Boyhood costars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette were honored the night before last (i.e., Thursday) by the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival. An elegant interview was conducted by festival director Roger Durling, running only about 100 minutes or so. Sophisticated patter start to finish, but we tend to pay the closest attention to the stand-out, tabloidy moments in these interviews, and Durling uncorked one when he alluded to an issue about Arquette’s weight gain over the last few years. It seems that some years ago one of the producers of Arquette’s hit series Medium had asked her to drop a few pounds, and she not only refused but got militant about it. She explained to Durling that a request of that sort was completely inappropriate. In other words, she had decided to abandon that super-hottie thing she had going in the ’90s.
Patricia Arquette and her towering boyfriend, painter Eric White, prior to Thursday night’s Santa Barbara Film Festival tribute.
Arquette explained to a Telegraph interviewer a year ago that “you don’t have to buy your mate’s fidelity by looking a certain way…if you’re really in it for the long haul, ten pounds isn’t going to make — shouldn’t make — a world of difference.” I don’t know how to put this gently but nobody in the world welcomes a mate putting on weight…no one. Plus the 46 year-old Arquette has gained a bit more than ten pounds since her performances in Flirting With Disaster and Lost Highway. I’m sure I’ll be derided for saying this, but she’s become, no offense, a woman of somewhat ample proportions. It happens to short women in their 40s unless they become workout Nazis, and Arquette, it seems, doesn’t care to go there.
And that’s fine. To each his own, all shapes and sizes. But she’s dreaming if she thinks extra weight won’t influence the kind of roles she’ll be offered. Post-Boyhood she’s basically the middle-aged gunboat mama who’s a bit angry and wounded and won’t take any shit. On the other hand she can’t play roles that require a look of upscale urbanity or ultra-discipline or Type-A attitudes. (An executive in dark suits who runs an advertising firm, for instance — she looks too rural and workout-averse for that.) Arquette now has the look of a woman who lives and works in Terre Haute or Bakersfield or some other Bumblefuck town. She could be more than that. She’s far from over the hill. She could be Jane Fonda of the ’80s if she wanted to….but she doesn’t want to. And there’s no law that says she needs to. I’m just saying.