James Cameron has reflected on the life and career of his late friend, Bill Paxton. The renowned actor unexpectedly passed away in February due to complications with his heart surgery, and people from all across the filmmaking industry (and the world) immediately expressed their deepest condolences to Paxton's family and friends. Paxton was one of the most prolific actors in the industry, having starred in films such as Tombstone, Apollo 13, and Edge of Tomorrow, along with appearing on TV shows such as Big Love, Hatfields & McCoys, and Training Day.
Paxton's career really didn't start to take off until the '80s, and one of his earliest roles was playing a punk leader in Cameron's The Terminator in 1984. That role eventually led the actor and director to collaborate on multiple other projects. Paxton played Private William Hudson in Aliens, in 1986; Simon in True Lies, in 1994; and Brock Lovett in Titanic, in 1997. Although he didn't play the leading character in either film, it's debatable that Titanic, arguably Cameron's most successful film ever (critically and commercially), wouldn't have worked without Paxton and his character.
In an interview with Yahoo! Movies promoting the 3D re-release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Cameron reflected on the passing of his longtime friend and collaborator, emphasizing the late actor's love for art and his ability to act.
"[Bill Paxton] was a consummate artist, really. He loved art -- and, by art, I mean he was a collector of art, and he had a deep appreciation for art culture and literature. He was unique, you know, certainly broke the mold. He had a real... it was just a zest for life and creativity; he was always thinking about the next project and the next project. And he had this amazing ability to just get people to want to do the thing that he wanted to do, the thing that he wanted to make. But, when he worked for me as an actor, he -- although he brought so many ideas that enriched the film around his character -- he also was there to do his character. He wasn't there to try to direct my movie."
It's worth noting that Paxton had played some sort of role in four of Cameron's eight feature films, thus making the actor Cameron's most frequent collaborator aside from Gale Anne Hurd, who had executive produced four of the filmmaker's first five movies: The Terminator (which she also co-wrote), Aliens, The Abyss, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In addition to discussing Paxton's skills as an actor and artist, Cameron mentioned the last time that they had spoken:
"We became fast friends in 1981, I think, when we were both working for Roger Corman. And we were friends until -- I don't want to say the day he died -- but the night before he went in for the surgery that went wrong, I talked to him that night. So, yeah, he's just a dear, dear friend, and a great artist."
Paxton had an undeniably successful career in Hollywood, and Cameron isn't the only person that he worked and had developed a personal relationship with. Several other filmmakers and industry professionals have come out with their own stories about the late actor, and we'll likely see more in the months and the years to come.
Source: Yahoo! Movies