Some actors are defined by a single role. That is certainly the case with Robert Patrick who will forever be known as the T-1000 in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Patrick has racked up a string of credits including TV’s The X-Files and The Unit as well as the movies Flags of Our Fathers and Gangster Squad in the years since.
But the 57-year-old has never entirely broken free of the stereotypical heavy until he signed on as federal agent Cabe Gallo in Scorpion.
Patrick is enjoying being a father figure to the young cast. He is also relishing the series’ gentle humour, which shows a different side to his acting chops.
Scorpion is a different show for you. What is its appeal? When I looked at the script I thought the concept was unique. I’d never seen anything quite like it. It had a great pedigree. The people behind it creatively include Nick Santora ( The Sopranos, Law & Order, Prison Break) and Nick Wootton ( Chuck, NYPD Blue). The added bonus was Justin Lin ( Fast and Furious franchise) directing the pilot.
What do you make of Cabe Gallo? I think Cabe is a really good guy. He believes in standing up for what’s right. He’s got a good moral compass. For me to be the guy that is leading these genii in the right direction and protecting them seemed, to me, to be very paternal. I felt like a father to these guys.
I assume you’ve been a sort of real life father figure for the young actors on the show. They have a lot of respect for the years I’ve been putting in the business. They’ll come to me with some questions. It sort of parallels the character I play on the show. These actors are going through a lot of new experiences. Making a onehour drama with all the action elements … there is a certain amount of stress that comes with that. We work hard.
What has been the biggest surprise about the show for you? I can’t say that I expected it to be as funny as it is. That has been a surprise. The comedy part comes in because you’ve got Cabe dealing with these unique personalities. It has been a lot of fun for me. It is the thing I look forward to with each new script. It has been a great challenge for me in a really positive way.
What are your thoughts about playing the T-1000 in Terminator 2? I loved being the T-1000. It is something I’m incredibly proud of. When you go back and look at that movie — I was a complete unknown when I got that role. The character benefited from the fact that no one knew who I was so the audience was willing to believe that I was the T-1000. It cast an indelible impression.
Terminator 2 was 25 years ago. I imagine you have gained a new batch of younger fans from Scorpion. I agree with you. I do feel like I’m being introduced to a whole new audience. I’m picking up a lot of new fans that are seeing me for the first time.
SCORPION, CHANNEL 10, SUNDAY, 6.30PM