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Actor Barry Tubb to attend Marfa Film Festival screening of 1980s cult classic
Originally published in the Big Bend Sentinel on July 12, 2018
MARFA – Adding to the celebration of women for this year’s event, Marfa Film Festival is showing the ‘80s cult classic, “The Legend of Billie Jean,” under the West Texas sky at 9pm Saturday, July 14 at the Marfa Municipal Golf Course.
Before the never ending 24-hour news cycle thanks to social media, Billie Jean Davy (played by Helen Slater) goes on the run with her brother Binx (played by Christian Slater) and friends and becomes a hero fighting for what is fair after her brother’s bike is destroyed by a teen bully.
That teen bully named Hubie was played by part-time Marfa resident Barry Tubb, who will be in attendance at the screening. Tubb was 21 years old when he played Hubie.
“That was the beginning of my career,” said Tubb.
He was offered the role while he was filming his first lead role in a made-for-TV-movie called “Consenting Adults” with Martin Sheen and Marlo Thomas. He played a teenager who comes out to his parents. But he received his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card from his uncredited role playing a football player in Stephen King’s “Christine.” He also played a camp counselor named Dewey in 1985 film “Mask” starring Cher and Eric Stoltz.
Tubb played a trick on the director during the first days of shooting “The Legend of Billie Jean.” He was asked if he could ride a motorcycle, which he replied that he is a cowboy and that he doesn’t ride a bicycle. He didn’t mention that he used to race dirt bikes though. So he played it up a bit when he arrived on set in Corpus Christi.
“I tried to start it. I hit the horn,” said Tubb. “I think I played it up really good.”
It worried the crew as they had to film the opening scene with the bike the next day. Tubb laughed as he shared that he fi red the bike up and spun it around three times before he took off with it. He became good buddies with the stunt coordinator from that point.
Tubb’s next film was “Top Gun,” playing Wolfman alongside Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. His most notable role with the Far West Texas community is playing Jasper Fant in the mini-series “Lonesome Dove.” He recently made an appearance at the opening for the Lonesome Dove photo exhibit in April at the Jeff Davis County Library.
The last time Tubb saw “The Legend of Billie Jean” was in 2012 for the Discover Downtown Music & Film Festival in Corpus Christi. He introduced the film in front of 3,500 people.
His first reaction to seeing himself on the big screen was “Who’s that jerk that looks a lot like me?”
“It’s funny to see yourself when you’re 21 years old,” said Tubb. “I hope I remain as carefree as when I was 21 years old. Being able to work in Hollywood that young, it sends you on a path that’s far from the real world as you can get it.”
Tubb said he’s never figured out Hollywood and eventually moved back to Snyder where he currently lives when he’s not in Marfa.
He’s stayed busy in front and behind the camera though. He had a reoccurring role on the TV show Friday Night Lights. He wrote and directed the films “Grand Champion” and “Clown Hunt.”
Sometimes he watches movies and forgets that he’s in them. “The Legend of Billie Jean” is one that he remembers though.
“I made a living misbehaving,” said Tubb. “I’m pretty much the luckiest artist around, I guess.”