The hilarious and heartwarming crime film "True Romance" would not be the same without Patricia Arquette playing the ditzy and lovable Alabama Worley. Arquette went on to earn an Academy Award decades later, but when "True Romance" was released in 1993, it was a major breakout role for the actress, still in the early stages of her career.
The film gained a lot of critical and audience acclaim, but it also attracted a lot of controversy. Some of the edgier moments of the movie actually made Arquette highly uncomfortable at the time. Arquette thoroughly sympathized with her "True Romance" character, but she had trouble relating to Alabama.
"I struggled with playing her," the actress admitted to The Independent. "She's so supportive, even of things that are kind of shocking. Her boyfriend murders someone and she's still like… yeah!"
On screen it might have seemed like Alabama was thoroughly impressed by Clarence's violence, but Arquette saw things differently. Her acting coach helped her to incorporate her own point of view into ther performance.
"My acting coach told me, well, what are you going to say? 'Don't do that?' 'How dare you?'" Arquette recalled. "So I treated it like it was a survival mechanism. I think [Alabama's] capacity to totally love without judgment is what people respond to. But it was really difficult to play that."
Alabama Was A Little Racist
The "True Romance" star found it difficult to connect to Alabama's reactions, but she struggled even more to adjust to the very particular sense of humor in the script, which was penned by Quentin Tarantino. From the moment Arquette first read the screenplay, she was repelled by some of the off-color lines that were written for her character.
"My agent told me about this script for a Tony Scott movie," the actress recounted to Maxim. "There was a lot I liked about it, but I didn't like when Alabama was sort of racist. By now we've all gotten used to Quentin's tone, but at the time I was somewhat shocked by it. I was asking myself, 'What is this? Whoa!'"
She was particularly offended by a line early on in the film when Alabama and Clarence grab pie at a diner, just after their first meeting. Alabama says she's turned off by Persians, but Arquette says that the original line may have been slightly different.
"I don't know if the line about being turned off by Persians was in the script," she admitted. "Actually, every time we shot that scene, I would say a different ethnic group — I wanted to be equally offensive to all people."
So She Tweaked The Script
Arquette tried to steer clear of racist dialogue in "True Romance," but that doesn't mean she was hyper-sensitive. In fact, the actress asked director Tony Scott to slap her when she needed to get into character. The director slapped her before her highly emotional scene with co-star Christian Slater sitting on a billboard, the actress said.
"I was really frustrated about getting emotionally to where I wanted in that scene," Arquette recalled to Buzzfeed. "[Scott] was like, 'Do you want me to smack you?' I said, 'Yeah, maybe you should smack me!'"
Despite their strange dynamic — and Arquette's qualms about her character — she and the director had a lot of mutual respect for one another.
"Oh my god, the guy loved me to death," the "Boyhood" star gushed. "The guy was the most supportive director I've ever had. Every single idea I had on that movie, he'd say, 'That is brilliant!'"
However, Scott didn't always extend the same level of creative control to all his actors. In fact, Arquette remembers Slater complaining about the filmmaker's favoritism on set. "And every time Christian would have an idea, he would go, 'That's a terrible idea, Christian," Arquette added. "And Christian was, like, 'What the f***? Every time Patricia has an idea you say it's great!'"
"True Romance" is an undeniably great film, but Arquette's reservations about the script were understandable. Still, fans of the film can rest peacefully knowing that she overcame her doubts and was given the creative freedom to play Alabama the way she wanted to. Everybody wins!
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The post Patricia Arquette Had One Problem With Quentin Tarantino's True Romance Script appeared first on /Film.