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Bill Paxton wasn’t thrilled his character, Bill Henrickson, was killed off on the HBO series finale of Big Love Sunday.
“We were in the room when Bill read the script. … Bill wasn’t happy,” producer Will Scheffer said in an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air Monday.
“Initially, Bill had trouble that his character was going to die,” added producer Mark Olsen. “It’s not how he envisioned the end of his character’s journey nor the end of the series. And he just had a big problem with it — I think he had a vested relationship with the character of Bill Henrickson, and he feels, rightfully so, that he has husbanded that character for five years, and it hurt him to know that that character was going to die.
“We explained what we were going for, and he got it. But it took about a week or two for Bill to come around and see it differently,” Olsen went on of the finale, which received mixed reviews from critics.
Amanda Seyfried, who plays Paxton’s daughter, Sarah Henrickson, says the ending fit: “I’m really proud of them writing something so bold.” Watch more of an HBO after-the-series finale video below.
Of the decision to kill off the protagonist, Olsen explains, “We didn’t want Bill to go out a loser or a failure or an unrepentant fundamentalist. And we wanted to find that thing that would render his life’s existence the most successful. We felt the greatest testimony to Bill would be that he had created a family that endured.”
They felt it was important to show that after Henrickson’s death, the wives stayed together.
“The big secret of the show is that it’s always been a feminist show,” Scheffer says. “And even though it was dramatizing this very patriarchal system in some ways, the opportunities that women found — particularly in this very abusive system — to support each other was what drew us to the material in the first place, and gave us reason to want to explore it. … We felt that there were opportunities for women to find support in one another.”
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