• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Watch Bill Paxton Talk About His Most Iconic Parts, from 'Weird Science' to ‘Titanic’

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.


The prolific, deeply respected actor Bill Paxton died Saturday at age 61 from complications due to surgery. Paxton leaves behind a film legacy that includes his weasily breakout in the teen favorite Weird Science, unforgettable roles in blockbusters like Apollo 13, Twister, and Titanic, and the amazing distinction of being killed in Terminator, Predator and Alien movies.

In 2014, Yahoo Movies sat down with the congenial and candid Paxton for an extensive Role Recall interview where he walked us through some of his most iconic movies. Watch the video above.

Related: Bill Paxton’s Most Memorable Roles

Stripes (1981)
Paxton’s first movie credit was as a blink-and-you’ll-miss it “glorified extra” (credited as “Soldier”) in Ivan Reitman’s classic army comedy. The role’s very existence has sent bloggers on desperate freeze-framing missions to spot him. Here Paxton tells of his lost Stripes moment that the world will never see and of his on-set make-up tips from Bill Murray.

The Terminator (1984)
In 1980, Cameron – a production designer at the time – hired Paxton as a set decorator on the Roger Corman-produced Galaxy of Terror. A few years later, Cameron called on Paxton to play the spiky blue-haired “Punk Leader” who confronts Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robotic killing machine when he arrives (buck naked, of course) from the future.

Weird Science (1985)
The part of Chet, the jerky and moronic older brother in John Hughes’s teen classic, bears little resemblance to anything the actor did after, but it marked his big career break. Here he shares his memories of working with the late director and reveals his inspiration for the voice of that infamous poop monster.

Aliens (1986)
The role of hot-headed Pvt. Hudson almost never happened for Paxton. A month after auditioning for Cameron, the actor still hadn’t heard back, and was convinced he wasn’t getting it. Paxton shares how the call that changed everything finally came.

Apollo 13 (1995)
Paxton initially read for the role of Jack Swigert – which would go to Kevin Bacon – before landing the part of astronaut Fred Haise. He looks back on the amazing moments he experienced in the wake of Apollo 13, including a tense scene at a White House urinal after screening the film for the Clintons.

Related: Director’s Reel: Ron Howard Talks ‘Splash,’ ‘Cocoon,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ and More

Twister (1996)
Paxton’s most famous lead role didn’t come without its occupational hazards: having straw shot at him from a jet engine, nearly going blind from director Jan de Bont’s simulation of weather gone mad, and his dramatic vision of a tornado hunter’s windswept mane. The actor boiled the shoot down to a nutshell: “It was kind of like ‘Your line, my line, run like hell, almost get killed, your line, my line, run like hell, almost get killed.”

Titanic (1997)
Paxton’s third collaboration with James Cameron turned out okay for all involved. Paxton claims he saw the monster success coming. “Here was one of the greatest stories of modern times, the sinking of the Titanic, and here’s one of the greatest filmmakers of modern times, and you put that combination together and you’re going to have something special.”

Watch Paxton talk about about the alternate to ending to ‘Titanic’ in a recent interview with Yahoo:


Read more: