‘It’s terrifying ’
CSI: Cyber opened Patricia Arquette’s eyes to the perils of modern technology
Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette says that taking the lead role in CSI: Cyber, which details just how easily the average person can fall victim to cybercrimes, has been an eye-opener.
“I knew a little bit about hacking, a tiny bit,” she says. “But I had no idea (of the scope of cybercrime) and I don’t think most people know. We’ve brought these devices into our homes. We’ve incorporated them with their conveniences into every aspect of our lives, but the things they’re capable of are also really terrifying.
“After working on this show I just want my kids to throw everything away, get a pencil and paper. I’m going to get a pager!”
With the 15-year old CSI reportedly heading into its final season next year after more than 300 episodes, the time seems right for a new spin-off. The parent show has already outlasted CSI: Miami with David Caruso and CSI: New York with Gary Sinise. Now it’s Arquette’s turn to head up a Crime Scene Investigation team and with CSI: Cyber renewed last month for season two, signs point to the brand being around for some time to come.
Arquette plays Avery Ryan, a cyberpsychologist who specialises in analysing and predicting the behaviour of online baddies, was introduced in a backdoor pilot in season 14 of CSI. The inspiration for the character came from Mary Aiken, the real life director of the Cyber Psychology Research Centre in Dublin, who is a consultant and producer on the show.
Ryan leads the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division of agents and geeks including James Van Der Beek ( Dawson’s Creek) and rapper Bow Wow.
Given that nerds tapping on keyboards to catch other geeks in cyberspace is inherently dull visually, the makers have outdone themselves coming up with novel ways to illustrate cyberchases using loads of flashy computer graphics.
Arquette, 47, played the title role in supernatural drama
series Medium 2005 and 2011. But she seems more than a little surprised about her late career resurgence thanks to Boyhood, the project she filmed over 12 years and which won her an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a swag of other awards. She compares it to other great films she appeared in like “box office bomb”
True Romance or David Lynch’s Lost Highway which polarised critics. “Other movies that were interesting nobody cared about so I really didn’t think anything was going to happen at this moment in my life,” she says. “(But) It’s lovely to have so much attention to a project that you’re part of.”
Arquette took the CSI:
Cyber role before her Oscar win meant she could write her own ticket, but says she wouldn’t let elitism over project choice influence her career.
“I’ve seen a lot of people not work because of their ego about how good the material should be (and) what material’s worthy of them; after a while no one hires them,” she says. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and I like the idea of reaching worldwide audiences.”
Arquette stays grounded thanks to her background. Growing up poor on a hippie commune in Virginia and a single mum at the age of 20, she knows what it’s like to be worried about not being able to afford food or pay bills.
But preparing for her Oscar winning role was a breeze compared to the challenge of delivering technobabble convincingly.
“It’s really a challenge,” she says. “Technical jargon is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Arquette’s character is a pretty straight arrow, but she personally has more sympathy towards cyber activists of the type of WikiLeaks or Edward Snowden who attempt to expose corruption or unveil government secrets.
“My character, I think, would really have a clear line about: her job is to follow the line of the law and the establishment,” she says.
“That’s when it gets very interesting acting wise because you have to act that part even if you don’t agree to that part. I do feel like if your own nation breaks their laws … and the constitution … that’s dangerous and should be known.” CSI: CYBER, CHANNEL 10, SUNDAY, 9PM
“I just want my kids to throw everything away, get a pencil
and paper” PATRICIA ARQUETTE’S FEAR OF CYBERCRIME
Patricia Arquette is grateful for getting the lead role in CSI: Cyber; (above right) in a scene with rapper Bow