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Film and Television Work

Interview with Robert Patrick
February 1995

Explosions rip through the streets. Cars are engulfed in flames. Onlookers flee from the scene. One lone man emerges from the destruction, ready to take on the people who have done him harm. Jeff Douglas is that man. Zero Tolerance is that film.

Robert Patrick portrays Douglas, an FBI agent seeking revenge against the international drug smugglers who killed his wife and children. Not since Terminator 2 has Patrick torched the screen with his presence. Now he's back, tearing up the streets, seeking justice.

"Zero Tolerance is the first action picture that I have done since T2," Patrick said in a recent interview. Starring in T2 was an interesting twist of fate for him, since it was a book by Arnold Schwarzenegger, which Patrick had read ten years prior, that inspired him to change his life and pursue acting as a career.

"It was right around when I was in college," he explained. "I had been disenfranchised with who I was and what I was. I had a very large physique at that time. I was a 215lb. You know, a no neck football player. Somewhere inside there, there was this burning desire to be an actor. And I decided I should try to slim down. And I actually read one of his books on body building and diet. And used a couple of his ideas and lost weight. Lo and behold, here I am years later I'm throwing this guy around."

When asked if he had a problem with typecasting since T2, Patrick replied, "I'm in a very lucky position that my name means something. I'm getting a lot of offers to do projects. Maybe, to a certain degree, in Hollywood I am still a bad guy, but Robert Patrick the actor knows that there are a lot of things that I want to do and a lot of things that I am capable of doing."

One thing he got an opportunity to do was his own stunts in Zero Tolerance - within reason of course. Stunt double Bob Brown, also known for his work on Terminator 2, did the more dangerous stunts, including an explosion that sends Agent Douglas sailing over a car.

"We really wanted something spectacular. Bob really is fantastic with high falls. He's quite a gymnast. He's one of the top stuntmen in the business, so we were lucky that he would do the project with us. He's a great guy."

To add a little more realism to his character, Patrick's wife, Barbara, portrayed his wife in the film. "I coaxed her into doing that part. I thought our chemistry as husband and wife in real life would aid me quite a bit. It would be another thing I wouldn't have to worry about. We would show up with instant chemistry.

"I really wanted that to work, so that you would believe the turmoil, the anger and the sense of loss that Jeff Douglas feels and obviously pushes him on his path. As an actor, anything and everything you can do to alleviate and help you create a real situation, at least I do, I try to use it."

Another high point for Patrick was working with close friend Titus Welliver, who plays Doulgas' evil nemesis. "He's an incredible actor. He's very good in this movie.

"The neat thing about Titus is that he's a stage actor, and he's so good at ad-libbing and creating things that you don't see in the script. He took the ball and ran with it and just did a terrific job."

Meanwhile, Patrick keeps working. He recently starred in Double Dragon in a comedic, tongue-in-cheek role. His next project is a thriller titled Last Gasp that deals with spiritual possession. "It's a very exciting film, and I'm really excited about the way it's turning out. I'm just fitting in where I fit in, and trying to do what I want to do. And, knock on wood, I'm getting the opportunity."

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