While Bill Paxton doesn't think his performance in Aliens is anything to celebrate, for the rest of us Hudson is one of the most memorable characters in James Cameron's 1986 sequel thanks to Paxton's deliriously freaked-out line readings, including the most famous of all: “Game over, man! Game over!”
First, I should mention that both producer Gale Anne Hurd and Cameron defended Paxton against his own self-recriminations during the panel, with Cameron hitting the nail on the head when it came to defining Paxton's crucial role in the film: “It's the measure of the tension of the film on the audience, and you give them the ability to laugh. And it releases that tension so it can build up again.” Cameron is right; and it's a testament to Paxton that he, not his writer/director, came up with the character's most famous line. Here's how the actor recounted it for us prior to the panel:
“I'm not great at improvising on the spot. The stuff I improvised was stuff that wasn”t in the script, but it was stuff that I”d throw at Jim [Cameron] in a rehearsal. Jim is a — his mind's like a steel trap. He'd remember something I'd said when we were rehearsing at a scene we were shooting 2 months later. He'd say, 'You said something when we rehearsing to Sigourney. You said something about the express elevator to hell…put that in here.' That was kind of cool, that was kind of fun. 'Game over, man,' was really the background of the character.
“I figured…[Hudson] was kind of the enlisted version of Gorman who was the officer, [played by] Bill Hope. He probably came up on video games and back in those days you always … I don't think they do it anymore because I don't play video games but it always at the end of your quarter, [it said] 'Game over.'…'Wow, has anybody ever used that, I wonder? Because it's good.' I had no idea it would catch on.”
They never do.
The Aliens 30th anniversary Blu-ray hits stories on September 13.