Bill Paxton visited his old summer camp to research ‘Indian Summer’ role

When he was cast in a movie about adult campers who return to their old summer camp in the early, the late actor Bill Paxton researched his role by visiting the North Carolina camp he attended as a teen.

In the 1993 movie Indian Summer, Paxton played Jack Belston, who returns to Camp Tamakwa (filmed at the real-life Camp Tamakwa) for the first time since getting kicked out of camp, for reasons that are later revealed in the film. Unlike the others invited back by the director, Jack has a rebellious outsider spirit and missed out on many of the opportunities the other returning campers reminisce about.

While it didn’t make many of the obits for Paxton when he died in late February, it was a memorable role that showed some of the range that would sustain him for another two decades in the movie business.

Paxton visited Camp Mondamin while preparing for the role in 1991, according to a blog post on the camp’s website. “It was very cool for the boys!” the post notes.

The Texan was a camper there as a teenager and paid his way as part of the “work program” or “scullery crew” as he called it in a 2014 South Living article.

“It was near East Flat Rock, and every summer the town did a production of Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe at the Flat Rock Playhouse,” he said in the interview. “That’s when I first started thinking about acting and filmmaking. I love that kind of storytelling.”

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. i loved this movie, it reminded me of my camp trip in 6th grade. the actors are great, and now missing Bill Paxton…he had a great line when they were teasing, taunting, and tormenting one of their fellow campers…I will never forget his line…”we are not good people!”

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