Patricia Arquette’s trophy shelf is getting crowded. The actress already has an Oscar (for “Boyhood”) and an Emmy (“Medium”), and now she’s up for two more Emmys — for outstanding actress (for her transformative take on a duped prison guard in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora”) and best supporting actress (for her turn as an abusive mother in Hulu’s “The Act”).
This month she co-stars with Angela Bassett and Felicity Huffman in “Otherhood,” a comedy about three suburban moms who surprise their grown sons, showing up at their New York apartments unannounced when the gents each forget Mother’s Day. The film, opening in select theaters and on Netflix Aug. 2, was originally slated to debut last spring but was postponed after the college admissions scandal broke. That massive bribery and text-fixing scheme ensnared Huffman, who awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to paying $15,000 to fix her daughter’s SAT score. (Hauppauge native Lori Loughlin, charged with her husband for paying $500,000 in bribes, plus conspiracy and money laundering, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.)
Arquette, 51, who has a grown son and a 16-year-old daughter, has not spoken to Huffman but has conveyed her sympathies, telling "Entertainment Tonight," “I feel . . . she’s sincerely, truly sorry.” Arquette recently spoke by phone with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio.
You play a meddling mom here. How much of a meddler are you for real?
I am a bit of a meddler. I am. I have to fight against it. Luckily, I have people . . . that tell me, “Welllllll, he’s a grown-up. You can’t tell him what to do at this stage.” And my children remind me. I think we all raise each other — you raise your kids and they raise you.
Nice way to look at it.
I go into my daughter’s room or my son’s place, and the first thing I do is start cleaning. Now mind you — I’m the biggest mess-maker in my family. But in their space, I start cleaning. They’re like, “Mom! Stop cleaning my room.” (She chuckles.)
Cindy Chupack directed this film. A female director — still so rare in Hollywood.
Yeah. She’d worked a lot on “Sex and the City.” There were a lot of women on board.
What was it like on set?
I’ve worked with a lot of male co-stars in my career, so the chance to work with female leads, like Angela Bassett, and Felicity (Huffman) was really exciting. We all have our processes. So . . . the makeup room was really quiet in the morning. We’d have our coffee, get up to speed. Then joking with each other between scenes, or giving parental advice. It was incredible to shoot in New York. It was kind of dreamy. (But) I never could figure out how to live in New York. I lived like maybe three blocks from a grocery store. Sometimes I’d be carrying like five bags home. I’d go 10 feet, take a break — 10 feet, take a break. My last few days there, the lady at the store was like, “Y’know, we can deliver these for you." I’m like . . . (She starts to laugh so hard she can barely breathe.)
I mean, I was living some Pony Express existence. I’ve never figured out how to live there. I always do it wrong.
I hear you’re writing a memoir. How goes it?
It’s hard work. I’ve written a lot. I’m on the last few chapters. I really want to talk about my sister passing away. (Alexis Arquette, a transgender, HIV-positive actress, died in 2016 of cardiac arrest. She was 47.) I’m actually just having a very intense emotional block on . . . (she hesitates) . . . it.
It still seems so painful. But I do want to talk about that. It’s just, I kind of . . . break down whenever I start doing that. Some people told me . . . (She gets quiet.) “You’re going to write it when you’re ready.”
Oh, I’m sorry. I find in situations like this, it’s good to pick a small, sharp memory, maybe, the morning of her memorial service. Just one specific thing. Rather than thinking, “OK, today I have to write a chapter that encapsulates alllllll my feelings about her.” Because that’s a huge lift. And intimidating.
Yeah. I think part of my block, besides the deep sadness about it, is that it feels like a finality to it. Like if I write it, it’s over in some way. I know that doesn’t make any sense. But it’s almost like, I don’t know, maybe a part of me will have to acknowledge that she’s really gone — (a part of me) that’s not ready to. But I will try that “little” bit. That’s a great idea.
It takes the pressure off. Going piece by piece, rather than taking on the whole thing.
Yeah. Thank you for that.