Patricia Arquette Almost Had a Heart Attack Playing This Emmy-Nominated Role

Patricia Arquette is nominated for two Emmys this year for the roles she played on Escape at Dannemora and The Act. Both were based on real-life people too. In Escape at Dannemora, Arquette played Tilly Mitchell, a prison employee who helps two inmates escape. In The Act, she plays Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman who committed Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy on her daughter. One of those roles almost gave her a heart attack.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette speaks onstage during Hulu’s “The Act” FYC event Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu)

Arquette was on a Television Critics Association panel for the The Act in February. Speaking to reporters, she discussed her two intense roles, not knowing at the time she would be Emmy nominated for both of them. 

The role that almost gave Patricia Arquette a heart attack

Patricia Arquette gained weight to play Dee Dee Blanchard. That combined with the filming locations in Georgia had more drastic effects than she expected.

“There was a point where I thought I was going to have a heart attack from gaining weight, keeping it all this time,” Arquette said. “We were up in high altitudes and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t breathe great. This is kind of not good.’”

Patricia Arquette in The Act
Patricia Arquette in The Act | Brownie Harris/Hulu

Once filming wrapped, Arquette looked forward to getting healthy again.

“We just wrapped two days ago,” she said in February. “So I’m going to go into this more healthy program of just going back to healthy eating, vegetables.”

‘The Act’ and ‘Escape at Dannemora’ were trying emotionally too

Both roles were intense, so even without physical transformations, they would wear on Patricia Arquette. 

“I think it is a little bit heavy to carry around emotionally that stuff,” Arquette said. “I definitely feel like my mind and heart needs a break. Not that I’m crazy. I can leave it at the end of the day, but there is a little residual because when you go home, then you’re working on tomorrow. So it never exactly goes away but physically more than anything.”

She did film Otherhood in between the two series, so that was a little break.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette attends the Photo Call For Netflix’s “Otherhood” | Leon Bennett/FilmMagic

“I did do a little comedy in between that’s not quite so heavy as all of these things,” Arquette said. “She’s still like a hippie lady but I don’t know. I just have to shake all this out of my mind. These are intense people and kind of depressed and heavy. Their survival mechanisms are really intense, so I just want to take a break for a minute.”

Patricia Arquette amplified her own motherhood for ‘The Act’

Patricia Arquette is a much better mother than Dee Dee Blanchard was. However, all mothers worry about their children and may become overprotective. Arquette just turned it up to 11.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette from the serie “The Act” attends the 59th Monte Carlo TV Festival : Day Four | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

“We started this in September,” Arquette said. “That was right when my daughter was going away to school. So I was like I’m going to put all my crazy missing of my daughter, and then I’m going to expand it by 1,000, all my missing of her, all my worry about her, all my everything about her. So it’s taking I think a natural, normal thing to a distorted level. I really deeply believe this in these moments, the stakes were very high for Dee Dee in these moments.”