Twister Director Reflects on Working with Late Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman: They Were ‘Shapeshifters’

“Twister” director recalls Paxton and Seymour Hoffman as pivotal to cast unity

Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY; JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC)
Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY; JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC)

The director of the 1996 blockbuster “Twister,” Jan de Bont, recently reflected on the contributions of the late Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman to the film.

Both actors, who passed away in 2017 and 2014 respectively, left a lasting impact on the cast and crew, creating an atmosphere that made it feel as if they had worked together for a long time.

Ahead of the premiere of the much-anticipated sequel, “Twisters,” de Bont shared insights with The Hollywood Reporter about the original film’s dynamic.

He emphasized the unique energy that Paxton and Seymour Hoffman brought to the set, describing them as the “shapeshifters” of the group. Their ability to adapt and blend seamlessly into their roles helped foster a cohesive and collaborative environment among the cast.

“Those two were basically the shapeshifters of that group, and they helped make a group of really amazing people feel as if they had worked together for a really long time,” de Bont said. “It’s unique to get that feeling on the screen.”

In “Twister,” Paxton portrayed Bill Harding, a storm chaser on a mission to develop an advanced weather alert system with his wife, played by Helen Hunt. Hoffman took on the role of Dustin Davis, a member of their storm-chasing crew.

Twister. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, SNAP/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Twister. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, SNAP/SHUTTERSTOCK)

De Bont noted that the camaraderie seen on screen mirrored the relationships that developed offscreen, thanks in large part to the personalities of Paxton and Hoffman.

The director explained that he had hoped for a relaxed and quick-witted dynamic among the cast, which came to fruition, particularly due to Hoffman’s influence.

Hoffman, known for his laid-back demeanor, was instrumental in creating a light-hearted and humorous atmosphere on set.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was really laid back, was one of the people who contributed the most for that to happen,” de Bont shared. “He was so completely ready to make a character for himself in the movie.”

Hoffman’s commitment to his role was evident from the start. Despite having limited scenes on his own, he crafted a memorable character that surprised and delighted his colleagues. De Bont recalled how Hoffman’s wit and humor helped to relax the entire team, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration.

Paxton, on the other hand, brought a different kind of energy to the set. Known for his high-energy personality, he was always eager to get involved in action scenes and encouraged his fellow cast members to join in.

His enthusiasm and willingness to engage with others helped to bring the team together.

“… [Paxton] loved stepping in the middle of an action scene,” de Bont said. “He loved really dangerous things. He loved getting other people involved as a group.”

As the filming progressed, the cast became more like a team, much like their characters in the movie. De Bont expressed his satisfaction in seeing this transformation unfold, attributing it to the influence of Paxton and Hoffman.

“So, slowly but surely, they all came together, and that was so nice to see happen,” he added.

Fans of the original “Twister” can soon relive the excitement as the film becomes available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time on July 9. Additionally, the sequel, “Twisters,” is set to hit theaters on July 19.

The new film features a fresh cast of storm chasers, including Glen Powell, Anthony Ramos, and Daisy Edgar-Jones. Other notable stars include Brandon Perea, Daryl McCormack, Maura Tierney, Kiernan Shipka, Sasha Lane, David Corenswet, Katy O’Brian, Nik Dodani, Tunde Adebimpe, and Harry Hadden-Paton.

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