How Bill Paxton had hoped to direct 'a bona fide classic'
Bill Paxton's work as an actor has been and widely, and rightly, praised since the shocking news of his death at the age of 61 broke on Sunday. But Paxton was also a director, most notably of the 2001 gothic horror film Frailty, in which he played a father and religious fanatic whose beliefs endanger his two sons. And when EW spoke with the Texan back in 2015, Paxton talked about his hopes to make another film in a similar vein, an adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale's Edgar Award-winning novel, The Bottoms.
"I got a great script called The Bottoms," he said. "It's written by Brent Hanley [the screenwriter of Frailty]. It's adapted from a great book by Joe Lansdale. He's one of the great American writers, coming out of a Southern Gothic tradition. His Hap and Leonard series, which Sundance is now turning into a series, is incredible. A lot of his books are just fantastic. I've been involved with him now for six years developing The Bottoms. I brought Brent Hanley to the party because I knew it was right in Brent's wheelhouse. He's another Texas writer who really knows his noir stuff. I'm just a huge champion of Joe Lansdale's and he's been very loyal to me, because its really taken us a long time to put The Bottoms together. It's about the best script I've ever had my hands on in terms of a real regional thriller, and a follow-up from the writer and director of Frailty."
Alas, Paxton admitted that he was having trouble getting the project off the ground. "I can't get arrested with it," he said. "But I'm sure that if I can just make that movie, and make it well, with a good cast, at a decent budget, it is a bona fide classic."
Lansdale himself paid tribute to Paxton on Twitter this Sunday. "Today sucks," he wrote. "Fine actor and friend Bill Paxton has died. I feel so sorry for his family. Bill was a truly fine human being and a standup guy." <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJoeRLansdale%2Fposts%2F1265951450180535&width=500" width="500" height="161" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="" allowfullscreen="" resize="0" replace_attributes="1" name=""></iframe>
Watch the trailer for Frailty, above, and head here for more tributes to Paxton.