Patricia McKenzie: Sadly, I kind of peaked before we shot. I had done a three week detox some months before, looked lean for a bit, and figured I'd do it again in time for the love scene. That scene ended up being pushed up a month early so in the three days I had to prepare, I did a partial juice fast, cut down on solid foods, and drank lots of water, just to feel like I was doing something. In the end, I don't think diet really mattered, and in my experience as an actor, no one ever seems to care about any extra pounds on me or anyone else. What an actor is expressing is far more important and interesting to watch than how flat their tummy is.
ROBsessed: Did you and Rob collaborate with David for the scene?
McKenzie: We had a rehearsal on set that morning to try some things, but finally David decided we would do the whole scene while making love, and all in one take which was quite a challenge. My first career was as a dancer, where you rehearse for 8 weeks before stepping onstage. Now, I'm always amazed at how much we as actors have to bring to the table, and be ready to improvise, and how fast the director has to think on his feet to orchestrate it all.
ROBsessed: Is Xanax prescribed for the day to calm nerves? I'm joking ;) kind of
McKenzie: It would have been tempting to have wine before the scene! One of the first film acting jobs I ever had was laced with highly erotic content, and I was young, naive, and an absolute prude. To get through the love scenes they had to ply me with red wine and the director promised me, on the life of her children, that I wouldn't be ashamed of the result. She was an angel, and in hindsight, the scene was very tame. The relationship of an actor to a director is crucial, you have to put all of your faith in their vision, so what made the intimacy in Cosmopolis really easy for me was that I trusted David completely. Rob was a sweetheart as well, very supportive and very professional. From a holistic standpoint, to mentally prepare for an intense day on set, deep breathing saves me every time, as well as a mantra not to judge myself positively or negatively, just to be. "Express, don't impress" is my aspiration.
ROBsessed: How many takes did you have to do because the shot is fairly long and uninterrupted. Was it difficult to be so wordy with such a physical scene?
McKenzie: It was a long, sweaty day, but I like being physical, and I like the heightened awareness everyone has on set during a love scene. Those days have a very different energy from the other days. Yeah, it was lots of fun and a delightful challenge to deal with unconventional dialogue in the heat of passion. I have played various lesbians on Canadian shows for years, so it was a nice change to be partnered with Rob.
ROBsessed: Was the gun heavy? Did you film Eric being tasered?
McKenzie: With so much action, I hardly remember the weight of the gun. We did not film Eric being tasered, Rob really wanted to, and do it for real. Thank goodness, I would hate to have been the one to have to taser him! I've been exposed to all kind of guns on set and they always terrify me.
ROBsessed: Who was stronger? You or Rob?
McKenzie: I think he is a gentleman and would let me win if we wrestled.
ROBsessed: How do you mentally prepare?
McKenzie: Let go of all expectations and go with the moment. There was almost no preparation I could do, although I tried valiantly, and sweated over it for months. I think ultimately my preparation was to let go of needing to feel prepared and just trust.
ROBsessed: Did you suspect Rob fans would find the scene pretty steamy?
McKenzie: I purposely didn't watch any playback so I had no idea what the scene looked like or how people would react, although I had an inkling that people on set seemed to think it was hot, judging by the way everyone came out of the woodwork, and gathered around the monitor. Ha Ha. It's all about the scene while I'm working, connecting with my costar, being as truthful and revealing as I can and trying to be compelling. After it was all done, like any actor, I ultimately want approval, so I sweated for a few weeks, hoping people wouldn't abhor my presence in the film, or even worse, that the scene would end up on the cutting room floor! Eventually I always come to the conclusion that other people's opinions of my work or even my sex appeal, are none of my business and my job is to keep any of those concerns out of my mind. But, I have to admit that I am thrilled and amazed to have pleased Rob's discerning and dedicated fans!
ROBsessed: Tell us something we might not know about Rob and David.
McKenzie: They are two of the sweetest men in Hollywood. Both are extremely humble in person and lack pretension. I felt very comfortable around both of them. David Cronenberg gave me a big hug the first time I ever saw him, and he said he was happy to finally meet me, which was so disarming, charming and fatherly. I think that is when I fell in love, because I will give everything to a director that makes me feel as safe and protected as a child. And Cronenberg is so patient. He gives everyone on set all the time they need to do their best work, and speaks quietly to keep the atmosphere on set very calm and enjoyable. David was also very patient with my fawning over him at the warp party, because I was so appreciative of his work style I just couldn't help gushing like a schoolgirl with with a crush, very embarrassing in retrospect. I didn't expect Rob to be so tall, and so charming.
Everyone loved him on set. He can carry his own in any conversation and takes pains to make others feel at ease. He is very down-to-earth and low-key, the kind of guy that just chills with his dog, or with a pint. What's his dogs name, Bear? I'm pretty sure I remember that from playing with him, although it's possible I heard the name somewhere, but anyone who calls a small dog "Bear" has a good sense of humour. I had two 95lb boxers named Zeus and Troy, that I was missing, so it was fun to play with that friendly little Bear. Anyway, I got the impression that he preferred a dark pub, to cruising on a yacht, or anything fancy. He actually called me "fancy" because yes, if there's an occasion, I may prefer boating to beers on a hot summer day, but otherwise, I like to stay home and immerse myself in my own world.
Part2: Patricia McKenzie talks about surviving her erotic sex scene
ROBsessed: Describe the scene in 3 words.
Patricia McKenzie: erotic. erotic. erotic. erotic. exotic. enigmatic.
ROBsessed: Describe Kendra in 3 words.
McKenzie: alone. searching. free
ROBsessed: How does it feel to beat the iconic Edward & Bella among Robsessed fans?
McKenzie: I have never seen any of the Twilight movies, so I don't know what tantalizing celluloid the scene was up against, but I am really honoured to have been in the running.
ROBsessed: Rob once said sex scene tricks have modesty patches. What other tricks are used in sex scenes? Mint gum?
McKenzie: Wardrobe arrives between each take with a robe, to cover the actors up, touch up makeup and spray fake sweat, although the last part was wholly unnecessary. It's incredibly hot and sweaty gyrating under cinema lights, and I was going through a phase, as I sometimes do, where I stopped using deodorant and wearing nail polish or any other chemicals. All part of my detox. It takes me a lot to work up a sweat, so I didn't really consider how hot I would be or how potentially smelly. So luckily, I had two little deodorant wipes, that I tried to use, which was mortifying, but at least maybe he knew I was trying not to be offensively oderous. As far as being covered up, I had nothing, and Rob had a white sport sock taped on with masking tape, for modesty which was pretty funny. Sometimes I find those awkward cover-ups only draw attention to the nudity and make me more self-conscious than if I have nothing, but he didn't buy my argument, and kept the sock, rather flimsily attached.
ROBsessed: What do you think Kendra did after Eric's tasered? Watch QVC or recharge the gun?
McKenzie: I think she briefly considered kissing him all over to try to soothe his pain, but then left before he recovered.
ROBsessed: Did you have a trainer to get in shape or trained yourself?
McKenzie: I have a lifetime of dance training that keeps me in decent shape. I dabbled in boxing to feel more like a bodyguard and discovered that boxing, apart from being a killer workout, is a great complement to acting. If you are not completely in the moment as a boxer, you lose, much like acting.
ROBsessed: How are you still alive?
McKenzie: Ha ha. It's always a thrill to be working on set, especially with such luminaries in the craft, but most of my time is spent auditioning, creating opportunities, and in the pursuit of other passions I have. The exciting moments are tempered by the reality of staying focussed, not taking rejection personally and appreciating what I have, when I have it.
ROBsessed: What are you working on now? Would you work with Rob and David again?
McKenzie: I'm in the ensemble of a TV murder mystery series called "Still Life" based on a series of novels by Louise Penny that starts soon. On the side, I'm pitching a Sit-Com I'd like to produce if I can get enough funding, and I've really been in my element writing a bunch of new songs, and looking forward to recording them in studio. Of course I look forward to working with Rob and David again. They know where to find me, I hope they call soon!
Oh that gentlemanly Robert! White sport socks will never be the saaaaaaaame!
Cosmopolis is currently the Movie Of The Week on iTunes. Here