James Cameron, the director for the box office’s two biggest movies of all time, shared his thoughts on the passing over the weekend of Bill Paxton as more details emerge on what happened to the actor, and what it might mean for his current projects.
Cameron wrote to Vanity Fair that he’d been “reeling from this for the past half hour trying to wrap my mind and heart around it.” The director actually cast Paxton in four of his films, beginning with The Terminator in 1984, and continuing through Titanic in 1997.
“He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying ‘Paint that.’
“We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each other’s projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watch each other’s kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs.”
Paxton died Saturday after suffering complications of a surgery. The actor had heart surgery, according to TMZ, and suffered a stroke that claimed his life.
Cameron, who is in the process of producing sequels to his 2009 hit Avatar, said Paxton was most certainly a man out of his time.
“It was a friendship of laughter, adventure, love of cinema, and mutual respect. Bill wrote beautiful heartfelt and thoughtful letters, an anachronism in this age of digital shorthand. He took good care of his relationships with people, always caring and present for others.
“He was a good man, a great actor, and a creative dynamo.”
“The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.”
Paxton’s most recent project was a television series for CBS, a remake of 2001’s Training Day, which debuted earlier this month. The network produced 13 episodes, and all of them have been filmed, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The series, however, was not garnering the audience the network had expected, according to reports, and likely was not going to be renewed to begin with. However, with Paxton’s death, that fate seems all but certain now.
Paxton earned three Golden Globe nominations for his starring role in the HBO polygamy series Big Love, as well as an Emmy nomination for History’s Hatfields & McCoys in 2012. He also earned a Golden Globe nomination in 1999 for A Bright Shining Lie, a war drama based on the true story of soldier John Paul Vann.
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