(Spoiler alert!) The "Big Love" series finale aired on HBO Sunday night after five seasons of exploration into the world of a family of polygamists. The final moments of the episode left fans divided and one actor unhappy with the outcome. Warning spoilers below.
In the final minutes of the show Bill Hendrickson, patriarch of the family and state senator of Utah, is killed by his neighbor Carl. According to the show's producer Mark Olsen, Bill Paxton, the actor who played Hendrickson, had "a big problem" with this outcome.
"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," Olsen said in an interview with NPR's "Fresh Air."
He adds, "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."
"We didn't want Bill to go out a loser or a failure or an unrepentant fundamentalist," Olsen explains. "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."
Despite its controversial premise, series producer Will Scheffer insists that the show actually empowers its female characters, including Bill Hendrickson's three wives Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin).
"The big secret of the show is that it's always been a feminist show. 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," Scheffer told NPR. "We felt that there were opportunities for women to find support in one another."
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