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'Big Love' Finale: Bill Paxton Initially Unhappy With Ending

First Posted: 03/21/11 04:33 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:40 PM ET

Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton wasn't feeling the love when it came to the 'Big Love' series finale.

Paxton, who starred as Bill Hendrickson during the HBO's polygamy show's five year run, was initially unhappy when he read the script for the show's final episode.

SPOILER ALERT: Go any further, and you'll know the ending of the series.

Paxton's character, the patriarch of a three wife home and a state senator, is killed off in the final show. Series producers Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer spoke to NPR's "Fresh Air" about Paxton's feeling on the matter, which was initially akin to being told he himself would be dying.

"Initially, Bill had trouble that his character was going to die. It's not how he envisioned the end of his character's journey nor the end of the series," Olsen said. "And he just had a big problem with it -- I think he had a vested relationship with the character of Bill Hendrickson, 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."

So why did they do it? Why kill off a beloved character? It wasn't just to give the show a memorable ending.

"We didn't want Bill to go out a loser or a failure or an unrepentant fundamentalist," said Olsen. "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."

For much more on the finale, including the producers' insistence that the show was a champion of feminism, click over to NPR.

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Filed by Jordan Zakarin  |