The finale of HBO’s Big Love last night was a shock not only to viewers, but the cast too. Producers say the cast had to “come around” to the idea of how the show was going to end, but ultimately felt it was a good ending.
**WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!**
“We wanted to give him a Gary Cooper exit from the show, but it went much deeper than that,” Producer Mark Olsen explained on Fresh Air (via NPR). “We didn’t want Bill to go out a loser or a failure or an unrepentant fundamentalist. And we wanted to find that thing that would render his life’s existence the most successful. We felt [that] the greatest testimony to Bill would be that he had created a family that endured.”
And after Bill’s death, the three wives decided to stay together.
“The big secret of the show is that it’s always been a feminist show,” Producer Will Scheffer says. “And even though it was dramatizing this very patriarchal system in some ways, the opportunities that women found — particularly in this very abusive system — to support each other was what drew us to the material in the first place, and gave us reason to want to explore it. … We felt that there were opportunities for women to find support in one another.”
But Bill Paxton wasn’t on board at first when he was told his character was going to be shot to death.
“We were in the room when Bill read the script. … Bill wasn’t happy,” Scheffer explained.
“Initially, we should say,” Olsen added. “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. 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.”
And the rest of the crew agreed eventually that the ending was the perfect close to the show as shown in a special HBO featurette.
Watch the Big Love “After the Finale Featurette” below!