Bill Paxton, who was just here in Cannes for Mip-TV, is headed down to Capetown next week to begin work on a drama for BBC Two that traces the story behind the rise of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Daniel Radcliffe is playing Sam Houser, the co-founder of video game developer Rockstar Games, and Paxton is lined up as his nemesis, the former attorney Jack Thompson who tried to destroy the company.
The BBC Films drama is based on David Kushner’s 2012 book, Jacked: The Outlaw Story Of Grand Theft Auto. One of the world’s most successful videogame franchises, GTA has also come under fire from Thompson, a now-disbarred Florida lawyer who is known for his anti-videogame stance and his attempts to quash what he sees as obscenity in modern culture — including the rap music of 2 Live Crew and the radio stylings of Howard Stern. He first filed suit against Rockstar parent Take Two Interactive in 2003 and continued his crusade against GTA throughout the decade. In 2008, he was disbarred.
Paxton, who has done voice work in Call Of Duty, told me of his character, “He got Howard Stern kicked off the radio and took on 2 Live Crew… There’d be a gag order and he’d still go on talk shows. He would write these hateful letters to people he was litigating. He just got too emotionally caught up in it.”
Shooting starts in South Africa next week with Owen Harris (Kill Your Friends, Misfits) directing from a script by James Wood (Rev.). Mark Hedgecoe and Jim Spencer are producers.
Paxton is next seen as Sam Houston in Texas Rising, the History event miniseries that premiered here at Mip-TV on Monday, and has feature crime drama Term Life on deck. He is repped by UTA.