Patricia Arquette Got Her First Movie Role Because This Director Fought for Her

Today, Patricia Arquette is an Oscar and Emmy-winning actor. Most producers would consider her a big “get” to be in their movie. In 1987, the director of he very first movie had to fight to cast her. Clearly, he won or some other movie would have launched Arquette’s career. 

Patricia Arquette in Time Out
Patricia Arquette in her 4th film, Time Out | Rolf Konow/Sygma via Getty Images

Director Dimitri Logothetis spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone about his new movie Jiu Jitsu. After discussing the Nicolas Cage sci-fi martial arts extravaganza, we asked him about his first movie, Pretty Smart. That’s when Logothetis revealed what it took to get Arquette in the film. 

Patricia Arquette in ‘Pretty Smart’

Pretty Smart follows a tradition of teen comedies like Porky’s, Private School and Revenge of the Nerds. A group of girls deal with cliques at an all girls boarding school in Greece. Rebellious teen Daphne (Tricia Leigh Fisher) gets sent to the school to help get her in line, and she rebels against the studious teachers’ pets. Arquette plays Zero, the virginal innocent girl whom the more experienced girls teach about sex.

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Since this is an ’80s teen comedy, it does have gratuitous nudity. Arquette does not bare anything, but the school principal (Dennis Cole) has cameras in the showers for gratuitous shower scenes. Julie Kristen Smith plays Samantha, the most sexually candid and good sport about the ’80s style T&A.

‘Pretty Smart’ was Dimitri Logothetis’s first job, too 

Logothetis went to film school at Loyola Marymount. When he graduated, he was looking for films to direct. The fact that Pretty Smart would film in Greece was fortuitous for Logothetis.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette in Time Out one year after Pretty Smart| Rolf Konow/Sygma via Getty Images

“I was fresh out of film school,” Logothetis said. “I was pitching all these projects that were real serious kind of projects. So somebody said to me, ‘You’re Greek and I’ve got this script.’ It was New World Pictures and New World Pictures had just been purchased from Roger Corman. So they hired me to direct the film specifically because of the fact that I was Greek and I would probably know the terrain.”

Casting Patricia Arquette

Arquette was already in an acting dynasty. Although she had not made a movie yet, her father was Lewis Arquette, and her sister Rosanna had already done Desperately Seeking Susan and After Hours. Patricia would follow up Pretty Smart with A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors.

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE Gala

“I fought to put her in the film actually because she was a no name at the time,” Logothetis said. “They wanted me to use somebody else but she was so good in it I said, ‘No, we’ve got to use her.’”