Bill Paxton’s son to play late dad’s role in ‘Last Train to Fortune’

Bill Paxton’s legacy is stitched into the upcoming movie Last Train to Fortune.

The late Twister star’s son, James Paxton, plays outlaw Jedidiah Dooley, the role his father would have played in the upcoming, Malcolm McDowell–starring Western.

McDowell told PEOPLE that he’s been trying to get the movie made for decades. In 1994, he said, he even had Paxton and a director lined up, but then the director, Lindsay Anderson, died. He took another look in recent years.

“I said, ‘I’ve always loved that script. It’s such a beautiful script, really,'” MacDowell said. “‘Why don’t we get James Paxton to do it?’ He’d be the same age as his dad was, almost. A little bit younger, but even better.'”

James Paxton is the son of later actor Bill Paxton.

Steve Granitz/WireImage; Brian To/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

The elder Paxton died Feb. 25, 2017 of complications from surgery. He was 61.

By the time of his death, his son had been working in the same industry for more than a decade. His credits over the years include Training Day, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Cleaner. Now 30, James Paxton also has a part in Twisters, the sequel to one of his famous father’s most popular movies. He’d previously said that he would appear in one as a way of paying tribute.

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In Last Train to Fortune, McDowell stars as a schoolteacher Cecil Peachtree, who travels across the Old West in the early 1870s to take a new teaching job. When he misses his train, he meets Jedidiah and strikes a deal to travel together. The odd couple develops a relationship as Cecil shares his knowledge of literary classics.

McDowell described the younger Paxton as “pretty levelheaded” and “a very fine young actor.”

“I do think he’s a very dedicated, wonderful actor and we had so much fun. I mean, he says it’s like a father-son thing. I thought it was two mates having a go, you know?” he said. “I thought their relationship turned out to be really delicious.”

Last Train to Fortune will be released in the fall. Twisters is out July 17.

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