Robert Patrick continues to keep busy with both film and television
Bob Mahoney, Universal. Courtesy: Everett Collection
One of Hollywood’s busiest actors, Robert Patrick has been a steady face on the silver screen since wowing audiences in his memorable role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2. Since then, he’s had a consistent stream of hit films (Flags of our Fathers, Walk The Line, Spy Kids) and TV Shows (The X-Files, The Unit, The Sopranos). Currently, he’s starring in Gangster Squad, his TV show Last Resort just wrapped up on ABC, Identity Thief opens February 8th, his next film Lovelace was all the rage at Sundance and he’s been cast as a series regular in the upcoming season of True Blood. MSN caught up with Robert before his seventh USO tour to discuss his busy life.
It seems like you always have a film in theaters; with Gangster Squad going out Identity Thief is coming in where you play Skiptracer.
Skiptracer is actually an occupation. It’s kind of like a low-grade bounty hunter. It’s the guy who’s hired by a FedEx company to go after people that have skipped out on credit cards, and bills that they haven’t paid. Sort of like a bill collector kind of a guy. He’ll actually go and abduct people and bring them back to whoever it is that has a lean on them. He’s a bit of a survivalist. He’s an ex-military guy. Melissa McCarthy’s character has stolen the identity of Jason Bateman’s character. Because the police won’t really do anything about that, Jason decides to take matters into his own hands, so he travels down to Florida to find this person. He does and he gets her first, and is oblivious to the fact that I’m also on her tail. Then I steal her from him. It’s really funny.
What drew you to the role?
I wanted to be in a funny movie with some funny actors. A lot of the roles I do, people forget that I can do comedy. I did Striptease with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds back in the day. I’ve done a few comedies and I want to do more. I like being in successful movies. When I sat down with Seth Gordon, the director, I just said, “I just want to be funny. Make me funny dude!”
Talking about successful movies, one of the big buzz films coming out of Sundance this year is Lovelace.
I was on the set of Gangster Squad, and my agent called me and said they were interested in me playing Linda Lovelace’s father. I was encouraged to take a look at the script and see if I wanted to do it. When I read the script and thought about Amanda Seyfried playing Linda, I was very enthusiastic. It’s a very tragic story. It’s a sad story. I could really relate to the father’s character. He was a military guy. He was New York City cop. He was Catholic. He thought he raised his daughter one way, and then low and behold, she becomes the world’s most famous porn star. Then what kind of an effect did that have on him? I could relate to that in my own life. I have a daughter. These are things you want to try and keep your daughter from ever being exposed to.
How do you prepare for a role like that? Do you talk to others?
I’m a Christian. I’m not a catholic, but I can understand where John Boreman is coming from a religious point of view. I’ve played military guys, so I understand their point of view. I’ve played cops, so I understand their point of view. Just being around men in general in those kind of environments, how would that affect you if your daughter then grew up to become a porn star? It was the 1970’s. It was devastating for the guy. Even more so, the reality is that he loved his daughter and still loves his daughter. He just feels as if he failed her somehow. It was a devastating character to relate to from all those points of views and all that. I can’t wait to see the film. I haven’t seen it. I’m basing it on the scenes from what I remember doing, I had a really great relationship with Amanda. It was a genuine father/daughter sort of relationship that was very real, very quickly.
Are there things you do with her when you first meet to get that relationship going? Do you hang out off set and treat her like a daughter?
That’s a very good question. You know, you just meet and hope that it’s going to be that way. You just kind of have to go into it. You wonder what type of person she is and hope that you can relate to her. She was, and she is, and she’s still a friend. It was very easy for me to want to protect her. Very easy for me to relate to her as a daughter.
Being married to Sharon Stone isn’t half bad either, I would think.
No, being married to Sharon Stone is great thing. I’ve had a crush on her for years. I’m a very happily-married guy but a very happily heterosexual guy, and she’s a very attractive lady. She was great to work with. Sharon is a tremendous actress. The two of us have some wonderful scenes together. She has a whole completely different dynamic with Amanda than I do. Much tougher with Amanda, without getting in their story too much. I’m vey excited to see the movie. I love Amanda. I think she’s an incredible actress. She’s incredible in Les Misérables. She did a wonderful job. She has such a beautiful singing voice. I was corresponding with her, and I had sent that. She blew me away. I can’t wait to see Lovelace.
I assume you’ve already started shooting True Blood for next season.
Oh yes. When ABC cancelled Last Resort, I was very fortunate that HBO offered me a season regular for this particular season. We’re all signed in and will be working on this until June or July.
Are you allowed to say anything about it?
I’m just having a ball playing Jackson Herveaux. Alan Ball created that, and he’s a terrific writer. He’s just writing some great stuff for me. I’m just excited where this character’s going to go, and having fun playing a werewolf.
I’m a werewolf baby!
How do you prepare to be a werewolf? Do you watch Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox?
I prefer the sequel with Jason Bateman.
Oh yes, of course you would.
[Laughs.] I just ran into Michael J. Fox at the Golden Globes. I should have asked him. The funny thing is, I’m asking my son, “What do we do when we shift? How does that work?” He’s kind of helping me out. I’m even asking myself how it works. There’s like another whole little level of jargon involved with True Blood. You have the vampires and the way they lash the fangs. The werewolves have a way that they shift.
Five quick questions. One word answers. Hitchcock or Kubrick?
Who are they? I don’t know either one of them. [Laughs.] Hitchcock.
Lennon or McCartney?
Your biggest influence as an actor?
Role you’re the most proud of.
Max Kennard in Gangster Squad.
And in one word, Robert Patrick.
Robert Patrick can next be seen in Identity Thief, which hits theatres on Feb. 8, 2013.