'Frailty' Is Child's Play For Paxton

updated 03/28/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/28/2002 01:00PM

Actor Bill Paxton made his decision to bring the story of a serial killer who murders in the name of God to the screen long before the events of September 11. The 46-year-old first-time director simply thought it was a great script. Sitting in the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles to promote "Frailty" this week, the Texas native hopes that six months after the tragedy, viewers will be able to judge his film on its own merits. "The world of 'Frailty' is overseen by an Old Testament style deity who believes in revenge against evildoers," he told PEOPLE at a press conference for the film. "To me the movie has always been about a familial tragedy. Look at what happens to this nice family when dad goes off the deep end." In the film, which opens April 12, Matthew McConaughey, 32, plays Fenton Meiks, who volunteers information to police about the identity of a serial killer known as 'God's Hands." Through flashbacks, viewers are taken back to Meiks's rural childhood as his widowed father (Paxton) experiences disturbing visions ordering the family to purge the world of demons. In real life, Paxton is the dad of two children, James, 8, and Lydia, 4. Asked if they have an interest in following in their father's showbiz footsteps, Paxton told PEOPLE: "So far my kids have absolutely not shown any interest in becoming actors or directors. They haven't even made the connection yet. I don't take them to premieres. I am trying to create a normal background for my kids. However, I wouldn't try to talk them out of it if my son or daughter wanted to become filmmakers. I believe in letting kids find their own way."

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