Patricia Arquette Finally, Finally Explains ‘Lost Highway’: ‘In This Man’s Mind, a Woman Is Always the Monster’

The long wait is over: Patricia Arquette finally explained David Lynch’s “Lost Highway.” Kind of.

“I would ask David: ‘Am I playing two characters, am I playing a ghost?’ He would say: ‘What do you think, Patrish?’ It’s a woman looked at through the distorted view of a psychotic misogynist,” she said at Series Mania.

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“He hates women, he doesn’t quite trust her, even though she is his wife. He kills her but can’t remember it, then he recreates himself as this virile young man and meets her again. And now, she actually wants to fuck him and she is in love with him. But even in this version, she is a dirty whore.”

“In this man’s mind, a woman is always the monster. No matter what. I thought about Jezebel and Salomé for this part, all these bad girls of the Bible.”

More explicit scenes in the cult classic, or the ones featuring nudity, proved to be quite a struggle.

“I was so extremely modest: I would take a bath in the dark. The scene when my character had to strip was terrifying to me. Some of the guys were saying crude things and I told David: ‘I am not comfortable – they are saying gross things.’ He said: ‘You read the script. Wait, who said what?’ When I came back, all these men were looking at their feet, all apologetic.”

She stood up for herself also later, when filming a sex scene.

“I do have a tough side, I’ll tell ya. It was supposed to be a closed set. I said: ‘If I take this robe off and I look at you, and I know you don’t have to be there, I am going to punch you in the face. Later, I told Balthazar [Getty, playing her love]: ‘Just keep your hands on my tits. I would rather you hold them than the whole world saw them’.”

She decided not to work out for the role.

“I did that for ‘True Romance’ and even then, my body type was not ‘the body type’ of that time. It was curvy and athletic, and strong, and I got criticism for that. ‘Your teeth aren’t straight’ and all this bullshit. Now, I look at ‘Lost Highway’ and think: ‘It wasn’t such a big risk. You look alright, kid’.”

Arquette recently directed “Gonzo Girl” with Willem Dafoe, still deciding to put acting first.

“In every take. I don’t care! I don’t feel like it has always happened to me, so I wanted to give it to them,” she said, recalling her “gruelling” beginnings in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.”

“There was a lot of screaming involved. I guess the director was really nervous and he would come down on me for the choices I made and things I would try. Later, he said: ‘I am sorry, I hear myself yelling at you, and then I end up using that take.’”

“True Romance” helmer Tony Scott couldn’t be more different.

“Every single idea I had, Tony would go: ‘Brilliant! I love it!’ When Christian had one, he would go: ‘No, that’s terrible.’ He was like that idealistic girl dad. It changed my whole life. I started to trust myself.”

Arquette got emotional when discussing the 1993 film, written by Tarantino – “It’s a celebration of love and the ignorance of love” – and her turn as Alabama Whitman, a breakout role she didn’t expect to get.

“Before this, I had another ‘star-making’ opportunity. I was cast in ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’ and I just found out I was pregnant. I have never been in a movie like that: a movie that makes you a star. I have also never been pregnant,” she said.

“I walked around the block, thinking whether I could accept it, and this woman was pushing a stroller and struggling with her baby. It didn’t look terribly fun. I felt like I would probably never get this chance again, but I just couldn’t do it.”

The role went to Jennifer Jason Leigh.

“In life, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions not knowing what the outcome will be. When I got ‘True Romance,’ it felt like the opportunity knocked twice. I have been lucky it continued to knock despite all the forks on the road.”

Although her “punk rock obstinance” didn’t help during failed auditions, it led to her celebrated – and Emmy winning – TV role in “Medium.” Later, she also acted in “Boardwalk Empire” and Apple TV Plus’ “Severance.”

“How do you entertain people in old folks’ homes or in a trailer park? You do network TV. It was that anti-establishment part of me, wondering what would happen if I went there from these super art movies. One of the producers said I had to lose weight. I said: ‘Why?!’ She is a mother of three, married to someone who loves her. I could have that fight because I had a certain amount of power at that time.”

She continued to speak out also when accepting an Oscar for “Boyhood,” famously announcing: “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

“When my mom found out she had breast cancer, she and my dad were going to break up. But they couldn’t divorce, because even though she gave her life to raising kids and supporting this man, she would lose her insurance.”

“I was thinking about her and about my character in the film. How would her life be different if she would earn a full dollar? After the ceremony, I went back to work and this woman ran to me, saying: ‘They brought me in today, looked at my salary and admitted: ‘We haven’t been paying you equally’.”

Just like Olivia in “Boyhood,” a victim of domestic abuse, Arquette was no stranger to violence.

“I grew up with a lot of it. I remember my dad throwing these giant tantrums, I remember what it was like, for a child, to observe this kind of dynamic. In [Sean Penn’s] ‘The Indian Runner,’ I asked Viggo Mortensen to say certain things off camera: Things my dad would say. Sometimes, acting gives you a place to process things.”

She remains “optimistic,” however, also mentioning her sister Rosanna who opened up about Weinstein’s abuse.

“My sister was very brave, all these women were, but sexual violence and abuse is not exclusive to Hollywood. It’s really something we have to talk about. We have to look at all the damage we have caused each other.”

“It’s heavy, to hold people’s pain like that. And yet I am hopeful there is a shift happening.”

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