Patricia Arquette Remembers the Emotional First Time She Saw Boyhood

Celebrities Attend Cantor Fitzgerald/BGC Charity Day at BGC, NYC (Set 1)
Patricia Arquette of the Arquettes! Photo: Derek Storm/Corbis

Patricia Arquette talked about a number of her career highlights on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast, including working with Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and David O. Russell. She had the most to say though about her recent Oscar-winning role as Olivia Evans, the mother of Richard Linklater’s 12-year project Boyhood. After Linklater had completed a final cut of the film, he asked her if she wanted to see it beforehand. She said that she wanted to watch it with an audience, so the first time she watched it was when the film premiered at Sundance. The film is a lot for anyone to watch for the first time, but for her it was especially affecting because she couldn’t help but watch it through multiple lenses, both as herself and as her character.

It was really surreal in a million ways. Rick had offered me to let me see it. “The movie’s done, do you want to see it?” You know, I want to see it with an audience. He was like, “Are you sure?” The first time I saw it was the first time it had an audience. Twelve hundred people at Sundance. Me and my boyfriend had started dating. It was the first time we saw a movie I was in together. That was a whole other element. Yes, yourself aging. But also, on top of it, it was like watching it through four brains. There was the brain of myself watching the movie. There was the brain of watching myself age. There was the other part of me that knew, Oh, that’s the year Ethan got divorced. Oh, right, that’s the year I got divorced. Oh, Ellar’s family got divorced that year. Oh, the makeup lady couldn’t be there that year. Oh, our wardrobe lady was so pregnant that year. All that stuff is in the background of another part.

And then, because I would only have the scenes that I was in, there was another part of it where my character … my son Mason in the movie, Ellar’s character, would say, “I’m going to sleep at my friend’s,” and I knew that he was lying. But I didn’t know what that next scene was. So then my character was watching the movie, and my character was seeing them throw these darts, and this guy is kind of a pervy, weird dude, and my character was like, “I don’t like that fucking guy. You can’t hang out with him anymore.” And my character was making all these judgments and decisions, like, Wow, your dad really was a good dad. You know?

If you could just be a fly on the wall of the other parent, you could probably see, like, I really chose well to have kids with you.

Patricia Arquette’s First Time Seeing Boyhood