico, on a surfing trip, prior to the (World Trade towers bombing),” he said. “My wife said how glad she was that I didn’t go because she said she wouldn’t have known what to do.”

The husband of a good friend of theirs, Cullen said, had a one-time meeting in the World Trade towers that morning. He called his wife after the first plane hit. She never heard from him again.

The father of a 6-year-old girl, Cullen said the events have hit him particularly hard.

“I wondered what sort of world have I brought her into,” he said. “That morning, when I turned on TV, I knew our world has changed. This has shaken so many foundations.”

A groundswell has occurred in the entertainment industry, he said, culminating in Friday night’s telethon, which he watched for about two hours. “The couch is still wet from all the tears,” he said.

The actor already has seen major upheavals occur in the industry. A friend he has at movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s office told Cullen that four projects have been put on hold.

“People don’t want to see all the explosions and special effects, right now,” he said. “There are some drastic changes (being made). You’re going to see a lot more feel-good projects.”

Since last year, Cullen has kept busy.

With a friend, he’s been writing screenplays and doctoring scripts. He even sold a treatment.

Acting wise, he played Charlie Martin in the live television production of “On Golden Pond,” an opportunity he said was the “highlight of his year”; played the owner of an airline in the television movie “Everything That Rises”; starred in the season opener of “Family Law” Tuesday night; and had a small part in his friend’s digital film “College.”

“Meat Loaf also has a small role,” he said. “He’s recording a new album. He goes to Europe in October to tour, then he’ll do a tour here in March. I bent his arm to come along (for Special Friends). He loves to golf and likes to gamble so I told him this would be at Harveys (Harrah’s). And that it’s so much fun but also very heartfelt.”

Cullen said he learned just how much three years ago in Seattle, where he attended a cancer survivor’s brunch. “It’s such an emotional event, hearing the stories of the people who have survived or who had a family member die from cancer,” he said. “It reaches into your gut.

“I’m here to raise some money for a great program,” Cullen said. “(As a celebrity) we have the opportunity to help others and raise awareness.”

He will be joined by hosts Marg Helgenberger and Alan Rosenberg, as well as John Aylward (“E.R.”), Jonathan Banks (“Fired Up”), Gary Basaraba (“Brooklyn South”), John Beasley (“Rudy”), Zachery Ty Bryan (“Home Improvement”), country singer Mark Collie, Cathy Lee Crosby, Peter Dante (“Big Daddy”), Ed Marinaro (“Hill Street Blues”) and Christopher McDonald (“Family Law”). A number of other celebrities also are expected.

The actor said he enjoys participating in the Special Friends Celebration, because it’s a way for him to spend time with some of his own friends.

“Alan and Margie are good friends of mine,” he said. “Alan and I did a movie together in 1987, which will remain unnamed. It was awful. I’ve know Chris (McDonald) for 20 years, Ed (Marinaro) and I both did ‘Falcon Crest’ and Alan Thicke has one of my horses.”

As for Meat Loaf, both he and Cullen are Texas boys; the former from Dallas and the latter from Houston. Oddly enough, they didn’t meet on their native soil.

“I was a big fan of his music,” Cullen said. “I was at a barbecue, about the time of the ‘Bat Out of Hell 2’ album, and a friend of mine told me to go outside and wait for (a guest) who he said didn’t know where the house was. I said ‘who is it’ and he told me it was Meat Loaf.”

Cullen went outside and waited. When the singer finally showed up, the men struck up a conversation that lasted about three hours.

They hit it off so well they went on a trip to Mexico together. “I’m like the little brother he never had,” he said. “And I’ve been told we act like two old married ladies.”

Still trying to reconcile the image of the two men, Cullen offered some assistance.

“Meat is funny and really sweet,” he said. “He’s a generous man, and when he’s in private, he’s a quiet homebody. Everyone thinks he’s a hell-raising, rock ‘n’ roller who rides a Harley. He doesn’t even know how to ride a motorcycle.”

“The funniest story I can tell you about Meat happened when we were in Mexico,” he said. “It was our second day at a golf tournament and the night before I drank a lot of margaritas. I didn’t have a child then so I could sleep later.”

The phone rang at 8 a.m., and Cullen said he groggily answered it. A little voice on the other end said, “Hi.” Cullen didn’t recognize him. He asked who was calling. The reply – Marvin.

Cullen’s friend, he said, is Marvin before he has his coffee and Meat Loaf afterwards.

“He’s sweet, but he can be ‘on’ when he’s in public.”

Interview: Brett Cullen was originaly published on 09/27/01 by The Daily Nonpareil

© Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil LLC

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