'Tone-Deaf' Star Robert Patrick on 'Terminator 2' Role and Millennials
It’s been a few decades since Robert Patrick violently pursued Arnold Schwarzeneggar in the action classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Now, the former T-1000 is pursuing a different target — a millennial woman who can’t even — in Richard Bates Jr.’s horror satire Tone-Deaf, out in theaters August 30.
But how much does Patrick agree with his aging, pissed-off baby boomer character, Harvey? “Not all the way,” the 60-year-old actor tells Inverse. “I would say there’s parts that you could find in me that are similar to Harvey. But I would never talk to my children the way Harvey talks.”
In Tone-Deaf, widowed baby boomer Harvey (Patrick) rents his rural California home to a stressed-out twenty-something, Olive, played by Amanda Crew. Triggered by Olive’s coastal city liberalism — a disturbingly quick Google search brings up Olive at the Women’s March — the unhinged homeowner gives in to bloodlust and begins tormenting Olive. Occasionally, he’ll address the movie viewer directly, calling out millennials for being whiny, soft, lazy, and entitled.
“He’s got so much anxiety from the culture, society, and technology, he feels people don’t appreciate things the way they should,” Patrick says. “He’s got contempt for the younger generation. He’s a guy in his final chapters of his life and this contempt has worked its way to become a murderous intent. He’s just lost sight of everything.”
Basically Robert Patrick plays your uncle at Thanksgiving, just hopefully without the itch to kill. But Patrick swears he doesn’t subscribe to Harvey’s twisted beliefs.
“I am a baby boomer. Obviously, I don’t have the kind of contempt [Harvey] has,” Patrick says. “I have met many millennials who are fantastic people. I do think there’s a lot of things that millennials are missing out on, that they’re not appreciating. However, I can’t say that’s every one of them.”
In taking on the role of Harvey, the noted film and TV actor sought something different from his heroic Agent Cabe Gallo on the now-canceled CBS network drama, Scorpion.
“I was looking for something darker,” he says. “I did this movie looking for something to do in hiatus from Scorpion. I thought it was one of the most inspired scripts I ever read, it combined genres and was very thought-provoking. You turn on the TV, and you can’t watch the news. It’s not news. It’s all opinion, all agenda, just people saying horrible things. This discourse in our public right now, it’s really horrible. The film touches on a lot of that.”
In portraying Harvey, Patrick shows flashes of the ferocity in his infamous role of the T-1000. But Patrick insists that Harvey isn’t the killer reborn reincarnate.
“The T-1000 didn’t have personality. He was just program,” Patrick says. “Harvey’s a human being. T-1000’s a blob of liquid metal.”
With two young adult children of his own, aged 18 and 22, Patrick thinks millennials will soon look at the next generation as boomers do. “From generation to generation, millennials will be looking at future generations going, like, god damn. The movie illustrates we’re all full of shit.”
While it’s unlikely that a violent horror like Tone-Deaf will reconcile generational tensions, Patrick hopes it encourages some empathy.
“We’re not sensitive to each other. We’re not as civil as we can be,” Patrick says. “We need to start showing more respect for each other. The disrespect we show for both generations is not something to be proud of. I hope people take away when they watch the movie is the reality that we all gotta co-exist. We might as well start trying to get along.”
Tone-Deaf is in theaters now.