When he isn't juggling three wives as a fundamentalist Mormon on HBO's Big Love, Bill Paxton has a knack for appearing in blockbuster movies like Titanic, Apollo 13 and Twister. Currently, he and Tom Hanks are preparing a miniseries commemorating the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
What is on your nightstand?
I'm rereading a very inspirational book for me that I bought, like, 30 years ago: Keaton, by Rudi Blesh. It's a bio of Buster Keaton, best one I ever read. I'm also reading a biography of (former FBI agent) James P. Hosty called Assignment: Oswald. Everybody always thought he dropped the ball (protecting JFK in Dallas) but he never really had the ball to drop in the first place.
What books do you recommend to aspiring actors or filmmakers?
Absolutely, that Keaton one would be at the top of the list. I've always loved biographies and here's a great one: A Short Time for Insanity, (director) William Wellman's autobiography. You savor every page. . . . Charles Chaplin: My Autobiography is still one of my favorites. There's so many good ones to choose.
Steve Persall, Times film critic