WonderCon 2014: Bill Paxton on Edge of Tomorrow & Agents of SHIELD

Bill Paxton Agents of SHIELD

Bill Paxton was at WonderCon in Anaheim representing the summer film Edge of Tomorrow, which stars Tom Cruise as a soldier of the future who ends up repeating the same fatal battle. He shared Warner Bros.’ red carpet with the cast of Into the Storm, this summer’s new tornado chaser movie, which seemed appropriate since Paxton starred in Twister. Paxton is now also part of the Marvel universe since he plays John Garrett on TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” so we had a lot to talk about in a short red carpet interview. Spoiler Alert for one scene in Edge of Tomorrow at least.


CraveOnline: You’re sharing the red carpet here with Into the Storm. Why isn’t that Twister 2? I know you wanted to do it.

Bill Paxton: I see Max Deacon over there. He played one of my sons in “Hatfields & McCoys.” Steve Quale, the director, is an old colleague and Steve and I go back to the days of Gale Hurd and Jim Cameron and New World and Roger Corman. It’s so cool, I haven’t seen the film but I’ve heard so many great things about it. It is probably like the spiritual sequel to Twister. I’m as excited to see it as anybody.


You know, Sharknado tells us that you can actually throw bombs into tornados and destroy them. What do you think of that?

I don’t know. I think that comes from Hellfighters where John Wayne played Red Adair. Red Adair was a guy who went all over the world. He had a company out of Houston putting out oil well fires. Their gag was to get all this TNT in a bulldozer and go up to where the well was shooting the fire out and ignite this, and it would blow it out. So I think that’s where they got that from. John Wayne was doing that 50 years ago!


You’ve played space marines before. How different is your role in Edge of Tomorrow?

Well, I’m a platoon sergeant, I’m a country guy from Kentucky who’s got a great zeal for life in the military and the idea that a man can only truly prove his character in combat, which there’s a lot of truth to be said for that, when you really put your balls on the line. I know it’s a character that’s going to score with our men and women of the military and I hope they enjoy it because it’s kind of an homage to their service.

Tom comes into my platoon on the eve of a great battle against this alien invasion and very much like Normandy. The movie’s coming out, by the way, on the anniversary of D-Day, June 6. But then, he keeps dying in battle but waking up and it’s the eve of the battle. We don’t know he’s going through this so it’s a very reactive part. There’s a lot of perversity in it, a lot of dark humor and it’s not a sequel, it’s not a superhero movie.

It’s original, even though it has elements, the time loop, the alien invasion, you haven’t seen this combination. Emily Blunt and Tom are great together so there’s a tough chick warrior as well as a tough guy warrior, or a guy who discovers his inner warrior. Cruise’s hero’s journey is kind of the audience journey in this world. I think it’s going to be a really fun ride for people. I’m psyched to be here.


What’s the perverse side of it? I don’t think we see that in the trailer.

The humor, a lot of gallows humor. You’ll see what I mean when you see the movie. It’s twisted.


So language, not as much stuff that happens to characters.

It’s situation as well as language. One guy in our platoon, we land on the beach and we’ve been shot up and we crash, we’re bailing out of this fiery ship and stuff. We land on the thing and he goes, “Man, I can’t believe we made it!” and the drop ship lands on him. This kind of stuff, so definitely very early on there’s a cue to the audience like this is going to be twisted and we hope you love it.


You’re part of the Marvel universe now.

It’s so fun. I was like, “When am I getting my invitation?” Come on.


Did the role of John Garrett become bigger than you originally expected it to be?

It did, it did. They started writing for me and I knew it was penciled in where it was possibly going and I’m having so much fun now that they’ve unmasked Garrett and his true nature has come out. I’ve got three more episodes and they’re pretty cool. There’s a great episode that really deals with Ward, how he ended up almost like my surrogate son and also a little bit about where I came from, why I tick the way I do. Then of course we’re all coming in for the season finale.


Does your deal allow you to cross over in to the Marvel movies should they choose to?

I would like to think so. I would love to think so. I really enjoyed working with Jed Whedon and his wife Maurissa [Tancharoen] who’s the creators, and Jeff Bell the show runner, and Jeph Loeb. It’s been a great group of guys.


I mean, if Samuel L. Jackson can do “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” you should be able to do The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

From your lips… 

Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Best Episode Ever and The Shelf Space Awards. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.