Actor and Musician James Paxton about his love for his crafts – and his family’s legacy

HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY – What do you do when your father was a cinema legend? You either capitalize the last name for your own career – or mark your own journey and continue an illustrious legacy through hard work and independence. James Paxton opted the latter – and he’s enjoying every minute of it.

Shirt and pants by Slate; sweater by Mitchell Evan; shoes by Givenchy

Who could ever forget the legacy of late character actor Bill Paxton? With a resumè that consists masterpieces like “Aliens”, “Titanic” and HBO’s “Big Love,” he was an icon of his generation. And being the son of this legend, James Paxton was introduced to the glitz, glam and glories of filmmaking since a very young age. Now on a path on his own, James wanted to do things on his terms – without piggybacking on his father’s name. That’s why James started from the bottom; he’s a reputable indie and TV performer, as well as a gifted musician. But that’s merely the start – because James is ready to try new challenges and make it big.

Shirt by Raga Man; pants by Ted Baker; shoes by Givenchy

DA MAN: Hello, James! Thank you for joining us. How are you doing today?

JAMES PAXTON: I’m doing well! Happy to be here!


DA MAN: What would be a role or character that you would like to take on that you haven’t already and why? 

JAMES PAXTON: I would have to say it’s to play someone that existed in time. Like a role in a historical picture or a real life figure that hasn’t been told yet. I’ve always wanted to throw my hat into the Western genre. I’d also love to do a comedy of some kind!


DA MAN: With your father being an actor, growing up did you want to become an actor as well? What got you into acting?   

JAMES PAXTON: I grew up on sets and seeing him in his elements all the time. He’s absolutely and always will be my greatest inspiration in this wild business. I actually went to university to study journalism before I became an actor. I dropped out when I realized acting wasn’t a far cry from that, because it’s all about doing research, learning about different professions and things we’re not familiar with, in order to accurately portray a character – haven’t looked back since.

Shirt by WeRUneek
Jacket and shirt by Mitchell Evan; shorts by Argyle Grant
Sweater and boots by Ted Baker; shirt by Slate; jeans by Levi’s

DA MAN: What other aspirations did you have as a child/young adult outside of acting? 

JAMES PAXTON: Making music has really been my greatest passion since I was 12, but I really couldn’t live without acting. I actually find both things quite similar and each one helps the other for me.


DA MAN: With five films in production now and several more upcoming projects, tell us about one of the characters you have played that you can best relate to (or that you had the most fun playing). 

JAMES PAXTON: I just recently acted in a really great independent film called “Bit,” my role was the main character’s brother. This role was a little too close to home in some ways; I am both a brother and an actor just like the character I played. It ended up being my favorite filming experience!


DA MAN: What is your favorite movie genre to watch, and is it different from your preferred genre to act in?

JAMES PAXTON: I definitely don’t have a favorite movie genre to watch, I can pretty much get myself into anything. I’m always down for a good rom-com and even sometimes enjoy bad movies. Although, I love a good underdog story, dramas that really take you on a journey and show you what it truly means to overcome adversity. In terms of being able to get into anything, the same goes for acting pretty much.


DA MAN: As an actor with experience in both television and movies, do you feel you thrive/connect more in movies or television, or do they both give you the same feel?

JAMES PAXTON: In television, you usually get a lot more time to carry a character with you through a whole arc. You have a lot more material to chew on and do what you will with it. But on the other hand you also have a much greater responsibility to keep a character’s development and arc interesting and engaging. In movies, you show up for two to five weeks on average and shoot your part out as fast as possible. Sometimes in movies I find that I’m more wrapped and connected with the character.

Shirt by Raga Man
Sweater by Ted Baker; shirt by A’Tzion; jeans by Slate
Sweater by Ted Baker; shirt by A’Tzion

DA MAN: We heard about there being a connection between the Entourage character named “Vincent Chase”, and his name actually being the name of your father’s friend. Would you mind sharing that story and how that came about?

JAMES PAXTON: Actually Vincent Chase was my Dad’s career long acting coach. He was also my great godfather and I grew up knowing him my whole life. My Dad and Mark Wahlberg worked together on “Traveller” back in 1997, where my Dad gave Vince a role in the film. Vince end up being Mark’s acting coach for the film as well. He always loved Vince’s name and hence decided to give the lead character in Entourage his name.


DA MAN: Musically, where does your inspiration come from, and when did you decide you wanted to create music?

JAMES PAXTON: Eminem, Mobb Deep, RA the Rugged Man, Murs, Atmosphere, Lil Boosie, Public Enemy etc. Those were all artists that inspired me to start writing rap lyrics. But I really wouldn’t say we [with his band, Ayyuh J] make rap music – It’s more of a genre blending thing and a literary tool we use in our music. We want to make everything honestly, and hopefully in the process, create something new.


DA MAN: Thank you for your time! What can we expect to see from you going forward?

Of course! Moving forward, I have a film called “Boogeyman Pop” that is making its rounds on the festival circuit right now, then another film called “An American In Texas” about a punk rock band in 1990. I also have an experimental rock album with Ayyuh J called “The Birds That Sing At Night.” Other than that it’s back to the auditioning grind!

Jacket by Ted Baker; shirt by Slate; jeans by Levi’s
Blazer by Zara; shirt by Slate; pants by Ted Baker; shoes by Givenchy


Photography Jalen Turner
Styling Ty Headlee
USA Creative Director Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Grooming Brendan Robertson at state