William “Bill” Paxton (born May 17, 1955) is an American actor and film director. He gained popularity after starring roles in the films Apollo 13, Twister, Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic. Paxton starred in the HBO series Big Love (2006–2011).
Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Mary Lou (née Gray) and John Lane Paxton, a businessman, lumber wholesaler, museum executive, and occasional actor. He was in the crowd waving when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas in Ft. Worth, Texas, on the morning of his assassination, November 22, 1963. Paxton attended St. Anne’s Catholic School, Arlington Heights High School (Fort Worth, Texas), and Southwest Texas State University.
Paxton had minor roles in the early 80’s movies Stripes (1981), The Lords of Discipline (1983), Streets of Fire (1984), The Terminator (1984), Commando, and Weird Science (both 1985), before landing his scene stealing role as Hudson “Game over man, game over!”, in Aliens (1987). I then saw him in the excellent vampire/western horror film, Near Dark (1986), as Severen, one of a gang of nomadic vampires. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and featuring Lance Henriksen, Jeanette Goldstein and Adrian Pasdar . The story follows a young man in a small midwestern town who becomes involved with a family of nomadic American vampires.
Paxton had major roles in Brain Dead (1990), One False Move, Trespass (both 1990), and Tombstone (1993) before gaing major recognition co-starring in the huge hit Apollo 13 (1995). He followed that success with Twister (1996), Titanic (1997) and leading roles in A Simple Plan (1998). The Sam Raimi directed suspense drama is not as well known as his major work (Evil Dead, Spider-Man trilogy), however it is probably his best film, and Bill Paxton’s best major role. Co-star Billy Bob Thornton was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Scott Smith was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Several prominent critics praised the film for its complexity and taut suspense (four stars from Roger Ebert and Critic’s Choice from The New York Times).
In 1998 he also appeared in the remake of Mighty Joe Young, before roles in U-571, and Vertical Limit (both 2000). Four years after appearing inTitanic, he joined James Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic. A film about this trip, Ghosts of the Abyss, was released in 2003. He has since featured in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003), Club Dread, Thunderbirds (both 2004), and the HBO series Big Love between March 2006 and March 2011. The show is about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. Big Love featured a fantastic cast, Bill paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Seyfried, Douglas Smith, Bruce Dern, Grace Zabriskie, Mary Kay Place, Matt Ross, and Cassi Thomson.
In 2011, he featured in Steven Soderbergh’s under-rated action thriller Haywire, and directed the short film Tattoo. Paxton has also directed a the short film Fish Heads (1980), which aired during Saturday Night Live’s 1980-1981 season. He directed the feature films Frailty (2001), and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005).
Lance James Henriksen (born May 5, 1940) is an American actor and artist best known to film and television audiences for his roles in science fiction, action, and horror films such as the Aliens, Near Dark the Pumpkinhead film franchise, and on television shows such as Millenium. Henriksen is also a voice actor; he is noted for his deep, commanding voice.
Henriksen was born in New York City. His father, James Henriksen, was a Norwegian merchant sailor and boxer nicknamed “Icewater” who spent most of his life at sea. His mother, Margueritte, struggled to find work as a dance instructor, waitress, and model. His parents divorced when he was two years old and he was raised by his mother. As he grew up, Henriksen found himself in trouble at various schools and even saw the inside of a children’s home.
Henriksen’s first job in the theater world was as a designer of theatrical sets. In his early 30s, Henriksen graduated from the prestigious Actors Studio and began acting in New York City. In film, he first appeared in It Ain’t Easy in 1972. Henriksen went on to a variety of supporting roles in noteworthy genre films such as Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Damien: Omen II (1978). He also portrayed astronaut Walter Schirra in The Right Stuff (1983).
James Cameron cast him in Piranha II: Flying Killers (1981) and when he was writing the movie The Terminator (1984), he had originally envisioned Henriksen playing the title role. Cameron went so far as to paint a picture of the Terminator using Henriksen’s face. Regardless, the role ultimately went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Henriksen did appear in the film, albeit in the minor role of Detective Hal Vukovich. Henriksen is perhaps best known for another Cameron film, portraying the android Bishop, an artificial life-form, in Aliens (1986) and Alien 3 (1992). He would go on to play Charles Bishop Weyland, the man Bishop’s appearance was based on, in Alien vs. Predator (2004).
In 1987 he starred in my favourite vampire movie, Near Dark, an American vampire/western horror film, written by Eric Red and Kathryn Bigelow, and directed by Bigelow. The story follows a young man in a small midwestern town who becomes involved with a family of nomadic American vampires. Also starring then little-known actors Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright, the movie was released in 1987, part of a revival of serious vampire movies in the late 1980s. The film did poorly at the box office upon release, but was viewed favourably by critics subsequently and has a sizable cult following.
Hard Target (1993) is one of Henriksen’s favorite films. I competed with Van Damme using tremendous will against his iron strength. I held my ground pretty well although I didn’t really like him until we came to reshoot the ending to give it a higher octane finish.”
In 1995, Henriksen played the role of Sheriff Doug Barnum in the controversial film Powder. Then in 1996, Henriksen starred in the television series Millenium, created and produced by Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files. Henriksen played Frank Black, a former FBI agent who possessed a unique ability to see into the minds of killers. Carter created the role specifically for the actor. Henriksen’s performances on Millennium earned him critical acclaim, a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favourite New Male TV Star, and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (1997–1999). The series was cancelled in 1999. Henriksen’s daughter, Alcamy, appears uncredited in an episode of Millennium.
No less than three prominent franchise roles have been written specifically for Henriksen, though he would only star in one of them. James Cameron wrote The Terminator (1984) hoping Henriksen would play the title character. Chris Carter created Millennium (1996) specifically for Henriksen, then convinced him to become hero Frank Black. Victor Salva also wrote Jeepers Creepers (2001) with Henriksen in mind for the role of the Creeper.
On television, Henriksen appeared in the ensemble of Into the West (2005), a miniseries executive-produced by Steven Spielberg.
In the years after Millennium, Henriksen has become an active voice actor, lending his distinctive voice to a number of animated features and video game titles. In Disney’s Tarzan (1999) and its direct-to-video midquel Henriksen is Kerchak, the ape who serves as Tarzan’s surrogate father. He provided the voice for the alien supervillain Brainiac in Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006). In 2009, Henriksen voiced Lieutenant General Shepherd in the award-winning game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. He would later voice Karl Bishop Weyland in Aliens vs. Predator; the character’s appearance resembles Henriksen.
In addition to his television and voice acting work, Henriksen continues to be active in film. Henriksen made a cameo appearance in the 2009 horror comedy Jennifer’s Body. He also starred in the After Dark Horrorfest film, Scream of the Banshee, released in 2010. Henriksen has featured in numerous cheap horror films over the year, he needs a new, big movie deserving of his talents soon.