Bill Paxton is not the nice guy everyone’s always saying he is — just ask Bill Paxton.
The Big Love star set the record straight while promoting his new film Mean Dreams at the Cannes Film Festival. Paxton, known as one of the nicest in Hollywood, says he’s relished playing the villain in the film about two teenagers desperate to escape their broken homes.
“I find that when you play the villain, usually they have a better justification than the protagonist — and they’re always more interesting because of that,” the actor tells PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly alongside his director, Nathan Morlando.
“And also you want to play a character that’s indelible in the audience’s mind. It’s like here comes tiger, what’s he going to do now?” he adds with a laugh.
Asked if he enjoys playing the villain, Paxton says, “Oh absolutely.”
But when Morlando points out that Paxton’s nice guy persona conflicts with his Mean Dreams character, the actor takes exception. “What does that mean? I’m not a nice guy,” Paxton dead pans. As his director lists his “nice” attributes (“caring” and “gentle”), Paxton reminds Morlando he was actually a “pain in the ass” on the film, to which the director quips that his acting style is perhaps more method than he’d like to admit.
The film’s young stars, Sophie Nélisse, 16, and Josh Wiggins, 17, also sat down for an interview at Cannes, and told PEOPLE and EW how they made their big breaks.
“I’ve never actually wanted to be an actress,” Nélisse admits. “I was doing gymnastics when I was really young and I was on the national team, so that was my goal, to go to the Olympics.”
“I always liked movies,” Wiggins says. “I didn’t necessarily pursue it, I kind of fell into it. I made YouTube videos with my friends. Doing that for awhile kind of spurred my interest in film.”