James Cameron, the director for the box office’s two biggest movies of all time, shared his thoughts on the passing over the weekend of Bill Paxton as more details emerge on what happened to the actor, and what it might mean for his current projects.
Cameron wrote to Vanity Fair that he’d been “reeling from this for the past half hour trying to wrap my mind and heart around it.” The director actually cast Paxton in four of his films, beginning with The Terminator in 1984, and continuing through Titanic in 1997.
“He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying ‘Paint that.’
“We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each other’s projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watch each other’s kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs.”
Paxton died Saturday after suffering complications of a surgery. The actor had heart surgery, according to TMZ, and suffered a stroke that claimed his life.
Cameron, who is in the process of producing sequels to his 2009 hit Avatar, said Paxton was most certainly a man out of his time.