Patricia Arquette and Matt Dillon Talk Apple TV+'s 'High Desert'
Moviefone speaks with Patricia Arquette and Matt Dillon about 'High Desert.' "I liked how she was so fast moving," Arquette said of her character.
Premiering on Apple TV+ beginning May 17th is the new series ‘High Desert,’ which was created and written by Nancy Fichman (‘Damages’), Katie Ford (‘Miss Congeniality’) and Jennifer Hoppe-House (‘Nurse Jackie’), and directed by Jay Roach (‘Bombshell’).
What is the plot of ‘High Desert?’
‘High Desert’ follows Peggy (Patricia Arquette), an on-again-off-again addict who decides to make a new start after the death of her beloved mother, with whom she lived in the small desert town of Yucca Valley, California, and makes a life-changing decision to become a private investigator.
Meanwhile, Peggy is also dealing with her ex, Denny (Matt Dillon) who is an undeniably charming parolee and a relentless operator, Guru Bob (Rupert Friend), a local ex-anchorman who rebrands himself as a mystic desert personality, Carol (Weruche Opia) who is Peggy’s closest friend, and Bruce (Brad Garrett), a private investigator whose business is circling the drain and who becomes Peggy’s reluctant employer.
Who is in the cast of ‘High Desert?’
'High Desert' stars Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette ('Boyhood') as Peggy, Matt Dillon ('There's Something About Mary') as Denny, Rupert Friend ('Obi-Wan Kenobi') as Guru Bob, Weruche Opia ('When Love Happens') as Carol, Brad Garrett ('Ratatouille') as Bruce, Bernadette Peters ('The Jerk') as Rosalyn, Christine Taylor ('Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story') as Dianne, Carmine Giovinazzo ('Black Hawk Down') as Nick Gatchi, Carlo Rota ('Saw V') as Arman, Jeffrey Vincent Parise ('The Chumscrubber') as Roger, Tracy Vilar ('Double Jeopardy') as Tina, Keir O'Donnell ('American Sniper') as Stewart, Susan Park ('Always Be My Maybe') as Tammy.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Patricia Arquette and Matt Dillon about their work on ‘High Desert,’ how they got involved with the project, the aspects of their characters that they were excited to explore on screen, Peggy’s unique sense of right and wrong, and Peggy and Denny’s relationship.
You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Arquette, Dillon, Bernadette Peters, Christine Taylor, Keir O'Donnell, Weruche Opia, Rupert Friend, and director Jay Roach.
Moviefone: To begin with, Patricia, how did you become involved in this project?
Patricia Arquette: The writer producers came to me many years ago now with a version of this script, and I really loved elements of it. I loved their voice. It was very funny, the three of them, how they wrote it, and it was inspired by one of them, Nancy Fishman's sister Marjorie, who'd been an addict and got sober and then slipped off the wagon again. At one point she had said, "You know what? I'm going to be a PI." Nancy thought, “Wow, okay. That's kind of the sanest thing you've ever said. You'd be a great PI, actually.” But unfortunately, Marjorie has passed away, and I think this is part of the homage to her spirit, her beautiful heart, her wildness, and an imagined journey if Peggy could have been a PI.
MF: Matt, what were some of the aspects of your character that you were excited to explore in this series?
Matt Dillon: Well, Denny's complicated. He's a manipulator. He's funny. He's got this spiritual side to him that he really, truly believes in. But he's a criminal, and he's always been that way. He's loyal. He's very much in love with Peggy, and yeah, he's a man of many contradictions.
Related Article: 'Severance' Interview: Patricia Arquette Talks Apple TV+ Series
MF: Patricia, can you talk about your approach to playing Peggy?
PA: Well, again, a lot of it came from the writing. The writers were just hilarious in what they were writing. Again, I think it was this kind of love letter to her sister Marjorie. Then there were elements of it that reminded me of my sister, Alexis. She was always collecting these broken bird people, taking care of them. It's like, "Wait a minute. You can't even take care of yourself. Now you're going to help this guy who's getting a divorce, who's got a broken heart, and then this other person, with their thing, and the girl with her fake boobs? What's going on here?" So I just kind of like the whole journey. I liked how she was so fast moving and it was the opposite of ‘Severance.’ It's very wild and it's very kinetic. It's very unstructured, where ‘Severance’ is a pressure cooker, kind of uncomfortable, strict structure. So there was a lot of things I loved.
MF: Peggy has a very unique sense of what is right and wrong, can you talk about that aspect of the character?
PA: We both do. That's the weird thing too. They have their own kind of moral code that they've created. She'll say that she's sober and she means it, and then she'll be like, "Well, that doesn't include acid because that's a spiritual thing, and this is for some other thing." She's got a million little reasons, and that can happen with addicts.
MF: Matt, how would you describe Denny and Peggy’s relationship?
MD: I think they were written with love. They're damaged people, but you got that feeling from Nancy and the showrunners, that they really loved Peggy. The character is very close to Nancy’s sister in real life, as was Denny because Denny was in Peggy's life. It was based on real people. But I do think, just to the point about burning out, I think what's great about Peggy and Denny is that they're so resourceful. You know what I mean? “Okay, this isn't going to work out, but I got another idea”. They don't always agree, but they love each other so much that they're not really polite to each other.
MF: Finally, Patricia, what is your take on Peggy and Denny’s relationship?
PA: I think we all have known addicts that were beautiful people and interesting, fascinating, knew these great things, had these talents and this mortal flaw, and they're like these bright flames that burn very quickly and they burn out. So I do feel this whole show was written with incredible love. He pretends he is going along with her, but then he does whatever the hell he wants. He's the only person that can out-hustle Peggy.
Movies Similar to ‘High Desert:’
- 'The Maltese Falcon' (1941)
- 'The Long Goodbye' (1973)
- 'Night Moves' (1975)
- 'The Last Boy Scout' (1991)
- 'True Romance' (1993)
- 'Flirting with Disaster' (1996)
- 'There's Something About Mary' (1998)
- 'Crash' (2005)
- 'Takers' (2010)
- ‘Boyhood' (2014)
- 'Inherent Vice' (2015)
- 'The Nice Guys' (2016)