Patricia Arquette has two more weeks of production on “Medium” for the season, and then she’ll be returning to Haiti and the labor of passion she’s thrown herself into – transforming a squalid, violent, displaced persons’ camp into a village with sustainable housing and sanitation.
“Ever since the earthquake, it’s completely consumed all my excess time. I’m glad to say my kids are on board, and they’re okay with that,” notes the mother of a 20-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter.
Patricia says she initially simply donated money to big charities after the devastating 7-point quake that hit the impoverished island nation in January. But then, a combination of seeing news stories detailing the ongoing misery in Haiti and hearing about it from a nurse friend of hers made her feel compelled to do more.
“She was among the first responders to rush down. She was so shaken. She’d been to India, to a lot of different locations – she’d seen a lot of poverty, but nothing like this. And she said, ‘You have to do something. Everybody’s got to do something.’”
The actress had heard about how massive shipping containers could be quickly converted into clean, safe housing and wondered about bringing that idea to Haiti. The fact that she didn’t know how to go about it, or how to fundraise, hasn’t stood in Patricia’s way. “My friend said, ‘Just start moving forward and don’t look back,’” she explains.
Since then, Patricia has found collaborators, including veteran relief project coordinator Cosmo Pfell, and Christopher Robertson of Houston’s Inhabitat, who has successfully built container homes. Last week, she says, the army came in to grade the land being used, and this week, their architect will be at the site. Plans for sustainable sanitation have also been worked out. The hope is that this village will serve as a prototype for more – and, of course, the methodology could then be repeated in Haiti and elsewhere. To make donations or find out more, see her GiveLove.org website.
MEANWHILE: Fans of “Medium” are getting quite bent out of shape – to judge by comments on the internet – over the leaked news that the six-year-old Patricia Arquette series will have her character dying at season’s end. Is this really the end?
“We’re never certain if we’re going to get picked up,” says the star. “I just feel like it’s going to be a very good show. Our writers are doing things in a very interesting way. It’s not going to be a straightforward show. Viewers will like it. That’s not saying about whether it’s the end. We won’t know that until the upfronts in May.”
THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: The CW’s “Life Unexpected” is on the bubble, and the show’s stars have been pulling out all stops in hopes of drawing interest to tonight’s (4/12) season finale. “Whatever we can do for the show we love, we’ll do,” says Britt Robertson, who plays the central character, a 15-year-old product of the foster care system, who sought out her birth parents trying to get herself legally emancipated, and wound up in their custody.
With Shiri Appleby as her mother, Kerr Smith as Shiri’s fiancé, Ryan, and Kristoffer Polaha as Shiri’s slacker ex-boyfriend of high school years, Baze – a.ka. the birth dad — the show has become more and more interesting as it has evolved. Not only is there the growing tension of the triangle between the three adults, there’s also the ongoing revelation of Britt’s character’s anger and other emotional damage from her years in the system.
She tells us that in real life, the two guys get along just fine. “They’re great. They’re buddies. We’re the only friends each other has, since we’re shooting far away from home (in Vancouver),” she notes.
“Only once have I seen any competition thing between them,” she adds. “When people ask me which team I’m on, I say that as Brittney I’m on team Ryan – because he’s a down-to-earth guy who’s got his act together and he’s a go-getter, where Baze is still trying to find himself…But as my character Lux, I love Baze. He’s her biological parent, and whether he’s right for her mother or not, every child has the fantasy of wanting their parents to be together. Once I did an interview and they neglected to use the second part of my explanation. Kristoffer saw it and sent it to me with a note that said, ‘What’s up, Britt?’ But he knows what’s going on. I gave him my whole disclaimer thing and we’re fine.”
SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT: With “Scream 4” on track for a June production start – remember, this one will have Wes Craven back directing, in addition to Courteney Cox and David Arquette and Neve Campbell – word is going out that the team is working on lining up well-known faces for cameo appearances. Meanwhile, they’re rounding out subsidiary roles of lawmen and kids for the flick set to roll in Michigan.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster