The Circle director James Ponsoldt is remembering Bill Paxton with fondness as the late actor’s final film heads into theaters. Hollywood and fans across the world mourned when it was announced on February 26, 2017 – the day of the Oscars – that Paxton had tragically passed away the day before at age 61. Loved by fans and colleagues for his engaging demeanor, Paxton was notable for several high-profile films throughout his 30-year film and television career, including roles in Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, Big Love and Hatfields & McCoys, and more recently Edge of Tomorrow and Nightcrawler.
Just prior to his untimely death from complications from heart surgery, Paxton completed work on the CBS series Training Day, as well as The Circle, which stars Paxton’s Apollo 13 co-star Tom Hanks. In an interview with Variety at the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival Wednesday night, Ponsoldt recalled his work with Paxton. He says:
“Bill was amazing. He was one of my favorite actors for the longest time, going back to when I was a kid … He was even better than what I could have hoped for. He was endlessly generous, obsessed with the details his character, and generous with the actors that he worked with. He himself was a filmmaker so he understood the job that everyone had, and respected everyone. He’s the type of guy who would text you in the middle of the night to tell you there was a great old noir movie on Turner Classic Movies.”
Ponsoldt also noted Paxton’s work as a director, which included the crime thriller Frailty and the historical sports drama The Greatest Game Ever Played. Ponsoldt says:
“I was excited to make more films with. I was excited for him to make more films as an actor and a director.”
Paxton’s appearance in The Circle is a smaller, supporting role, where he plays the ailing father of Emma Watson’s character, who becomes embroiled in the shady culture of a digital tech giant. No matter how much the actor is featured in The Circle, fans are bound to get emotional seeing Paxton in the film, realizing that it marks his final big screen appearance. The actor was also honored this week by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., commemorating Paxton’s role in the series.
Paxton made a huge impression in virtually every film he starred in, as his everyman quality made his characters extremely relatable. And while Jennifer Aniston noted his sudden loss at the Oscars in February, the Motion Picture Academy should seriously considering a larger tribute to Paxton come time for the awards celebration next year.