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09/19/2012

The Craft: Actor Robert Patrick talks about Trouble With the Curve, Hollywood, & Terminator 2

Robert-patrick-1Actor Robert Patrick is a bit of a biker, and one of the rare Hollywood types who actually knows Fort Worth. Patrick hits town every so often as part of the Boozefighters motorcyle club. 

"We always stay at a hotel just south of TCU," he said.

He is preparing to participate in a large charity fundraiser called The Love Ride.

Patrick was nice enough to stop by and talk to The Big Mac Blog about his new movie, "The Trouble With the Curve" that stars Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake; it opens Sept. 21. Clint plays an aging MLB scout for the Atlanta Braves; Patrick plays the Braves GM. Patrick is currently in Hawaii filming a new TV show for ABC called, "Last Resort".

We talked about his new movie, baseball, making it in "the business", Peyton Manning, and his most famous role in The Terminator 2.

Big Mac Blog: Are you a baseball fan? 
Robert Patrick: I am. I love baseball and football. My first major league game was in Atlanta – the opening game at Fulton County Stadium. So to be able to play the general manager of the Braves is pretty amazing.

Big Mac Blog: Sports movies are historically tricky to make work – why does this one succeed?
Robert Patrick:
The movie does a real good job of capturing both worlds but (sports) is not the major vehicle. It’s about Clint’s relationship with his daughter which is equally tough to nail – a father/ daughter relationship.

ImagesBig Mac Blog:? You have been in the game for decades but is there any intimidation doing a scene with Clint Eastwood?
Robert Patrick:
Mac, it’s like … imagine Bryce Harper and you are going to have Orel Hershiser pitch to you. It’s intimidating and he is a hero and once you get passed that you realize it’s your time to shine and you have to do the job. It’s interesting you ask – as an actor you are hoping the guys you emulate or the guys respect your work. When they hire you to be in a film they are directing it’s an endorsement and a pat on the back to get the job done. But right before the camera rolls it’s like. ‘Wow everything I ever wanted is right here.’
"I worked with Harrison Ford I had the same feeling about that. Guys like Clint and Harrison they are really good at putting you at ease, Clint especially. He’s such a great guy. He has such a great sense of humor. It was a really comfortable experience. I feel like I delivered.

Robert-Patrick-T-1000Big Mac Blog: Making a living as an actor has to be as tough as it is in professional sports – have you had that moment where you felt like, ‘I did it – I made it.’?
Robert Patrick:
Your perception is great. That is the thing you have to remind yourself every day. I have made a living as an actor since 1990. When I did T2 I knew that I had a hard time getting a job after that movie I knew it would be easier to get into somebody’s office. I felt confident that I will have a career as an actor now.

Big Mac Blog: You have a quote where you say most of the things you have done aren’t that great but five are; do feel the ratio is that bad?
Robert Patrick:
You are never satisfied. You are constantly looking for something you haven’t found and haven’t done. Finding those sweet spot moments that are so rare. You are only so good as your last project.

Big Mac Blog: But that’s not true; if you did Cop Land and it’s good or another one that matters forever, that counts forever, right? 
Robert Patrick: I do think it counts. I’m saying that ‘Walk the Line’ was like that. Every now and then you feel like, ‘Yeah – yeah!’ You know – I’m proud of that. I’m there. Then to keep yourself in the hunt you are looking for what is next. Those are the things that I admire that go from one good project to the next and all the while you have to find a way to make a living.
"Some times you have to work. You need income coming in and you sometimes take a project you just need. Your creative integrity is based on financial integrity. How long can you hold out for another project? Invariably with me I sometimes have to do things that if I had my drothers I wouldn’t.

Big Mac Blog: What would you tell a Bowling Green State student who is considering dropping out that he wants to make it in Hollwyood?
Robert Patrick:
Don’t do it. If you are going to ask someone how, or should I, you are not there. You have to walk in saying, ‘I’m going to do this - this is the project for my life, and it doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks.’ The guys who make it to the major leagues are not there because they are lucky. They are there because they are talented they believe in themselves because they do it. 
As the years went by and you start to see the work starts to accumulate. You are auditioning and you get those roles you are fighting for. You realize it’s going to work out.

Terminator2still1Big Mac Blog: I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you about Terminator 2 – when did it hit you that you had landed your “It” role?
Robert Patrick:
I knew it was going to be huge. I was living in a one bedroom apartment with my girlfriend who became my wife. I was so broke. I had no idea what I was doing. I would quit a job if I got comfortable. I never wanted to get comfortable. If you bartend for 6 months you are going to be here for 6 years, so I'd always quit.
"When they offered me the role they were looking for an intense presence. I created the whole demeanor and the physiciality I had was right. I did a whole improv ad lib with the casting director. They would say you are sense aware and movements. I created the whole performance at this initial meeting. That night I got a call in that little apartment saying you blew Jim Cameron away. He was so excited can you come in tomorrow.
"I knew I was on to something. I read the script in about five hours and then all of the pressure hit. Then I realized this was the ticket and this was the brass ring. I'm standing at the plate with the bases loaded I have to not choke. I walked into Cameron’s office and I slammed the script down on his desk and I said, 'I can do this!' He said, 'I know that is why you are here.' 

The Big Mac Blog: Have to ask you a sports question - who is going to win the Super Bowl?
Robert Patrick: Wow, in Week 2? I'm going to out on a limb and say Peyton Manning is going to do something for the Broncos.

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Comments

Paradise

Great interview. You get some pretty heady interviewees. You do a nice job working some interesing material out of the people you talk with. Good article.

Mary Jackson

Awesome interview!!!

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