Robert Patrick Is Made Of Mettle
Scorpion star Robert Patrick reflects on stunts, joyrides, and his iconic T2 villain.
"He’s a badass with a heart of gold," says Robert Patrick of his Scorpion alter ego, the fearless but hopelessly paternal federal agent Cabe Gallo. He’s a handler of Team Scorpion, a crew of supergeniuses now in their third hit season of deploying brains, banter, and gargantuan action to outfox the baddest of the planet’s bad.
Renowned for his tough guys (CBS's The Unit, Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers), not to mention cinema’s greatest villain (the T-1000 cyborg in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), the Georgia-born Patrick, 58, is a Harley-Davidson-addicted alpha dog with a voice that puts gravel to shame. But this is no delusional hound: "As tough as I sometimes think I am, I ain’t that tough—I’m just an actor, for God’s sake!"
Don’t be too humble, buddy. I saw you dropped 270 feet while scaling a dam last season on Scorpion.
One of the coolest stunts ever—I felt like Tom Cruise! And this season I'm doing a lot more stunts and fight scenes. I reminded everybody that I started in Roger Corman B-movies and I can drive, fight, throw, and run, so let's do it while I can still do it!
Also remind them that folks are totally hot for tough guy bad boys like you and… well, come on, poor Cabe gets no lady love! The public's interests need to be served!
Damn right, they do! [Laughs.] OK, I’m going to say there are people who are actually interested in Gallo as a sex object and I've been working out and I really think this is ageism that you're not allowing me to reach my full potential as a sex symbol! Give me tighter t-shirts and a woman!
Damn straight! OK, let's talk motorcycles and cars. You're hardcore.
Yeah, baby, I drive a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with 707 horsepower, and Harley-Davidsons are real important to me. Every little thing you do on a motorcycle, whether it's an audition or riding to the store, becomes an adventure, not an errand.
You're even the owner of L.A.'s Boozefighters Motorcycle Club and—
—and I turned it into a federal nonprofit. We have a clubhouse and hang out, just like if I were a golfer I'd hang out at a country club. But golf ain't really my sweet spot. [Laughs.] Boozefighters has raised over $75,000 for veterans' charities like Wounded Warrior USA and Habitat for Humanity for wounded soldiers. The club is a more edgy, fun way for me to take my passion for motorcycle riding and spin it into doing good works for the brothers and sisters of the armed forces.
Absolutely. Terminator 2 is being re-released and, though you've done stunning, dramatic turns in projects ranging from The Sopranos and The X-Files to Johnny Cash's dad in Walk the Line, to many you’ll forever be that Terminator with the chilling blue eyes in T2. Are you cool with that?
Yes. I wasn’t always—there was a time when I thought, Really? That again? But I've come to love and embrace that I, an unknown, was introduced on a global level as a sexy, evil, shape-shifting, cyborg killing machine. It's such an iconic role in an iconic film.
Amazing, too, that you're a Hollywood actor with two kids (Austin, 19, and Samuel, 16) who has been married to the same woman, Barbara, for 26 years.
Barbara's my girl. The one. My partner in crime. My bride. Funny story: I remember Jim [director James Cameron] had just given me T2 and I said, "I’ve got to have days off around Thanksgiving, because I'm getting married." And his quote to me was, "Are you sure you want to do that?" [Laughs.] He's been married, like, five times, so don't go to him for marriage advice!
But do go to him to score an international career.
Abso-friggin-lutely. And I want to act forever, man. One of my best buds is Bobby Duvall, and I aspire to be like him. I just want to keep working forever and let everybody see me get old. Know what I mean, brother?
Do you ever have to slap yourself over your 32-years-and-counting career?
Listen, dude, I'm still basically a little kid from Marietta, Georgia, so hell to the yes! I'm one lucky son of a gun.
By Brantley Bardin | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, April 2017.
Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
Watch Scorpion on Mondays at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.