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Suited to a T-1000

Source: Schwarzenegger.com
Year: 4 November 2002
Russian Version

You ask any Arnold fan what their favorite Arnold movie is, and most of them will name Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Even Arnold admits that it is his favorite among his own films. The reasons to love T2 are numerous. The story, combined with groundbreaking special effects and death-defying stunts, propelled audiences right back into the world of John and Sarah Connor vs. Skynet with a seamless ease.

On the other side of the camera, someone else was propelled into that same world, while, at the same time, instantly becoming one of the reasons to love the film. His name is Robert Patrick, and if you call yourself an Arnold fan, then you already know which role he played. A relative unknown until he was cast as Arnold's seemingly unstoppable liquid metal adversary, Robert Patrick has skyrocketed into stardom from the T2 launching pad.

And why not? His physicality, training, dedication, and his commitment to perfection landed him the juicy role of the T-1000, and he clearly showed that he was capable of tackling any role, including one as intimidating as going up against Arnold.

Just like Arnold, Robert is into Harley Davidson motorcycles, and, again, just like Arnold, he donates his time to charitable causes. On November 10th, 2002, he will be participating in Love Ride 19. To find out more information about Robert Patrick and the Love Ride, be sure to visit his official Web site at: www.robert-patrick.com.

We caught up with Robert for a telephone interview just this week.

Schwarzenegger.com: Tell us about your life growing up. Give us a story about the life of the young Robert Patrick.

Robert Patrick: The young Robert Patrick moved around a lot with his family. I lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dayton, Detroit and Cleveland before I got to Hollywood. I was very athletic, involved in baseball, in football. I went to high school in Detroit. Played sports through high school and that's about it.

Schwarzenegger.com: When did you decide to get into acting?

Robert Patrick: While I was in college I decided that's what I thought I wanted to do. I was about eighteen or nineteen. The first play I ever did was when I was young. I did Peter Pan when I was in the third grade in Atlanta, Georgia, and I was Peter Pan.

Schwarzenegger.com: When did you first meet Arnold?

Robert Patrick: The first time I met Arnold I was invited to dinner. I was Jim Cameron's guest. I think we ate at a restaurant called Michael's in Santa Monica, if I'm not mistaken. It was myself, Linda Hamilton, Jim Cameron, Arnold and his wife, Maria. Arnold was great. Obviously, you know, he's got a great sense of humor. He's a very funny guy to have dinner with. He's a great dinner guest. That was the first time I met him, and he was just super. Really a nice guy, made me feel right at home. I was really charmed by Maria; she's quite something, a great lady. He's a very lucky man.

Schwarzenegger.com: Describe your experiences on the Terminator 2 set. Did you have fun working with Arnold and the Terminator gang?

Robert Patrick: I had a ball with him on the set. Absolutely. We were both very professional. We both showed up, did our work, and we were under, well, I was under a great deal of pressure because I was an unknown and I had been given this plum role and I didn't want to screw it up. I put myself under a lot of pressure to do everything perfect, so I wasn't really one to really mess around. I wasn't confident enough with myself to really make jokes or to have as much fun. It was all pretty much business with me. So, not a lot of my personality came out during the course of that filming, because I was so worried about screwing up. I felt a great amount of pressure out of respect for Jim Cameron and Arnold. I wanted to do the best job I could. I didn't mess around a lot is where I'm going with this. I mean there were definitely laughs. I remember there was this scene in the final confrontation where I'm beating Arnold with this steel rod, and he had this prosthetic arm on one of his arms, his real arm was like tucked up behind his back. There was like this specific spot where I was allowed to hit him that was padded and I had to hit it there so it would look right. I remember one take I missed and I hit him in the arm and he didn't flinch, you know, he didn't move. When the take was over, he craned his neck back and looked at me and just said "Robert, that was my real arm." So, I was a little nervous about retaliation, but there was none forthcoming.

Schwarzenegger.com: Did you know when you were cast as the T-1000 that your character would become so memorable?

Robert Patrick: Well, obviously, I had hoped. My intention was just to be a good adversary for Arnold to match. To match and be superior in character that you would believe that I could get the upper hand on him or else the whole movie wouldn't work. I had obviously a great deal of faith in Jim Cameron and Stan Winston and everyone involved, so that was where my commitment was, to really pull this off. I didn't want to let him down or let anybody down but I had hoped it would be this memorable, I had an inclination it would, but I don't think I realized what an impact it would have, and how it would change my life.

Schwarzenegger.com: You ended up in Last Action Hero and Wayne's World playing the same role, too, didn't you?

Robert Patrick: Yeah, yeah, I did. And that was very generous of Jim Cameron to allow me to use that character in those films.

Schwarzenegger.com: How did you approach the role?

Robert Patrick: It was really an exercise in convincing yourself and believing yourself that you were this thing and I stole and did as much as I could from anybody and anywhere that I could think of.

Schwarzenegger.com: Even Arnold in the first Terminator?

Robert Patrick: I did watch what Arnold did in the first one as far as movements and I did try to come up with something that would be similar to that, but if you notice the endoskeletons of the characters are different so the movements are different. Mine was more fluid, but I definitely wanted to mirror a lot of the things he had done and I thought it was appropriate and I think that's what eventually got me, or, why I got the role is the fact that I sort of went in doing what you saw in the movie in my audition. Definitely, yes, I was familiar with the movie and did try to make something very similar to it.

Schwarzenegger.com: Did that differ from the way you approached the role of Agent Doggett in the X-Files?

Robert Patrick: Yeah, that role, the T-1000, is totally different from anything I've ever done since. Other roles, now, you know, you approach them a lot differently, and Doggett is obviously a breathing human being, so there's a lot of difference you can do there and in every role since then. All the things I had to resist allowing you to see as the Terminator are things I now try to bring to my work and bring to those characters.

Schwarzenegger.com: The T-1000 seemed to have a wry sense of humor as well, was that a choice?

Robert Patrick: That was all a Jim Cameron influence and I'm glad he did that. Yeah, that was all Jim stuff. I have a sense of humor. I do have a wry sense of humor and a slightly dry sense of humor. I definitely understood it and it suited me well. Thank God that was all he demanded of me for that.

Schwarzenegger.com: Would you say that the T-1000 was your favorite character?

Robert Patrick: He's one of the ones that I'm the most proud of, but I can't say that he's my favorite. But he's one of my close top favorites. I've done some roles since that I'm really proud of. I was proud of what I did in CopLand. I really liked what I did in Terminator 2; there have just been a lot of characters since that I've done that I've really enjoyed. I REALLY enjoyed John Doggett. He was definitely a role that I very much enjoyed. He might be my favorite. Yeah, Doggett might be my favorite actually. But I really liked the character I played in CopLand, a little movie I did called "The Only Thrill" with Sam Shepherd, Diane Keaton and Diane Lane, and another movie, a very obscure little independent movie called "Texas Funeral" with Martin Sheen. He was great; he played my dad. I am enjoying playing humans a little bit more now.

Schwarzenegger.com: The special effects involved in bringing the T-1000 to life were breathtaking. They also required a lot from you. Can you tell us about that process?

Robert Patrick: Everybody involved with that character was very generous in allowing me to really participate and have an understanding of what they were going to do with me. The people involved, from ILM, and Stan Winston's team, they really wanted my input in what I wanted to do with the physicality of the role and how I saw the role. They wanted to know that and to film it to get a sense of how I move, how I walked, what I planned on what was going to be the run for the guy. It's funny; those are the things that made the indelible impression on everybody, you know, the run and the walk. I really feel like that's what I added to the effects was that physicality that was blended with the ILM and Stan Winston's work, and that's why it all appeared seamless. All that stuff was in its infancy, so I think everybody was really scratching their heads and trying to figure it out and it did demand a sort of exactness on my part that could be very frustrating because no one could explain to me how to achieve it. "We're scratching our heads as well, but I don't know what to tell you, but you have to walk in here and you have to hit this mark, you were like a quarter of an inch off and it has to be right on." You know, things like that, so, I sort of liken that experience to acting under a microscope. It was a lot of training prior to the filming. I was studying a martial arts discipline just to understand my movement better.

Schwarzenegger.com: Which one?

Robert Patrick: It's called Wushu, and I had a friend that was very fluent in it and he put me through a pretty basic camp, his name is Steve Cook. Pretty much everything he taught me in his boot camp I used, and all that training, and the training I did with this other guy helped me believe that I really was this robot, and as I said before, that was the trick. Everyday I had to show up and convince myself that I literally was this guy and that's not easy to do. There are many distractions. I really consider the whole T2 experience sort of like a boot camp, military type of an experience that I endured and sort of graduated from if that makes any sense to you.

Schwarzenegger.com: What are your future plans now that the X-Files has ended?

Robert Patrick: Well, I'm doing Charlie's Angels 2 right now, and I'm playing a U.S. Marshal that's involved with the girls, with the Angels. I'm having a great deal of fun with that. I'm working with all three girls, that's Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore. Demi Moore is also on the movie, and I worked with her before in Striptease. I'm having a great time working with them. I just completed a pilot, called "Snitch" for the FX network that I'm very excited about and I hope that goes. We should find out within a couple of weeks. I just did a just did a mini-series for NBC called "First To Die," which should be out in February. That's about it right now, but that's going to keep me busy until the end of the year and I'm sure something great will pop up right behind it. One thing I want to say, here, is obviously, the T2 experience and working with Arnold it totally changed my life, and I am very indebted to all those involved, because it's given me a great career.

Schwarzenegger.com: What are your thoughts about T3? Are you excited about it?

Robert Patrick: Oh, I'm very excited about it. I know Jonathan Mostow. I've met him; he's a great guy. I have a lot of faith in him as a director and writer and filmmaker. I think he's going to be able to pull it off. I think it's going to be interesting to see what kind of elements they use from the first two movies. I just can't wait to be transported back or in the future or wherever we go, and see what Arnold does with it.

Schwarzenegger.com: Do you have any words of advice for Kristanna Loken, the new Terminatrix?

Robert Patrick: Sit back, and get ready to enjoy. If I had talked to her BEFORE she did the movie, I would have said Don't Blink! I tried to blink as little as possible. But it's hard not to blink. Especially when you're firing a weapon.

 

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