The Robert Patrick panel at the 2022 Montreal Comiccon was probably one of the biggest discussions scheduled, at least for us sci-fi action junkies. Although never a leading actor in films and TV, his face is well-known to all since the early 1990s for one specific reason: he was the terrifying T-1000 Terminator who was sent back through time to kill John Connor in one of the best sequels of all-time: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1990).
Having Patrick on stage for 45 minutes was a real blast for us! He was funny, charming and quite passionate about his work, finding all questions from the audience quite fun. Although his characters are rough and mostly evil in his filmography, Robert Patrick is a true gentleman and we salute him. In his honour, local artists actually showcased busts of his head in a ‘liquid metal’ state from T2 on stage, which he felt bad signing, too scared to ruin them considering their almost $700 USD price tag.
From the very start of the discussion, Patrick automatically acknowledges that he owes his whole career to Terminator 2 and James Cameron. Most definitely his biggest and most important role to this day, he knows most movie fans know him as an android antagonist made of liquid metal, and he loves it! At the time, he didn’t know that he would make film history as the first-ever motion-capture character in a big Hollywood production. Although they had many different castings of his head at the time, he had no clue of what the end result would be. Hell…they didn’t even know how to call motion capture technology at the time. The process of getting into character to play the T-1000 was quite interesting, as he shared with us that Cameron asked him to study nature in order to replicate the fluid and rapid reactions of wild predators. He shared with us that the bald eagle, the one that sits on top of the American flag, was his anchor for inspiration, as he imitated the eagle’s aggressive look perfectly. He also worked hard with a personal trainer to reach the perfect walk, run and body posture for his version of the Terminator, which proved useful as he ran faster than the camera & stunt crew on a motorbike (imagine that). That’s when he knew: “Oh my god…I’m the new f**ing Terminator! Holy shit!”.
To answer our colleague Sean’s question about his experience with 1990 CGI technology, he happily answered that working on T2 with Cameron and Schwarzenegger was like “winning the Stanley Cup every day”. Remembering his most challenging time on the set, Patrick made a reference to the scene where his character stepped out of the fire after the truck chase. To make the scene work, he had to walk so close to the fire in order to replicate the motion-capture CGI, making him a little frustrated for his health and safety. James Cameron walked to him before the take to comfort him, saying that it was worth the shot as they were making film history (and he was right). Also, a cute little kid asked him right before if he enjoyed kicking Arnold’s ass in the movie. His answer was an obvious: HELL YEAH!
T2 made Patrick an ideal choice to play antagonists in the decades to come, so much so that he is still cast to play frightening characters to this day. It didn’t seem to worry him so much, as he finds villains to be “interesting”. He is grateful for all his roles on the big and small screen, and it shows! Before he appeared in shows like The Sopranos and The X-Files, he had no idea what good writing was, as the late 80s and early 90s roles were not loaded with good scripts for him. Things changed rapidly, as he continued to be incredibly active since then (he has 167 acting credits today).
A more recent role known to today’s audiences is his white supremacist role of White Dragon in Peacemaker as the father of Peacemaker himself (John Cena), one of the members of The Suicide Squad. A truly despicable character, Patrick wanted to make it clear that he was nothing like him, even though it was quite enjoyable to play in a DC superhero franchise like this one. Considering his previous work with John Cena on the set of 2006’s The Marine, Patrick confirmed great chemistry with his fellow actor, opening the door wide open for him to star in the show.
Our last question to him, from yours truly, was about his latest appearance in the movie The Protégé (2021) directed by Martin Campbell, where he played a retired Vietnam War veteran who was a father figure to the lead assassin played by Maggie Q. A known Harley Davidson fan and hard biker (he even owns his own Harley dealership in California), this role looked like it was perfectly tailored for Patrick, maybe too good to be true. He laughed saying that his mother and friends mocked him after watching the film, confirming that he looked like he played himself, so not doing anything.
As the sweet gent that he is, he took his mother to see The Protégé while on a bike trip with war veterans…let’s say the stars were aligned.
All in all, listening to Robert Patrick’s stories was a surprisingly fun experience! He recalls his work with fond memories and he seems extremely grateful for the run he had and is still having today. No doubt that he still is an important figure in action movies and one of the best antagonist actors we have in the industry.
There was another question that we wanted to ask, but never could. Maybe you can answer it…
Would Patrick accept to reprise his role as the T-1000 in a future installment of the Terminator franchise? We know Arnold is still doing it at his age, chances are Robert Patrick could very well come back to kick Arnie’s butt again (we wish!).