Playing the villain can be more fun for many actors, but in a movie like Moxie It can also be a great responsibility. In the upcoming Amy Poehler-directed teen movie, out March 3 on Netflix, Patrick Schwarzenegger (Echo Boomers) addresses the role of Mitchell, a worse-than-average bad boy.
Mitchell’s aggressive and sexist behavior, coupled with the apathy of the school administration, is the catalyst that leads the normally shy Vivian (Hadley Robinson, Utopia) to start your anonymous fanzine. With it, you help inspire girls in school to fight on all fronts, from dress code to athletics.
Schwarzenegger spoke with Screen Rant about the burden of taking on such an obnoxious character, the process of collaborating with an icon like Amy Poehler, and the true meaning of the word “moxie.”
How did you join for the first time? Moxie?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: I think when I got the first audition, I really didn’t know anything about the project. It was an untitled Netflix high school movie when it arrived. But then I went in and auditioned for the casting department, and it went well. Then I came back for another with Amy Poehler, and the room was full. It was a bit stressful, but they told me a bit about the character and a bit about the project.
But it was interesting, because when I did the auditions for the first time, they said, “This guy is really a good guy and he’s really nice.” They want him to appear very nice and charming, kind of the opposite of what his character was. I don’t know if they just wanted to see different sides of what I could do, or what the character was, but I played like that. And then they told me, “This guy is a huge idiot, he’s terrible. Now switch him to that.” It was an interesting process.
But after I got the part, I was able to read part of the book and the script. I learned that Amy was a part of that, as well as other great actors and actresses. This is how I really learned it.
Once you started learning about Mitchell and his many layers, what was it that most interested or excited you about portraying?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: It’s difficult, because I wasn’t thrilled to play it. I’m a far cry from this type of character, and I think some of the other work I did was obviously YA’s love story. Although I recently did a movie called Daniel Isn’t Real, where I played a psychopath, which was a lot of fun.
But this one was a bit heavier, because it’s a high school movie and the base that is going to be seen is young teenagers. We want them to learn and be motivated by this story, and inspired to come out and use their voice to prove they are worth something, but it sucks to play the villain and just a terrible guy. It’s disgusting on several levels so it was a bit difficult.
But at the same time, it was great to be able to be a part of this project and message in general and to work with someone like Amy Poehler and Netflix. I always like to find ways to grow and learn, and surround myself with people who are better than me. So, Moxie checked all those boxes.
Speaking of Amy Poehler, how was the collaboration process with her as director?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: Yeah, she’s so unique, because she obviously started out as an actress before progressing to directing and producing and stuff. He has multiple views of the character, from the director’s side to the actress’s side. But it was great, because he would let me try my own takes and then say, “Hey, let’s change this” or “Let’s do that” or “Let’s do an old take” or even “This is a free for everyone, so say what you want” .
She really wanted me to play with it, and she always pushed me to be more of an idiot. More and more. It was really cool working with her.
It’s interesting that Mitchell is immediately forced to antagonize Lucy, which is what sets off the chain of events that leads to the Moxie zine. What do you think he finds threatening about her?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: It’s a great question. We don’t get that far into the backstory, because obviously the movie starts there. They don’t show much of Mitchell’s life or what must have happened to him to act like this, or feel like he needs to be in control by blaming other people. But something from his past had to be deep inside him; something that makes you try to feel powerful doing these things. But there probably isn’t a good answer, you know.
From your perspective, as Patrick, how do you see Vivian and her bow in the movie?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: It’s a beautiful bow. He is someone who is shy and not at all sociable, who is shy and at first tells Lucy to just put her head down and go the other way. But little by little, he begins to draw inspiration from his mother and his mother’s past, and sees that he can rebel and that his voice is necessary and necessary. And see what it creates.
I think by the time you start where you end up, even from your personal development of empowering other women at school to falling in love and finding a romantic side, there are multiple angles and growth from within.
I also loved the on-screen camaraderie of the girls. Was your link off screen better than on screen? Were you exiled or were you able to join the conversations?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: No, I was not exiled. We were all very close and we still are. I spent time with some of the cast members outside of filming, and most of the scenes were in the classroom or at school. We were all together, so we all hung out during lunch breaks or between takes.
Amy really made it a fun set. We had a good camaraderie and became very close as a group. And we still have a group Moxie thread, with text messages and all.
How do you approach playing characters with this dark belly as an actor, because obviously the characters think they are right?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: They feel like they’re right, yeah. It’s a selfish thing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it goes back to working with someone like Amy. She is there to push you to become more of an idiot or to come out of your shell in a different way. That’s the good part of having an incredible director with acting experience.
After you’ve been in the movie, what does the word “moxie” mean to you?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: It’s really about having courage and then the determination to see that difference and make a change. I think courage is probably the only word that really comes to mind. Courage to stand up for what’s right, even when you don’t feel that way. Vivian has moxie in this movie, definitely.
I love what you said earlier about wanting to inspire the youth, even if your particular role is that of a villain. Is the message that a work often sends an important factor in decision-making?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: What message are you sending? Who am I going to work with? Who do I surround myself with on certain projects? Things like that. Is the character different from what I did before? Does this make me grow? Those are the main things I’m looking at.
What’s next for you professionally?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: We’ll see. I am about to finish a small project that is coming up, and I hope to announce it soon.
Do you have any particular memories of fun or established interactions with Moxie?
Patrick Schwarzenegger: Yes, we had a lot of fun. There were night shootings on the field, playing soccer all together. Amy Poehler can throw a soccer ball; He can throw a ball between takes and stuff. She got the ball and threw about 30-40 yards. Those are some really fun and great memories.
More: Patrick Schwarzenegger Interview: Daniel Isn’t Real
Moxie drops March 3 on Netflix.
James Bond: everything that went wrong with Quantum of Solace
About the Author