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Bill Paxton was genuinely “worried” about his most iconic Alien role

Bill Paxton, who starred in some of the best movies of the '80s and '90s, found his most iconic role to be genuinely worrying as he feared for the reaction.

Bill Paxton in Titanic and Aliens

Bill Paxton was a legend of the ’80s and ’90s, as well as a frequent James Cameron collaborator. It’s no exaggeration to say that Bill Paxton has starred in some of the best movies ever made, with the likes of Terminator, Titanic, Twister, the more recent Nightcrawler, and Aliens.

It’s the last of these, the sequel to 1979’s sci-fi horror Alien, that might be his finest work, as well as his most iconic role. In Aliens (one of the best action movies ever made) Paxton starred as the obnoxious Colonial Marine Private Hudson, who joins Ripley on a mission to the colony on  LV-426 to uncover why transmissions and communications have been lost.

Hudson’s boastful arrogance quickly melts away to fear and panic as the team discovers the Xenomorphs on the planet, and is forced into a dogged fight for survival. Paxton’s performance as the character, in what is regarded as among the best science fiction movies of all time (and the best sequels), is genuinely brilliant and he managed to create one of the most distinct and dislikeable characters of all time.

Hudson’s wild hysteria and fear were, however, part of Paxton’s concern. “Being the hysteric of the group I was always yelling and screaming. I was worried the audience would think, ‘Oh God, when is this guy going to get killed?’” he said, in a conversation with Starlog magazine in 1987 (via Strange Shapes).

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However, Paxton’s concern that the audience would hate his character was unfounded, and Hudson was – and remains – a fan-favorite. In fact, Paxton shared that he would often get fan mail sent to him thanks to Hudson. “Most of the time, they say they really like Hudson. They really identify with him.”

He continued, “He was the most relatable to audiences because he was deathly afraid, as most of us would be. I mean, for every Ripley or Hicks, there are a million Hudsons.”

That is certainly the secret to Hudson’s success as a character, other than the fact that he was written by the maestro James Cameron. He was the character who had the most believable response to the situation, and his horror mirrors that of the audience. When you sit down to re-watch Aliens, there’s a strong chance that he’s the one character who you’ll really connect with the most. Aliens is available to stream now on Disney Plus.

For more on Paxton, check out how he still retains one of cinema’s most gruesome records, and how he and Cameron were poisoned while making Titanic. Or, you can see the status of the Twister 2 release date to learn about the progress on the sequel to his classic disaster flick.

Alternatively, check out our retro Aliens review, and see our ranking of every James Cameron movie from worst to best.