Patricia Arquette Interview: ‘CSI: Cyber,’ ‘Boyhood,’ and the Golden Globes

Patricia Arquette Interview on CSI: Cyber and Boyhood
Patrica Arquette stars in ‘CSI: Cyber’ (Photo by Randee St. Nicholas © 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Patricia Arquette was still riding a Golden Globes high when she took part in the TCA winter press event for the CBS series CSI: Cyber. Arquette spent a dozen years working on the independent coming-of-age dramatic movie Boyhood and that hard work and commitment paid off with a win for Best Supporting Actress at the 2015 Golden Globes. Sitting down to chat with a small group of journalists at the TCAs, Arquette explained why she’s comfortable going back and forth between films and television and why she’ll continue to do so in the coming years. Arquette confessed that she paid her babysitter and her dog walker more than she actually earned from working on Boyhood, and that she was able to so because of her television projects. “Television allows you to actually make a living, feeds your children, send them to college, and important, significant things. And to have the ability, the luxury to make the choices of doing little movies where people can’t pay,” said Arquette.

Discussing the upcoming series, Arquette said CSI: Cyber appealed to her because it challenged her to stretch as an actress and presented the opportunity to explore a topic she found both fascinating and scary.

The Plot: CSI: Cyber stars Arquette “in a drama inspired by the advanced technological work of real-life Cyber Psychologist Mary Aiken. Special Agent Avery Ryan heads the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI, a unit at the forefront of solving illegal activities that start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world. She also knows firsthand how today’s technology allows people to hide in the shadows of the Internet and commit serious crimes of global proportion. Ryan’s supervisor, Assistant Director Simon Sifter, is a shrewd FBI career insider and the clearing house between FBI Cyber and all other branches of government. Also on the team are FBI Agent Elijah Mundo, a self-proclaimed action junkie who is an expert in battlefield forensics; Daniel Krumitz, an introverted tech genius with a quick wit; Brody Nelson, an expat hacker who chose to work for the FBI over a life of cyber-crime; and Raven Ramirez, a rookie tech who is an expert in social media, cyber trends and international relations. While other agents search for criminals in dark homes and alleys, Ryan and her team search the ‘dark net,’ a place deep in the bowels of the Web where criminals are anonymous, money is untraceable and where everything is for sale with just a keystroke.”

CSI: Cyber will premiere on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Patricia Arquette Interview:

How do you know when to become attached to a project and is it a leap of faith?

Patricia Arquette: “It’s about discovery and learning, and hopefully learning as you go and sometimes choosing things that aren’t your go-to strength, that are difficult, that will help you grow as an artist, help you grow as a person. And just interesting material, interesting concepts. To me, this is interesting. To me, we have landed on a new planet. This kind of crime is fascinating to me, and terrifying to me. And so I’m interested in that. Also, to play a member of law enforcement when we’ve had that so long [where] it’s a male-dominated field. All of those things.

And Boyhood was just a no-brainer. I wanted to work with both of those guys and the concept was so beautiful. The way [Richard Linklater] talked about making the movie, stripping away all the conventional ways of storytelling…it’s funny because this show’s the opposite. It’s like they’re so good at this way of telling stories. Rick was talking about breaking all the rules of movies and stripping all the ways that you usually tell stories and let love and life and flaws and mistakes and time and all these things take the lead.”

How many seasons of CSI: Cyber are you contracted for?

Patricia Arquette: “Well, you always have to sign contracts for several years, if they want to pick you up. It’s kind of a strange scenario. They have the option or not.”

So you’re in this for the long-haul, even if the Oscar happens?

Patricia Arquette: “I’m kind of the long-hauler type of person. I also have a strong work ethic and gratitude for people that I work with. It’s easy for people to come in when they think you’re in a hot moment of your life, but it’s really nice also for people who believe in your work for the long term and are there not when something hip’s happening at that moment.”

TV has shifted and there are more women starring in projects. Do you see that?

“We are pushing through. We are coming on through. We’re going to change things.”

Are you a high-tech type person?

Patricia Arquette: “That’s probably what’s to me fascinating about this part is it’s totally the opposite of me. I’m not a technical person. It’s not something I personally do love. I’m actually terrified of it, and that is what’s interesting to me about it. And to play someone who is proficient in it, I need help as much as possible and the writers help. But I think there are a lot of people my age who are like me.”

Are you on the computer much?

Patricia Arquette: “Not really, no.”

What’s the scariest thing you’ve learned about technology for the show?

Patricia Arquette: “How little we know about it, but it’s in our lives. It’s really strange what we have in our lives. You know, Stephen Hawking said artificial intelligence could be the end of mankind. I mean, that’s scary. That’s crazy. I’m excited to be alive in this insane time, but also I’m terrified at what’s happening in this insane time. To deal with a television show that’s really well told as far as entertainment goes in this world of this subject matter, that’s so far away from where I am – that’s interesting.”

There’s an emphasis on the young people that are a part of this show. What do you think you’re learning from them?

Patricia Arquette: “Here’s the thing: they really are geniuses. They really do know how to write code, not all of them but a lot of them. A six year old can probably do more on their iPad than you can do and access more. My daughter’s swiping away windows and doing all these things that I don’t know how to do. She’s 11 now. So young people…there’s been very little places in positions of authority in law enforcement for young people’s skill sets, but the truth is we need them. As a teenager, you have so much energy and hormones and you feel powerless in your life, and you can get power on life if it can be channeled in the right way.”

How did it feel to win the Golden Globe for Boyhood?

Patricia Arquette: “I felt like somebody injected adrenaline directly into my vein! I mean it was like, ‘I think he said it. He did say it. He said it, didn’t he?’ And this immediate shaking through my whole body.”

Is there a sequel?

Patricia Arquette: “We keep trying to pressure Rick. I mean I was really lobbying the last year. Like, ‘This is not a 12 year movie, this is a 20 year movie. This is the movie that ends when mom’s 80 or 90 and dies. I think that’s when the movie ends. You can make an 80 year-long movie.’ Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

– By Fred Topel

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