Terminator 2 star Robert Patrick on his first-ever naked moment being witnessed by a train packed with people

Imagine you were gearing up for your first-ever nude scene in a film that would go on to become legendary - but just as the cameras began rolling and you dropped your robe, a train full of passengers rolled past, gawking at you in all your glory. 

Actor Robert Patrick doesn't have to - that was the reality for the 65-year-old, way back in 1990 when he was filming the iconic action movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day at the LA River in California with New Zealand-based director James Cameron. 

"I was standing out there in all my glory. It was beautiful. I'm sure that the passengers enjoyed the view," he cackles down the phone to Newshub from his California hideout. 

"When you looked as good as I did, you're really confident," he jokes. 

Patrick is a bona fide Hollywood legend.  

With hundreds of screen credits to his name, and appearances in TV shows like The X-Files, The Sopranos and Peacemaker to mention but three, chances are you will have seen him on the small or silver screen at some point over the last four decades. 

He is heading to New Zealand next month to attend the winter edition of the Armageddon Expo in Auckland, and to take part in an exclusive screening at Wellington's Roxy Cinema of the film that effectively launched his career - Terminator 2: Judgment Day

"Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger is known as The Terminator, Robert Patrick is known as The Terminator. It's the biggest movie for both our careers," he says proudly. 

"I'm so excited about New Zealand. I love New Zealand. The sci-fi fans are wonderful; they are almost like soccer fans, you know? They're fanatical. Love seeing them. Love hearing about where and when they saw my movies. I love to be able to interact with them and hear it.  

"It's a delayed gratification, you know, because unlike doing a show on Broadway or something, we can walk out and get the immediate reaction from the fans - but because I make movies and TV, I don't really get to see how it affects them. I'm really grateful and thankful for all their support of my career over the years." 

Patrick's no stranger to these shores. In 2006, he filmed Bridge to Terabithia in and around Auckland, a job which clearly made a lasting impression on him he tells Newshub. 

Robert Patrick has predominantly played villains.
Robert Patrick has predominantly played villains. Photo credit: Getty Images

"When we were making that movie, I had my entire family come over and spend some time in Auckland and everybody enjoyed it. New Zealand is gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I think my kids went up and saw Hobbit Land - I don't even know if that existed then, but I think they went and saw some of the locations for the Lord of the Rings and all that. 

"New Zealand is a magical place, man. Magical place." 

However, Patrick's not sure whether he will catch up with T2's director James Cameron, who's based in the Wairarapa. When it's suggested the two appearing on stage together in Wellington would be an incredible moment to reflect on the film's success, he confesses to Newshub he hasn't spoken to him in a while. 

"It's a monumental testament to James Cameron, his vision, his ability to predict the future. I think a lot of what's going on in that movie is now happening around the world. It was the first motion capture CGI in the history of film. It's something I'm very, very proud to be a part of." 

Robert Patrick as Agent John Doggett in The X-Files.
Robert Patrick as Agent John Doggett in The X-Files. Photo credit: Getty Images

While Patrick's predominantly known for hard-men roles and villains (he was recently the antagonist on the second season of Prime Video's Reacher), there's one role where he played against type - and one which he tells Newshub is "very, very dear" to his heart. 

"My favourite character I ever played was on [TV show] The X-Files - Agent John Doggett. It was one of the quintessential best leading man type roles I've ever done, and I think ever written for television. He was a wonderful, wonderful character. He came in there and all he wanted to do was protect Scully and find Mulder, and he had a genuine heart. 

"He was so well-written. I loved that character so much. I tell you what, if I had played John Doggett for the rest of my career, I would have been happy."  

Sadly, Doggett only appeared in the The X Files' final two seasons before the show was cancelled in May 2002. 

Robert Patrick's most iconic role is as The Terminator, the T-1000.
Robert Patrick's most iconic role is as the Terminator, the T-1000. Photo credit: StudioCanal

Despite his career taking off in the 1990s - and dabbling in acting as a boy in the late 1960s - it wasn't until a life-threatening boat accident in 1984 that he knew he had to follow his heart. 

"When I realised I could really start to pursue that as a career, it was almost very late in my life. Not very late, but later in my life, after I'd failed at some other things and kind of in a desperate attempt, I was really scrambling around literally in a lake, but also figuratively, in my life. I think God really directed me, and I think that was what the boat accident actually was. Something that really pushed me towards pursuing the career." 

Patrick's still acting, but his secondary passion now is Harley Davidson motorbikes. He owns a dealership in Santa Clarita in California and is in the middle of a big sale when he speaks to Newshub. 

"I was born in 1958. I grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia. All the cool guys had Harley Davidsons, and I wanted to be a cool guy, that's for sure," he cackles.  

"I have the brand. I have the trademark tattooed on my body. I love it, and when I'm not acting, I'm riding. It's a spiritual journey. It's a meditative retreat. It's a way to relax. It's how I enjoy my free time - it's a state of consciousness that you cannot achieve unless you're on two wheels riding.  Acting is my number one passion, but Harley Davidson for sure is my second favourite passion." 

While Patrick is trying to find funding to make a documentary for IMAX about riding, he's about to set off on a five-week ride across America before heading to Aotearoa for his Armageddon appearance. 

Asked if he ever thought he'd still be talking about the role some 33 years on, Patrick's humble at the enduring appeal of the blockbuster film. 

"I love the character of the T-1000. I gave it everything I had. I feel very, very fortunate that I was selected to play that part. And, all these years later, I'm super, super proud that people acknowledge all the hard work that was involved with that, for all of us that were involved with bringing that character to life," he shyly admits. 

As the interview wraps up, Newshub tells Patrick about the impact the T-1000 villain has had on so many others.  

A Redditor revealed recently he had watched the film before seeing him on a TV talk show, but had ended up "crying seriously because I thought he was going to kill the interviewer, T-1000 style". 

Patrick laughs long and heartily at the tale, before saying: "That's awesome. I love that. 

"But thank God I didn't though, right?" 

Robert Patrick will be at Auckland's Armageddon Expo from June 14 - June 16; and at Wellington's Roxy Cinema on June 17.