Once Bill Paxton landed the role of Sam Houston in Texas Rising, he went into full-on research mode. His process of discovery included a cross-country road trip that allowed him to explore tent-pole moments in Houston’s life.
“I started in Huntsville, Texas, and the Sam Houston museum that’s on his old property,” Paxton says. “Then my son and I went to check out San Jacinto — with a little side visit to the Battleship Texas nearby, which wasn’t around in 1836, of course, although the Texans sure could have used it!
“Then I went up to Tennessee, where Houston had lived with the Indians and started his careers in the military and in politics.”
Paxton came away from the experience with an even greater appreciation for the Texas icon, a man who already was a personal hero.
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“Sam Houston was a man’s man,” Paxton says. “He lived with the Indians. He studied the classics. He traveled everywhere. He was a bon vivant. Women adored him. He was a soldier and a statesman.
“He had great ethics and great integrity and he didn’t tolerate people who were nefarious in any way. He was just one of the most remarkable men who has ever lived.”
— David Martindale,
Special to the Star-Telegram