I was very sad to hear about the untimely death of actor Bill Paxton today. Not only has he been in several blockbusters over the course of his career, he’s portrayed interesting characters in literally dozens of films and TV shows. And, as my husband just pointed out, he’s been in practically no duds. For a prolific character actor, that’s very unusual.
In my own career, I’ve crossed paths with Bill Paxton on a few projects. Most recently, I worked on the poster for a movie he starred in with Laurence Fishburne, called The Colony, a futuristic, sci-fi/horror film. As is often the case with entertainment projects, we were working on the poster design concurrently with the film’s production. Principal photography had been completed, but none of the special effects had been finished yet. In order to make the film appear big and epic, (because no matter how small, studios always want their films to seem big and epic), we had to rely on a lot of artifice and stock photography to provide the proper atmosphere.
The results, I thought, were fairly successful. Two of my comps are posted above. But by the time we finished the project, the special effects were available and so the final poster is a half-and-half combination of my designs and another Art Director’s. This is also often the case with movie advertising. There are very few posters out there that can trace their origin to one artist.
And so, this is my tribute to Bill Paxton. He may have physically departed, but his presence, talent and characters will live on in both AV and print.