T2’s AI scans his career…
Robert Patrick, the man behind T2’s T-1000.
After a small role in Die Hard 2, Robert Patrick raced into movies and popular culture as the fleet-footed, shapeshifting T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. His career since has yo-yoed, but he matched De Niro, Stallone and Keitel in Cop Land, played Ray Cash in Walk The Line and reconfigured his career by starring in such first-rate TV as The Sopranos, The X-Files and Sons Of Anarchy.
You once said that out of all of the movies you’ve made, you only rate five. Which five?
You have to consider where I was in my career at the time. I don’t regret saying it, because I meant it, but I was doing a bunch of shit movies that I shouldn’t have been doing. I’m an actor and I gotta make a living, feed my family. As an actor, you’re only offered the material you’re offered. I have to sift through what’s left over. I don’t want to describe myself as a bottom feeder because I’m not, but I’m not top rung.
So what are the five you’re proud of?
I think The Faculty was a good movie. But the best movies I’ve ever been in
and the ones I did my best work in are both by James Mangold – Cop Land and Walk The Line. James is an incredible filmmaker and has a real knack for getting a good performance from me.
You have a knack for choosing iconic TV shows…
The Sopranos worked for me – it opened up a lot of doors in Hollywood. The only way you can get access to better roles is to get access to better roles. That’s the age-old problem. Many actors you look at and go, “God, what an amazing career.” But if you break it down, you go, “God, what a fortunate guy to have access to…” It’s true. Anyone could look good in these roles because they’re such great scripts. I don’t want to sound like I’m bitching. I’m being pragmatic.
So how did The Sopranos come about?
I realised I was doing a bunch of exploitative, straight-to-DVD films that were bullshit. But they were paying me a lot of money. When I was offered The Sopranos, I was also offered a large sum of money to do a movie that I shouldn’t have done, but the enticement of the payday was such that I almost took it. But I did The Sopranos for scale. You can’t make a living working for scale, but it was the best thing I’d ever done. After doing it, I was like, “What the fuck? Why aren’t I doing TV? There’s great writing.” And as soon as I said that, I was offered The X-Files.
Your Special Agent John Doggett replaced David Duchovny’s Mulder…
I had two wonderful years and I wanted it to go on and I was told it was going to go on as long as the ratings were good. But they quit on me; I didn’t quit on the show. I find it ironic that they’ve now gone back to Season 10 and Season 11.
Did they not ask you to return?
They did check my availability and
I was not available. But if they check my availability [again] and there’s any way I can do it, I’d welcome the possibility to revisit that role. And I would also welcome the possibility to revisit the role of the T-1000 now that James Cameron’s involved [Cameron is godfathering a reboot trilogy].
You must have revisited T2 to see the 3D conversion. How was it for you?
I saw it in Jim Cameron’s screening rooms at Manhattan Beach Studios, where he’s filming Avatar. When it started, I saw how young and beautiful we all were. [laughs] To me, it was like visiting an old friend – it’s the movie that had the biggest impact on my life. Technically, it’s such a beautiful film. And such a beautiful story. I pinch myself to realise I’m actually a part of it. JG
ETA | 29 AugusT / TERMINATOR 2: JuDgMENT DAY 3D Is IN CINEMAs THIs MONTH.
‘anyone could look good in these roles because they’re such great scripts’
PEAK PATRICK (top to bottom) as the t-1000 in 1991’s T2: Judgment Day; as the corrupt Jack rucker in 1997’s Cop Land; and racking up debts in The Sopranos in 2000.
larger than life see robert patrick step out of the screen in the T2 3d conversion.