Patricia Arquette

Having a dream come true this year Patricia Arquette makes history on TV as the fist female lead on the popular franchise CSI. Arquette takes the role of special agent Avery Ryan en the spinoff CSI: Cyber.  CSI: Cyber is truly the Patricia Arquette show. The first CSI to be led by a woman, this latest incarnation is very 2015 while not trying any sort of genre or franchise overreach in what has obviously been a successful endeavor for CBS over most of the past 15 years. The actress, who won last month her first Oscar for Boyhood, talked to us about her career, her choices and her family.

Having a dream come true this year Patricia Arquette makes history on TV as the fist female lead on the popular franchise CSI. Arquette takes the role of special agent Avery Ryan en the spinoff CSI: Cyber.  CSI: Cyber is truly the Patricia Arquette show. The first CSI to be led by a woman, this latest incarnation is very 2015 while not trying any sort of genre or franchise overreach in what has obviously been a successful endeavor for CBS over most of the past 15 years. The actress, who won last month her first Oscar for Boyhood, talked to us about her career, her choices and her family.

Q: You were in “Medium” before and now you’re doing “CSI: CYBER.”  In both shows you are – they are both procedurals and you are the lead.  And then both are based on characters that are from real life, I mean, real life people.  So I wanted to know how you feel about being the lead in these types of shows?

A. Well for me it’s very exciting. And there are similarities as you have pointed out although in both of them actually I’m not playing the character like the real people.  And we had conversations about that choice with both of them because Mary would be a whole different story.  She’s Irish and you know a different backstory which could work also but – and they’re very different procedurals in a way because “Medium” was very heart-based.  She was an empath by nature. This is very psychological.  So in “Medium” my character was very heart-based, this character is much more brain-based.  But you’re right, it’s not often times that you have female leads in procedurals and I think that’s exciting to see, frankly, and I think it makes sense. Women are smart.

Q. Were you aware of the risks people take when we are online and using gadgets, and if knowing more with the show if you were worried maybe about your children especially?

A. You know I actually wasn’t that aware.  I was slightly aware, I was definitely interested in what the NSA was doing, and you know – and I knew a little bit about hacking, a tiny bit.  But I had no idea and I don’t think most people know.  We brought these devices into our homes. We’ve incorporated them with their conveniences into every aspect of our lives but the things that they’re capable of are also really terrifying. And you know you can go back, “Kojak,” “Colombo,” great cop shows. We’ve seen cop shows with guns. Very little has changed with the cop and a gun over the last 50 years but this is all new, and this is really happening, and this is really possible, and there’s new crazy developments all the time.  What is just strange to me is the amount of brilliant people that are spending their brilliance to do terrible things is pretty stunning.  Well after working on this show I just want my kids to throw everything away, get a pencil and a paper, I’m going to get a pager. Talk to you later!  Hi good to see you.

Q. Just wondering how good are you, since you’re the cyber psychologist, how good are you at reading human behavior in real life?

A. Okay I have to say I’m not sure if it’s – I think part of it is probably just being a woman.  Probably from caveman days, we’ve kind of had to ascertain pretty quickly if somebody was trustworthy or dangerous.  So I think women in general are all sort of brought up to try to hone those skills.  And then as an actress, every character you play you have to understand their underpinnings and why they do what they do.  So for me, my mother was a therapist so I grew up very early on before people were talking about narcissist, passive-aggressive, deviant behavior, I was hearing it all day long from my mum.  You know the DMSO, which is basically the Bible of human bizarre behaviors and how they work, so for me it’s kind of familiar and it’s part of the way that I approach acting in general.  I like to look at those aspects of my characters.

Q. After Boyhood why the allure of returning to television when obviously your movie career could go flaming hot again?

A. Well let me let you in little on the reality of the movie business.  The movie business has changed a lot in the last ten years and frankly there are a lot of incredible actresses that are not making a living and are really, really struggling and suffering.  And I’ve always loved doing small art movies really for art’s sake and for the project.  And then I really like the idea of network television, which is basically free, you have to watch some commercials but it’s free, and it’s entertainment for the masses.  I’m a fourth generation actor. My great grandparents were in vaudeville, which is basically like network TV. It was five cents per show.  So I really love that idea.  I also felt that there was a real elitism towards television that I wanted to go against.  And I’ve seen a lot of people not work because their ego about what – how good the material should be and what is proper for them to do with their celebrity status, what material’s worthy of them; after a while no one hires them.  Little movies don’t hire them. No one hires them.  And the truth is, even movies today are paying very few people enough money to survive.  So I’m grateful for this opportunity and I like the idea of reaching worldwide audiences, I like the idea of being in someone’s apartment in Dubai, someone’s shack in Mexico, all over the world.  I mean I’ve worked in aid work in the world and it’s amazing how many people can watch television. Sometimes they’re hungry but they get to watch television.  And I like to be a part of that momentary forgetting of troubles.

Q.  So you know a few months ago there was the scandal where so many celebrity pictures were leaked online.  And while that made headlines across the world, there was very little space devoted how such hacking happens and what you can do to prevent it.  Now you being part of the industry that was affected and perhaps even knowing a few people whose pictures went online, would you see that as one of the primary reasons why the interest?

A. I do, I do think it is important because – I mean there’s so many things to answer to that question but I do think these sort of crimes – and I do consider this a major crime – are possible because of these new technologies.  And I think audiences are going to be really interested every week. I am every time I get one of our scripts like, really, can they do this? Oh my God, can they really do this thing?  As far as celebrity hacking, I think there’s a real love/hate relationship that people have with celebrities.  If it was all of these wives of army soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq had had their nude photos taken that they’d sent their husbands, I think there might have been a different response from the public.  But the truth is as an actor, you do spend months away from your partner sometimes and to maintain fidelity with each other and a connection with each other, you want to share intimacies with your beloved and there’s nothing deviant about that.  The deviant thing is when other people feel they have a right to impose themselves into your private sexuality.  And as a community or society that would agree with that concept or blame the victim, that is a deviant behavior. And we have to be very careful what we teach our children, that that is not acceptable.  The same way I would teach my son on a date not to maul or paw them or to force himself on a woman when she says no.  I would teach my child, that’s their private sexuality.  You have no business in it; they didn’t send it to you. Basically I consider it a societal molestation, when people share other people’s sexuality that they didn’t give to them.

Q.  You are one of the biggest stars in TV right now.  And he also talked about your work in movies.  How do you see yourself as an actor right now after all these years?

A. Well, first of all as an actress, I’m just grateful I’m working.  There’s an incredible amount of talented people that don’t have work.  So I’m very grateful to be working, to have this -- the fan base that I have, the people that have watched my work and been supportive of me I’m really grateful for television and movies.  There’s more opportunities in television in general for women and I’m grateful to be part of an industry that is supporting women.  I think you can protect yourself as best you can with your passwords.  And I don’t think it’s realistic to say to people, don’t send your boyfriend a sexy picture of yourself when you’re 3000 miles away for three months.  I really think what has to change is the laws.  Because I think in general, most people won’t break the law if they think they’re going to get in trouble.  And if they think well, if you do open that click, you could get six months in jail.  I think a lot of people wouldn’t share other people’s sexuality.  This is why power is a very dangerous thing in the hands of a lot of people.  Suddenly they have the power. In their hands, is someone’s private sexuality and it says a lot about you as a person and what you do with that.

Q. Do you speak Spanish living in Los Angeles?

A. No I don’t speak Spanish I hardly speak English

Q. But do you read Spanish authors?

A. Yes I do love to read. So far now I don’t have time because I do have to read scripts but I’m always a devoted reader

Q.How do you fit in the long hours of taking on a series lead?

A. Well, I have to say on this show, I mean they are super solid on this show.  They write ahead of time – they’re really super organized on the show.  So I’ve had a little more time than I had on “Medium.”  Having said that, I’ve been doing a lot of press for “Boyhood” so, you know, it’s always a struggle no matter what.  And then when you’re out of work, you’re worried about getting work to feed your kids.  So it’s just a constant thing.  I mean there’s a theory also of parents you know the psychological concepts of what good parents are  change from Dr. Spock to you know, don’t pick up your kids in the crib, have your kids in bed with you, you know, attachment parenting it changes all the time.  But there is this theory now of the “good enough mom,” that children who actually are the most adjusted and prepared for life don’t have every single need met immediately.  They have loving parents, they have good parents, but they don’t have parents that are just enslaved to every moment of their child’s every whim. I think if your kids grow up knowing that you love them and that you care about them and you want them to be who they are as on their own, and follow their desires in life, and have good values and are nice people to others, I think you did your job.

Question: How do you feel with your Oscar

Patricia Arquette: The weird thing is, I’m 46-years-old.  I have been in this business for so long.  All these people loved this movie called “True Romance” I did.  It was this box office bomb.  Nobody paid any attention to it at all.  Other movies I’ve been in, “Lost Highway” with David Lynch. Other movies that were interesting movies, nobody cared about so I really didn’t think anything was going to happen at this moment in my life.  Of course having said that, I’m a fourth generation actor so I mean, it’s lovely to have so much attention to a project that you’re a part of.  But really we all feel like this particular movie of all movies, it’s like the three musketeers or the five musketeers really.  It’s like we made this together and however we can support this movie and support each other- it’s a celebration of all of us and our 400-person crew and everyone who showed up for 12 years.

Q. You are a fourth generation actor and now a prestigious actress. How was it to grow up in what sounds like a really creative environment? And did you always know that you wanted to be an actor?

A. I did but I also wanted to be a midwife, which is sort of like being an actor - a little bit.  It was the only way I knew how it was to grow up.  I didn’t really know any other way.  I knew it was probably a little more dramatic than your regular household but it was also super fun.  I remember when my daughter was little, her dad and I were playing with her and she was like, you’re a bear daddy and you’re hurt, your paws hurt. And mama, you’re a bear and you have some honey for me. And so we’re playing on the beach and he’s an injured bear, and I’m this bear with honey, and she’s a baby bear.  Somebody was watching us and like goes, so that’s how actors raise their kids. Okay, I’m not spending 40 minutes with my kid pretending we’re bears or a hurt bear and you know the feelings of bears and how this bear family survives this tragic paw accident.  So basically, I’m going to say it was kind of fun and amazing.  And I watched this great documentary about the Woodman family.  Francesca Woodman was this photographer and artist and the whole family are artists.  And the mom and dad said to their kids, you better be artists. There’s nothing if you’re not an artist.  There’s no point.  We have nothing to say to you. We are not interested.  So even though my parents really did not want me to be an actor, or any of us, they kind of raised us to be that.

Q. I’d like to know, Patricia, what keeps you grounded on a daily basis?  And if you can quickly tell us the journey after the end of “Medium?” What did you do and what really pushed you to go back to TV?

A. Well I think – I think your early childhood really influences who you are and definitely my parents influenced who I was as a person.  We were very poor at a certain point in our life, and when I was little we lived in a hippie commune in Virginia.  We didn’t have a lot of money at all.  So all I knew was kind of nature and creativity and I think it was much more difficult for my parents than it was for me.  When I moved to California, I went to this school and this boy said, what kind of car does your dad drive? And I said yeah, my dad has a car.  Because in the commune there was like two trucks everyone shared, and I was like, Jesus it’s so much easier when you have a car, you actually have a car.  So he’s like, okay what kind of car? And I was like; I didn’t know there was different brands- better ones, and other ones more expensive ones, cooler ones.  So I just said what do you mean? And he goes, what kind? Toyota? Mercedes? What is it?  And I said, it’s not a truck.  He was like, okay there’s something wrong with you.  But that’s kind of how I grew up.  Like I really know how it is to be a poor child and not have shoes in the summer, but have shoes in the winter.  I know how it is to be hungry and hear your mom, you know, really worried about paying bills and buying food.  So I think that influenced a lot, me not taking things too seriously, the kind of – there was an illusion in Hollywood and there’s an illusion in fame and I never really took it seriously.  And I was a single mom at 20.  You know, I didn’t see that coming either and it was hard to figure out.  There were times I was like, how do I buy food and diapers? How do you do this?  How’s this possible? And I don’t want to borrow money from everybody.  I want to feed my kid myself.  And as far as the time “Medium” ended, I was pretty exhausted when “Medium” ended. I kind of needed a break and to be there for my daughter.  And I was reading material and I wasn’t really finding anything that interesting.  And I kept reading things, I still wasn’t very interested.  I worked on some other projects. I did “Boardwalk Empire.” I did a movie which Martin Scorsese produced. Just a really dark, really interesting movie.  So I did some other projects but then I read this and my son was a fan of this show, my daughter was a fan of this show at her dad’s house.  They were like, “CSI!” You’ve got to read that! I want to read that, Mom.  I’m like, no, you can’t read it. Let me read it first and have my own opinion for a minute. And I really liked it. I liked the character. I really like this group that they put together, Shad Moss, Lil’ Bow Wow, is a rapper and he’s in this show, he’s part of the team. He’s a really talented actor, really funny and sweet.  And James [Van Der Beek] is really kind of the all-American hero and perfect archetype.  We have so many great people on the show and the writing is really good and this material’s interesting.  And it’s hard for me. It’s really a challenge.  Technical jargon is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Q: How is your relation with your brothers and sisters?

A. I love my family. They’re sweet, wonderful, generous, creative good people and I’m really lucky to be in the same family as them.  Our parents died when we were pretty young, on the younger side and I think it brought us back together, really much closer.

© Carrienelson1 |




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