Predator 2 , The Hunt Continues

This was my first acting job (though it included stunts). This was a big deal to me at the time, and it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

When I went to the auditions for this show, I figured I had NO shot at it. They were looking for “stuntmen that can act”, which definitely described me, but they were also looking for “gang members”. I can act, but usually Hollywood is VERY focused on your ‘look’ and a gangster was NOT my vibe. I didn’t think they’d see past my suburban prep-school look.

When I went in, I was paired with Alex. Alex LOOKED like a punk. He is a big dude, he has a nose that looks likes it was broken about 5 minutes ago and he had this crazy sprig of white hair at the front of his hairline that grew out of a birthmark in his scalp. He was a very capable actor too. Great at improvising. The script called for one guy to be the leader and the other to be his cronie.. Since I was just 5’6 and 125lbs., clearly Alex was the leader.

We read the scene for the director and the casting folks and they really liked what we did. They asked us to swap parts. In my mind, that told me they wanted to see Alex read again. I was certain I was out of the picture, but Alex was such a cool guy, I really wanted him to get the part. I did EVERYTHING I could think of to make Alex look good.

Two weeks later, I got a call offering me the part of the gang leader. Obviously, this was a mistake and I told the casting folks that they must have swapped names…”I was William, the little guy”. The casting agent said that they really did want me for the part of the leader. There was something very funny about this little punk leading all these huge guys in a gang.

Filming was awesome. I was very nervous . The stunt was easy enough. With all the acting training I’d done, this was still my first time in a major budget movie.

I was waiting to be called in to shoot and sitting in a director’s chair that said “Bill”. Suddenly someone said “Is YOUR name Bill? That’s MY chair!” I jumped up to see Bill Paxton. He laughed and said he was kidding. He could see the panic on my face and asked if this was my first feature film. “As an actor..” I said.  He asked me if I had seen “The Terminator”, which of course EVERYONE had. He went on to tell me that was his first feature film and like me he was a gang member. He said “Enjoy this day…this is the day it all begins for you and you’ll never have a first time like this again”.

I took those words to heart. He was right. It was an awesome day, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Bill passed away suddenly a while back. It’s unlikely he would remember me, but I’ll remember that day and that conversation forever.