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.
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.
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