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Interview: 'Edge of Tomorrow' Bill Paxton really likes to talk

Bill Paxton talks about not being aware that his new film, the sci-fi war picture "Edge of Tomorrow," is being released on the anniversary of D-Day.

This summer Bill Paxton has already popped up in "Million Dollar Arm" and the new "Edge of Tomorrow. Credit: Getty Images This summer Bill Paxton has already popped up in "Million Dollar Arm" and the new "Edge of Tomorrow.
Credit: Getty Images

The first thing you learn when you talk to Bill Paxton is that the man likes to talk. When they connect us on the phone, he's already in mid-sentence, using my name as a jumping off point to talk about Australian folk legend Ned Kelly. I learned quickly it's best to just let the star of "Edge of Tomorrow," in which he plays a gung-ho army commander,go, which seems to be what Hollywood has been doing lately as well.

What he's saying when the phone connects:The wild colonial boy! Ned Kelly, Ned Kelly, line one! Get out of here, you're the wild colonial boy!

Why we're not speaking in person:We're talking from Durango, Mexico — old Mexico. The land time forgot. This is a really old, old town, and I didn't realize much about it aside from the fact that it was a famous movie town for John Wayne and Sam Peckinpah in days of old. It's a great, old historic Spanish town, and we're all staying here. We just started shooting "Texas Rising," a new miniseries for History. It's kind of their first big follow-up to "Hatfields and McCoys." It's the same producers, but this time we're helmed by the great Roland Joffe. Really digging his chili.

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On finally seeing "Edge of Tomorrow" — but in Mexico:What I've heard is it's playing like gangbusters. I haven't seen it. I'm going to see it. Down here it's called " Al filo del manana." Sounds like "I'll feel you up tomorrow." [Laughs] I saw a lobby card at the mall here. I think it opens here on the sixth, but it might open a week later.

Bill Paxton (right) stares down Tom Cruise in the alien war film "Edge of Tomorrow." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Bill Paxton (right) stares down Tom Cruise in the alien war film "Edge of Tomorrow."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

On the film coming out on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion:Weirdly enough, I think that fell on a coincidence. It's just one of those things. When they're picking those dates, they're not picking them for historical significance. [Laughs] They pick them for maximum commercial impact. With "X-Men" and "Godzilla" on one side and "Guardians of the Galaxy" on the other, you've got to get in when you can.

I think the reason Warner Bros. is downplaying that is out of respect. This has a very similar kind of setup, but I think they didn't want to exploit that fact. You've got this alien horde who have taken Europe, much like the blitzkrieg of the Nazis, and now the Allies — or the Federation, I forget what the hell we're called — we're spearheading a counter-invasion out of England, which of course means Normandy. I could see my character, who's a career soldier and steeped in military history, kind of getting off on the fact that tomorrow we're invading France again. That wasn't lost on me and Tom [Cruise] while we were shooting it, but it just happened to fall on that date.

On the legacy of his "Game over, man, game over!" line from "Aliens":Hell, that's one I'll never live down. But there's always a little element of that, but it's not really going to come into play with Roland Joffe, I don't think, on "Texas Rising." It's certainly a beloved character, and it's amazing to think that after all this time that each generation discovers "Aliens" and embraces it. It's kind of like the "Wizard of Oz" of sci-fi movies. You might want to skew that a little different. [Laughs] It's nice when you can satisfy the hardest critic of all, and that's time.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick

 
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