@Patricia Arquette is one of the most versatile and acclaimed actors in Hollywood. She has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and a SAG Award for her performances in various films and TV shows. But she is also known for her willingness to transform her appearance for her roles, especially when putting on pounds.
How She Gained 40 Pounds for Escape at Dannemora
One of her most remarkable transformations was for the Showtime mini-series Escape at Dannemora, which aired in 2018. In this true-crime drama, she played Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, a prison employee who helped two inmates, Richard Matt (Benicio Del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano), escape in 2015.
Arquette gained 40 pounds for the role, which she said was necessary to portray the character as she wanted to. In an interview with The Guardian, she said:
I wanted Tilly’s body language to be different from mine – I wanted it to be like someone who doesn’t have any core strength left; someone who doesn’t have any hope left; someone who doesn’t have any self-esteem left; someone who doesn’t have any sexuality left; someone who doesn’t have any joy left.
She also said that she felt “matronly, dumpy, middle-aged” and that looking like that made her “an invisible person.” She also said that she had to perform love scenes with Del Toro and Dano in the series, which was challenging but liberating.
The weight gain was achieved with the help of alcohol on her skin and a tattoo and stipple sponge to make her skin more blotchy. She also wore prosthetic teeth and a wig to complete the look.
Arquette’s portrayal garnered widespread praise from critics and garnered her numerous accolades, such as a prestigious Golden Globe and an esteemed SAG Award.
How She Kept Much of It On for The Act
Arquette did not lose all the weight she gained for Escape at Dannemora before taking on another role that required her to look heavier. In 2019, she starred in the Hulu series The Act as Dee Dee Blanchard, a mother who suffered from Munchausen by proxy syndrome and abused her daughter Gypsy (Joey King).
The series was based on a true story of a toxic relationship that ended in murder. Arquette said that she wanted to understand why Dee Dee did what she did and how she manipulated everyone around her.
She told Parade that she had a lot of questions about her character and that every answer was complicated and multidimensional. She also said she felt emotionally and mentally heavy after playing such a dark role.
Arquette’s performance was again praised by critics and audiences alike. She was honored with a prestigious Emmy nomination for her outstanding performance.
How She Dealt with Body Image Criticism
Arquette has been open about the challenges of gaining weight for her roles and the criticism she faced for her body image throughout her career. She said she felt annoyed and crappy when she was told to lose weight for her role in Medium, the supernatural drama series that won her an Emmy in 2005.
She also said that when True Romance came out in 1993, some critics said she was too fat or too heavy. She said she looked back at the film and thought she had a beautiful body and wondered what they were talking about.
Arquette stated that she had no concern for others’ opinions regarding her appearance and expressed her satisfaction with her professional achievements. She said she wanted to play real women with real lives and bodies.
In addition, she expressed her desire to confront the preconceived notions and societal norms prevalent in both the entertainment industry and broader culture.
I think we’re all so much more than our bodies – we’re so much more than our faces – we’re so much more than our hair color – we’re so much more than our age – we’re so much more than our gender – we’re so much more than our sexuality – we’re so much more than any label anyone wants to put on us.
Arquette has proven herself as one of the most talented and fearless actors in the industry. She has shown that Patricia Arquette’s weight gain was not a hindrance but an asset for her roles.