"Matt is an excellent person and also very dedicated actor," Bill Pullman says about The Sinner costar Matt Bomer
Bill Pullman is feeling “lucky” to continue telling The Sinner‘s story.
On Thursday night, season 3 of the USA crime show will premiere, during which Pullman, 66, will reprise his leading role as detective Harry Ambrose opposite fellow actor and series newcomer Matt Bomer.
“I think that there is a side of this show which is a really surprising thing where you find that it starts with not just a criminal that is …. some twisted soul that needs to be caught,” Pullman tells PEOPLE.
“There’s many things that are explored in that journey. And more than it started with that car accident and someone experiencing what it’s like to be around someone when they’re dying, what does that teach you about what it is to be alive? Those questions can be so compelling,” he shares. “The fact that we get to ask those questions inside this noire story, I think we’re walking a good walk. We’re lucky to tell that story.”
Helping tell the story is Jessica Biel, who starred in the pilot and now works behind the lens as an executive producer for the anthology series’ third season.
Recalling the time spent on set with Biel, 37, Pullman says she was both uplifting and empowering to the cast and crew.
“She worked really intentionally there for the first season and now she comes back as producer. It’s always really distinctive to have someone who is a leader that senses that a big part of her job is to kind of uplift and empower,” Pullman says of Biel.
“I think that’s what she does when she comes on the set. She talks to the craft service people, she has good relationships with members names of people that are on the crew, camera, everything,” says Pullman. “She’s got her own way to be a producer.”
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For the show’s third installment, audiences will watch as Ambrose “begins a routine investigation of a tragic car accident on the outskirts of Dorchester, in upstate New York,” the season 3 description reads. “Ambrose uncovers a hidden crime that pulls him into the most dangerous and disturbing case of his career.”
At the center of the case is Jamie (Bomer), a schoolteacher and local family man who looks to Ambrose for support in the wake of the accident. The exact nature of Jamie’s involvement in the accident remains unclear — “We lost control,” he says in the trailer — but he does appear bloodied, and with a visible scar.
“Matt is an excellent person and also very dedicated actor,” Pullman says of his costar.
“He’s kind of like me in that we’re genuinely interested in other people on the set and we spend time cultivating good relationships with crew and everything. But there’s a certain time when you … kind of have to also … say, ‘I gotta go inside my bubble right now.’ I really admire how he could do that and he really stuck to it. You gotta keep going there over four-and-a-half months of shooting … [the] series,” says Pullman. “He did really, really well.”
In addition to revering Bomer, 42, as “a gentleman,” Pullman also praised his castmate’s generosity — and style!
“He’s thinking of generous acts to do for everybody. He gave me for my birthday this most amazing jacket that I wear and get all these compliments about. … It’s kind of funny … people praising my fashion. But thanks to Matt Bomer, I do. I get a little,” Pullman says of the “tan, canvas material” jacket.
As to how filming this season was different from the others, Pullman explains it was “an interesting experience” and physically challenging one this time around.
“I think there’s a level of kind of a physical challenge that happens that’s really, it gets more extreme … at times. We were shooting in the fall in New York and every other time we were in the summer and somehow the woods are where everything seems to happen in The Sinner at some point. It’s really where it gets very cold in the fall in November, December,” he says, with a laugh. “I think that those elements of the storyline and bringing it into kind of a more physical world has made it more challenging.”
And while Pullman is only portraying a detective in the show, he says he identifies with certain traits of his character, noting their shared “skepticism.”
“He never really has the kind of blind acceptance of what he sees in human behavior,” says Pullman. “He is kind of constantly calibrating to see what it reveals that’s maybe hidden underneath.”
Season 3 of The Sinner premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on USA.