The Paxton-Pullman Paradox

Since we created the world of CineDump, I've done my best to keep my writing light-hearted and fun. I tend to stay away from the issues and political discussions, but I feel I must, at the risk of sacrificing my silly reputation, get very serious with you, the reader, for a moment. It’s something that, I’m sure, has been on all of our minds for ages, but I feel I may be the first one willing to step up and speak out, even in the face of very serious personal risk. The world needs a voice, and I have accepted your challenge to be that very thing.

There is a crisis that has been going on for quite a while now and it has gone largely ignored. Sure, the U.S. government has a task force assigned, but, let’s be honest – they serve as nothing more than a figurehead. And, even if this task force was attempting to do something about it, how do we know that it’s not the government that is behind the whole thing (although, I suspect something beyond even that). The United Nations has shown some concern, but they can only do so much with the information that we allow them access to. I am speaking, of course, of the Paxton-Pullman Paradox.

Obviously, most of you know exactly what I’m referring to, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll give you a little background. In 1975, an actor by the name of Bill Paxton began his career with an uncredited role in the film Crazy Mama. Immediately, America and, yes, the world, fell instantly in love. We couldn’t get enough of this guy. In fact, he was in such demand, that there was just not enough time for him to appear in as many movies as the public needed to fulfill our Paxton cravings. Fair enough – we just have to settle for what we can get, right?

Then, all of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, there appeared on the scene one Bill Pullman. The world rejoiced as we now had another Bill that would fill many of the same needs that we demanded from Paxton. In fact, they have nearly indistinguishable acting styles, close in age, same first name, and strikingly similar last names. Coincidence? Wake up, people!

I know what you’re thinking – why should we care? Now, we have twice the Bill goodness and hardly a week goes by where one of them isn’t tearing up the box office. Take our money please, Bills! But, the problem that I have is this – where did this second Bill come from? Was he created in a lab? Was he sent from another world? Was he invented by Hollywood through the use of CGI in order to fulfill audience demand for more Paxton? I just don't know, and I certainly don't like it.

Soon, this phenomenon began to expand, going completely unchecked. After the Paxton-Pullman Paradox was recorded, instances of new occurrences began being reported by concerned citizens all over the country. Soon, we had both Michael Madsen and Tom Sizemore running around. Then came Paz Vega and Penelope Cruz, or Kiera Knightly and Natalie Portman, or even Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. I won’t even mention Javier Bardem and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, or Al Pacino and David Naughton, or certainly not Alan Cumming and Paul Reubens. I’m serious – I refuse to mention them or Jennifer Connolly and Mia Kirshner, so don’t even ask me to. It’s for yours and my own safety that I leave them out of this, along with Tim Robbins and Michael J. Pollard.

It’s now gotten to the point where, if one of our favorite actors/actresses is unable to do a part, we don’t need to get upset – there’s another one just like them waiting in the wings. Sure, it seems to be an ideal and pleasantly convenient solution, but it's also a little bit scary...

Perhaps what disturbs me most is the lengths that whoever/whatever villainy is behind this has gone to hide this truth. Every time that it seems the public is about to catch on (“hey, why don’t we ever see Pullman and Paxton in the SAME movie?”), they up the ante, and become ever more devious. They've tried varying the ages of the doubles, thereby giving us a younger version of the pre-existing specimen. Examples of this include Johnny Depp/Skeet Ulrich and the slightly lesser seen phenomena of Helen Hunt/Leelee Sobieski (this one actually came pretty close to exposing the whole thing when many of us realized that the name Leelee must be from another planet – perhaps part of them wanted to get caught).

Another trick that was used to throw us off the scent – having two different, separate actors slowly age and become exact replicas of each other over time. Case in point – Nick Nolte and Gary Busey. At one time, both seemingly had very distinct and separate careers, until 2003 when the long gestating merger became complete and we were left with but a single mug-shot perfecting substance. Ask yourself this – have you EVER seen Nolte and Busey on the same red carpet since that time? No. Now, ask yourself this – do you think either has been invited to a red carpet in the last fifteen years? Also, no, but you’re getting me off topic, which is exactly what they want you to do.

Further proof: Also in the 2000’s, we were introduced to the delightfulness that is Zooey Deschanel. We immediately loved her, but once they put a ukulele in her hand, this sprite little pixie could do absolutely no wrong. She could act, she could sing, and she could melt our hearts with a tiny little ‘who, me?” giggle. But, then they got greedy and decided to create an entire Zooey army. They gave us a pop star Zooey (Katy Perry), a grumpy Zooey (Krysten Ritter), and a Zooey who would do nudity (Lizzy Caplan). Should we stand for this? DeschaHELL no!

It gets much worse. The largest, and most unforgivable, deception was in the mid 1980’s, when we were introduced to the Coreys, Feldman and Haim. As soon as we began to suspect that they could be the same guy, they started pairing them up in the same movies. Soon enough, the two seemingly never appeared apart, so, of course, there couldn't be anything shady going on. That should satisfy us, right? Wrong! Many people are still not quite sure which one they pretended to kill off a few years ago…

It has also been recently discovered that they've been experimenting on ways to implement this plan as far back as the Civil War era. In the picture below, you'll see an unknown actor from the 1800's (let's call him Ulysses Thaddeus Beauregard III for simplicity's sake). As you can see, they began creating a replica many years ago, but were unable to master the technology for over a hundred years until they finally unleashed Nicolas Cage upon us. The next time someone asks if you want to see the new Nic Cage movie, you just tell them, "oh, you mean the new Ulysses Thaddeus Beauregard III movie? Sure." I can only imagine that Ulysses, too, began his career as a respectable actor before devolving into someone whose work is mostly released directly to mimeograph. In my interview with Nic (found HERE), you'll notice that he doesn't even mention Ulysses Thaddeus Beauregard III. Typical cover-up...

At this point, you may be, again, asking yourself – why is this guy so concerned with all of this? Any time that one of these doubles appear, we’re just getting more of the delightfulness that the original actor has provided us for years. You’re saying, “leave well enough alone, Jason, you paranoid, but still devilishly handsome guy, you”. Firstly, thank you – you’re making me blush. Secondly, I’ll tell you why I refuse to go unheard any longer – right now, it seems to have just plagued Hollywood, but what’s to stop it from expanding to the music world, politicians, world leaders, or, even worse – everyday people? Whoever/whatever has been doing this seems to have been perfecting their skills in a public forum, so it’s just a matter of time before they come after you.

Next time you consider taking a lazy day and calling in sick for work, remember this – SOMEONE has to do your job for you while you’re gone. Your “me” day could suddenly turn into a “him” or “her” day. After all, we've all seen someone on the street or at the store who looks just like Cindy from the office. If Cindy can be replaced at a moment’s notice, what makes you think that you’re safe? You’re not better than Cindy. Don’t let your arrogance and “it can’t happen to me” attitude be the reason that your friends and family all suspect something is different about you. They won’t pursue it any further because you’re just as endearing as ever. Don’t be the next Cindy…

If you’d like to join me in the fight and demand answers, find me on twitter at @Jason_Cinedump. I will, of course, need two forms of identification to know for sure that you are really who I think I'm speaking with. If I don’t respond, you’ll know that they've already gotten to me, and fulfilled their plan to replace me with Ryan Gosling. Don’t let my final words be in vain. Fight the fight. Question authority. Tug hard on Paxton’s cheek if you run into him. Be safe out there…

Jason Howard