Patricia Arquette on Her Emotional Twelve Years in the Making Performance in ‘Boyhood’

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Actors often have trouble committing to projects that might take several months of their time. However, Patricia Arquette and the cast of Boyhood has that beat — the movie was filmed in pieces over the course of twelve years as it follows the youth of a young boy, Mason, and his family. Boyhood was written and directed by Richard Linklater — who has constantly pushed the boundaries of filmmaking throughout his career — and stars Arquette as Mason’s mother. She spoke to Vulture about the emotions she felt during the decade-plus she worked on the film, including shooting the final scene and watching the final cut.

Arquette’s character has a tear-jerking final scene in the movie, which, because of its chronological nature, was also the final scene shot. She comments about what she felt by admitting, “That was my last scene, and I was super glad it was scheduled as my last scene. I was feeling super-weepy that year, not wanting this film to be over. I didn’t want to give it to the world, to have them say anything bad about it. ‘No, they can’t have this!’ And Rick told me, ‘We did make a movie to show the world.’ I said, “Okay. I guess we have to.” But it is like giving your baby up.”

Though Linklater has often worked with Ethan Hawke, who plays Mason’s dad, this was his first time working with Arquette. When asked how he cast her in such a monumental project, Arquette reveals, “We had met for a few minutes at a party and I told him I was a fan, and when he told me about this project, I got so excited, I said, ‘Were you thinking about me for this?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I was wondering if you’d be interested.’ I told him that if he’d have me, I’d do it. And then later I said, ‘Oh yeah, what’s my part? I should ask you that, probably.’ But this just fell in my lap and I couldn’t deny it. I had to go through this door.”

Despite her excitement for the project, Arquette admits that several years ago she stopped watching the rough cuts of the movie. Regarding why she stopped — and how she felt when she finally saw the final cut — she explains, “I saw a rough cut at five years, and I said, ‘Okay, that’s enough. I don’t want to see any more until it’s all done.’ The weird thing about this is that we never had a script, so Rick would say things like, ‘Oh, this year, Ethan is gonna take the kids camping and they’re gonna go to a ballgame,’ but I wouldn’t know the specifics of those scenes. So when I did see the movie, not only was I watching myself age and saying things like, ‘Oh, that’s right around when I had my daughter in real life,’ or ‘That’s when I got a divorce.'”

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