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How Bill Paxton's Weird Science Role Helped Land Him Aliens

Late actor Bill Paxton made several indelible impressions on film during his illustrious 40-year career, several times working in tandem with his close friend James Cameron. Paxton's first role for Cameron came in 1984 in a brief but memorable turn as a street punk opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator," but his follow-up role for the director in 1986's "Aliens" didn't happen so easily. In fact, Paxton told Den of Geek in a 2013 interview that he was among 12 actors being considered for the role of Colonial Marine Pvt. William Hudson and the path to eventually landing the part finally opened up thanks to his role in writer-director John Hughes' sci-fi comedy classic "Weird Science" a year before.

Paxton credits prolific Hollywood producer Scott Rudin — who at the time was the head of casting at "Aliens" studio 20th Century Fox — for landing the role of Hudson because "Weird Science" was on the studio executive's radar at the time. "Jim and Scott were doing an overseas call, they were going through the list and who the studio would support, and my name came up and Jim said, 'Well I know Bill, would the studio be okay with him?' [Scott said], 'Well he's getting some very good notices for a John Hughes comedy called 'Weird Science,' and so Jim said, 'Well gosh, I'd love to cast Bill,' and Scott at Fox said, 'Well, we'll back that,'" Paxton recalled.

While Paxton's turn as Hudson in "Aliens" wasn't as funny as his bully character, Chet, in "Weird Science," the character did deliver some oddly funny lines including, "Game over! Game over, man!" Perhaps in a self-fulfilling prophecy for the character, Hudson's life is over by the end of "Aliens," which contributed to a strange sci-fi movie record held by Paxton.

The Weird role that earned Paxton his role in Aliens

"Weird Science" follows nerdy best friends Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall), who, through their computer savvy, create Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) — the woman of their dreams — in "Frankenstein"-like fashion. With Lisa by their side, Wyatt and Gary suddenly become a pair of cool kids who turn the tables on high school bullies, including Ian (Robert Downey Jr.). Bill Paxton's Chet still has the upper hand over Wyatt at home, though, as he continues to antagonize his little brother and Gary at every turn.

Perhaps one of the reasons Paxton received so much attention for his "Weird Science" role — which ultimately helped him land his role in "Aliens" — was because of Chet's appearance near the end of the film. Tired of how Chet was treating Wyatt, Lisa used her mystical powers to turn Chet into a creature that looked like — as Hall described for Entertainment Weekly — a poo emoji. Lucky for Paxton, he only provided the voice of the creature version of Chet. The rest was done through the wonders of practical makeup effects.

"This was before CGI. It was actually a small person sitting inside that big lump of s***," Hall told EW, laughing.