Who doesn’t love shows full of ghosties, ghoulies and talking corpses? Medium is a suspense-filled spook-fest highlighted by the wonderful and intense performance of Patricia Arquette. Fancast got a chance to catch up with this ethereal actress, along with her sister, Rosanna, who will be guest starring on Monday’s episode of Medium, Lady Killer. They talked about what it was like to grow up on a commune, mouse burgers, and getting rid of dark vibes on the set.
What was growing up like?
Rosanna Arquette: Well, yeah, I kind of babysat a lot and, you know, I left kind of, I left home early so I missed a lot of some of their years and would come back on holidays and stuff. But it seems like as we got older we became closer than when we were younger, you know. I mean, they were my babies, you know, they were little kids and later, you know, they grew up to be fine, talented adults.
Patricia Arquette: Well I think Rosanna did fall into that sort of trap of having to help with so many siblings because there was four of us. And so she definitely had to help my mom out; my dad was on the road when were little a lot and trying to make a living; he was in a band at the time. And I do remember Rosanna cleaning my ears and saying…
Rosanna Arquette: Talking about the cleaning your ear thing.
Patricia Arquette:…oh there’s some sweet potatoes in there. And I remember her teaching me dances; really cute little dances to Mr. Big Stuff and…
Rosanna Arquette: Bumping – The Bump. Did I teach you The Bump?
Patricia Arquette: Uh huh, The Bump and we would listen to her records, like, Jackson Five. And she, you know, she was my big sister; she’s always been my big sister and taught me a lot of stuff about the world.
Rosanna Arquette: Oh, I remember Patricia came to the set of, was it – when did you come and you stayed with me in New York? I guess I was doing…
Patricia Arquette: You were – Desperately Seeking Susan.
Rosanna Arquette: I was doing Desperately Seeking Susan and you had a punk haircut like shaved head on one side and black…Patricia said she wanted to be an actress and I thought that was so exciting, she was going to be an actress.
How did your collaboration come about?
Rosanna Arquette: Her – Glenn, the creator, said he was just waiting for the right one – the right show; there was just never one that he thought was the right one. And then this one was written for a man and they decided to turn it into a woman. And so here it happened. But, I have to say Patricia’s the hardest working girl in show business. No one knows how hard that show really is because they don’t have a full on script every day so it’s pages and pages of dialogue that the actors have to memorize…
Patricia Arquette: It was hard for me in that I was smiling so much at what Rosanna was doing and she’s cracking me up. So it was really enjoyable. It was really…
Rosanna Arquette: I don’t know if it was supposed to be comedic but…
Patricia Arquette: It was. It was really good.
Rosanna Arquette: I kept finding all this stuff and it made laugh – but, maybe. He has a sense of humor, Glenn…
Any possibility of David [Arquette] being involved on the show?
Patricia Arquette: I don’t know; I would love that. David’s directed two episodes. Rich – our brother Rich has been on – I’m not sure if it was the second year, I think it was the second year. He played one of our killers. And I would love Alexis to come on and David to come on. But, you know, David has directed two of them and I don’t know how many favors he owes me at this point.
What was it like working together?
Rosanna Arquette: I was discovering the character as I went along because I just knew that I was given these pages because they worked that – the way that Glenn works he kind of has a script, you have an idea and then new pages come. And so I was figuring her out as we were going. But she, you know, started off as this woman who was a – who’s the cougar women who lures young men in and kills them, which was kind of interesting to do; I’d never played anybody like that so that was fun. And I was impressed with how they work and how Patricia’s, you know, her crew loves her so much and it’s a really challenging hard work because she has so much dialogue and…
Patricia Arquette: Poor Rosanna, her first day on the job it was like a love scene.
Rosanna Arquette: Two days in a row of love scenes.
Patricia Arquette: I kept saying, “Am I going to work with my sister?”
Rosanna Arquette: I thought she was playing a joke on me.
Patricia Arquette: Because there – because we kept saying, “What’s the ending?” And he kept saying, “I don’t know yet. I’m not sure yet.”
Rosanna Arquette: Oh, that was funny.
On sibling, Alexis Arquette:
Rosanna Arquette: All of our girls love Alexis. All the girls want to be like Aunt Alexis.
Patricia Arquette: They do, they ask fashion advice.
On having their kids on the set:
Patricia Arquette: You know, it’s kind of neat, when we have our kids on the set, you know, Bridgette, Maria Lark, all the girls that are on the show, she came in and she’s got four teeth that she’s wiggling and wiggling them. So I ran upstairs to Glen and I said, “You know, she’s got loose teeth. You’ve got to write it in.”
What was it like for Rosanna to play the bad guy?
You know, it was challenging. There was this one moment where I had to strangle this man. And I found myself getting really nauseous, like, every time I would do I kind of felt sick to my stomach. And I said, this is, this feeling – because – that comes – it’s because that is wrong, you know. I mean, it’s amazing the people who actually really do these things, how they can get to that place. But it was hard. It was – I don’t know if I would want to do it a lot. It was interesting to be in somebody’s skin that could do that. But it was, yeah. I don’t know. It was interesting to play, for me, something that I’ve never done before because I haven’t ever done that, so.
Patricia Arquette: Yeah, I would find myself smiling really big. And then I’d have, oh, no, it’s not supposed to be funny. Oh, stop, what are you doing? No, you’re supposed to be looking at her surly. Hmmm, you’re not sure if she’s telling the truth, you know. I was having this inner war with myself because – and then she had this one line, which was just – every time she would say it…
Rosanna Arquette: Oh my god.
Patricia Arquette: …she’d say, “A middle aged mouse burger.”
Rosanna Arquette: We were going, “Middle aged mouse burger.” And I – we’d go, “Excuse me, what’s a mouse burger?”
Patricia Arquette: Every time she’d say “Mouse burger,” I would crack up.
Rosanna Arquette: We ended up having to cut it, right?
Patricia Arquette: Yeah, we ended up cutting it because…
Rosanna Arquette: No one knew what – do you know what a mouse burger is?
What was it like for Rosanna to play a cougar?
Yeah, it was, I mean, it was fun. I was discovering the character as I went along. And so – and, which was kind of a really interesting way to working and they do that a lot on that show. So, you know, I’ve never been one to, you know, go out really with younger men but, you know, it did spark and idea in me. Like, wow, this is not so bad.
What about the possibility of doing an all-Arquette show?
Rosanna Arquette: I would love us to do like a carnie thing, you know, a traveling carnival, you know, and if we were all in like a carnie situation, that could be pretty interesting.
What was it like for Patricia to come back on set after the strike?
It was great. It was so good to see our crew and see everyone that was back. I mean, I was a little concerned because a bunch of our drivers weren’t back at first because there’s different rankings of drivers; there’s like the Number 1 group, 2 and 3 and – in their union. And so the Number 1s all have to be working first. So at first I didn’t see some our drivers, I was really worried about that. But then everyone else got work so they got put back on our show. It was great to see everybody. Everybody looked 20 years younger and tanner. I just hung out with my children the whole time and just cleaned my house and I got a lot of rest and…
On the dark nature of the show:
Patricia Arquette: I think so. Oddly enough I kind of had to make – I made a lot of prayers very early on to kind of push away the dark that our show deals with, to be protected from that. Because – and even though I kind of made that intention, I found after the first year and year and a half on our hiatus, I found myself more and more paranoid about the world, like, did you lock the windows? Did you lock the doors? You know. You know, and finally I realized, like, between the show and ruminating on someone killing people and then turning on the news and seeing some mother drown all her children and – I was getting so freaked out.
How did your unique upbringing influence who you currently are?
Rosanna Arquette: We all became narcissistic movie stars (laughing) I think – it wasn’t your stereotypical commune, to begin with; it was all these people that came together that were sort of seeking a different experience about their spirituality and a place where they could talk about spirituality and a place where they could think about their spirituality. And a lot of them were artists. So it wasn’t the kind of free drugs, free sex commune that people often think of. It wasn’t just about freedom, for them it was more about different ways of thinking about politics and religions and, so. I think, you know, doing without