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Brave New World

Warcraft star Paula Patton enters unfamiliar territory both on-screen and off.

DOWN TO EARTH
Patton’s new film, Warcraft, premieres June 10.

Playing the half-orc, half-human assassin Garona in the larger-than-life film version of Warcraft, Paula Patton felt she was plunging into the unknown. “Honestly, it was probably one of the most challenging characters I’ve ever played,” she says. “I really wanted to delve into the fact that she’s only half human. What does that mean?” In the orc world, Garona has risen to power from oppression, but when she finds herself in the human world, she feels like a fish out of water. It’s not a feeling Patton is entirely unfamiliar with.

After her nearly decadelong marriage to musician Robin Thicke ended last year, the actress also needed to find her footing. “For so long, you can be on one road on this journey in your life, and then something happens, and you reach a really, really significant turn,” she says. “You don’t want to say it’s a brand-new start or anything like that. It’s not even a new chapter. It’s a book. It’s Volume 2, and we’re in a whole new world.” And that’s not a bad thing, according to Patton. The ebullient actress is embracing the unexpected; throwing out five-year plans; and focusing all her energy on living in the now and her adorable son, Julian. “I think that’s the great thing about having a child. When I’m with him, there is no space and time. We’re just playing. We’re in this moment,” she says. “And life should be like that for adults.”

These days Patton is trying to approach everything with childlike wonder, and that includes dating adventures. “People say dating is terrible, but I kind of like dating. All the people I meet educate me in ways that I never thought of before,” she explains. “You share stories; you learn things; and you think about things in new ways. They don’t have to turn out to be the one.”

PATTON'S HOTS
Swimming at night, going to the farmers market with my kid, boxing, love in all forms—even if it’s short-term

PATTON'S NOTS
Elitism, discrimination, greed, Brussels sprouts