I know how it is to be poor, to be hungry: Patricia Arquette

  • Shweta Mehta Sen, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2015 15:45 IST

Almost three decades after she started acting, Patricia Arquette has her first-ever Oscar nomination — Best Supporting Actress — for the 2014 film, Boyhood (the 87th Academy Awards will air in India on February 23, from 5.30 am). Going by the slew of honours she’s already won, the actor is a top contender for the Oscar too.

But, instead of cashing in on the film’s popularity and waiting for big scripts to come her way, Arquette has chosen to return to TV with a lead role after four years. At a press conference in Los Angeles, USA, she spoke about TV, the Oscar nomination, and more.|

How are you dealing with all the Oscar buzz?

The weird thing is, I’m 46 years old. I have been in this business for so long. People loved this movie called True Romance (1993) that I did. I’ve also been in Lost Highway (1997) with David Lynch, and other interesting movies. But no one cared about them, so I didn’t think anything was going to happen at this point in my life.

Having said that, I’m a fourth-generation actor, so it’s lovely to have so much attention on a project (Boyhood) that you’re a part of. But, really, we all feel like this particular movie is a celebration of us, the 400-person crew, and everyone who showed up for 12 years.

You’ve got glowing reviews for Boyhood (2014), and your film career could be going great guns. Why return to TV now?

The reality of the movie business is that it’s changed a lot in the last 10 years, and a lot of incredible actresses are struggling, and not making money. I’ve always loved the idea of doing small movies for art’s sake, but I also like the idea of network TV, which offers entertainment to the masses. I felt there was a real elitism towards television, which I wanted to go against.

I’ve seen a lot of people not work because of their ego regarding how good the material should be, and what’s proper for them to do as per their celebrity status. After a while, no one hires them.

The celebrity picture leaks made headlines last year. Being part of the affected industry, and maybe even having friends who suffered, did that pique your interest in a cyber-crime show (CSI: Cyber; to air soon on AXN India)?

Yes. These are major crimes, and they are possible because of new technologies. Every time I read the script for an episode, I think, ‘Oh my God, can they really do this?’ As far as celebrity hacking goes, I think there’s a real love/hate relationship that people have with stars. If the wives of soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq had their nude photos taken that they’d sent their husbands, I think there might have been a different response from the public.

The truth is, as an actor, you spend months away from your partner sometimes, and to maintain fidelity and a connection with each other, you want to share intimacies, 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. We have to be very careful in teaching our children that it’s not acceptable.

What keeps you grounded amidst the glitz of the film industry?

I think your early childhood really influences who you are, and my parents definitely influenced who I am 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, USA. When I moved to California, a boy asked what kind of a car my dad drives, and I said, ‘Yeah, my dad has a car.’ I was referring to our commune, where there were two trucks that everyone shared. Then he asked what car it was, and I didn’t even know there were different ones. I just said, ‘It’s not a truck.’

He thought something was wrong with me... I know how it is to be poor, to be hungry, and to hear your mum worried about paying bills and buying food. So, there’s an illusion in Hollywood, and in fame, which I’ve learnt to not take seriously.

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