In summer 2012, I got invited to the set of a movie filming in Whitewright called “Red Wing.” I immediately began scouring the internet for information on the movie so I could ask informed questions when I got there, but the biggest scoop I discovered came from something our photographer, and man-about-town, Chris Jennings heard — that the late Bill Paxton was going to be doing a small part in the film.
When we got the call from the producer, who was very gracious and accommodating to invite us to the set, the big draw to get us to come out was that Luke Perry, of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame, was the male lead of the film and it also featured character actress Frances Fisher. Meeting either of them would have been great for my story, but breaking the news that Bill Paxton was coming to Grayson County would have been the real treat.
Chris and I arrived on the set during the crew’s lunch break and the two stars were off having lunch in their trailers, so we didn’t get to meet or see either of them. However, I did get to talk to the director, Will Wallace, and the female lead, Breann Johnson, who was making her feature film debut.
Since we were there with other local media, Chris and I pulled the producer aside and asked her about the rumor we’d heard that Paxton was joining the cast and would be filming in Whitewright. She was quite surprised we knew that as she said they were still in negotiations and said she couldn’t “legally” confirm he was going to take part.
She also asked that I not include his name in the story and I ultimately didn’t, thinking we might have another chance to visit the set and meet the big names. Of course, that ultimately didn’t come to pass and they kept his presence in Grayson County under the radar enough when he did arrive to shoot his scenes that we never even got a picture.
Paxton’s recent death made me reflect on just how iconic of an actor he was — from “Weird Science” to “Big Love” — and reminisce about the chance I “almost” got to meet him.
Happy birthday Thursday to Chuck Walker of Pottsboro; Jeff Jones; Millie Lance; and Bettye Jackson.