Patricia Arquette: Hands on in Haiti

The Emmy-winning actress discusses her humanitarian work in Haiti. Plus: In our Web-exclusive interview, Arquette opens up about life after 'Medium' and why she has Sean Penn on speed dial

By Margy Rochlin
patricia arquette in haiti photo
Photograph: Mitchell Haaseth

PA: As much as I loved Medium, the subject matter was dark and your brain doesn’t really know the difference. Between “action” and “cut,” you’re thinking, “Where did you kill the girl?” “Where did you bury her?” “Did you skin her alive?” “Did you shoot her in the head?” Those are thoughts are actually [going through your mind] while you’re filming. And it’s heavy to be thinking about that part of mankind so much, what human beings are capable of doing to one another. The subject matter was dark. But not waking up at 5 every morning, is really, really glorious. To wake up at 8 is so nice.

More: Have you done any acting since?

PA: I just did [See If I Care], a little movie with Eva Mendes. And I’ve been working on [Boyhood] for many years with Richard Linklater, where we shoot a week a year for 12 years. I think we just shot our 9th or 10th year. So that’s always great.

More: Boyhood follows a kid from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade. Is it a far-reaching venture, like Michael Apted’s Up Series?

PA: Yeah, but it’s scripted. It’s been great to do those projects. But I feel like Haiti has become my full time job for now. I feel like I am reverse engineering my brain. Like, I don’t know how to do fundraising. But I lead with my heart. I do believe in the program so much.

More: By reverse engineering you mean, “[Fill in the blank] needs to be done. How do I do this?”

PA: Yeah, and I do it like a…fool. And I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m learning as I go along, but I have no airs about it. I understand that it’s a learning process. And I’m willing to learn. But I’m also looking for really good creative material because I am an artist. That’s another part of me that I do care about. I love acting. To me, acting is another way to connect with humanity. So is our project in Haiti.

More: What sort of projects are on GiveLove’s current roster?

PA: Right now there’s this new orphanage that we want to build out for seventy kids. We want to put in sanitation systems, a water filtration system for those kids and start community gardens. We have a huge list of people who want sanitation systems.

More: How can people help?

PA: Donate $2 on our website. Even little amounts help support these programs and our Haitian team and help us get volunteers over. Go on your Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends. People who have specific skill sets can volunteer their time.

Want to read about another celeb humanitarian? Check out our interview with supermodel turned activist Christy Turlington Burns.

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First Published May 31, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


Jhan Palmer07.07.2011

Nice pics......Patricia Arquette is looking so beautiful. I totally guess she is still doing well hands on in Haiti. Thanks!
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