“Bozo is my hero,” said David Arquette on a chilly Sunday morning as he sprayed a red frisbee-sized circle on a brick wall of a warehouse in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. “We want to let this clown out.”
Mr. Arquette, 50, who used to walk with a graffiti art crew in Los Angeles, was dressed a bit clown himself, wearing a bozo trucker cap, Mickey Mouse vans, and white jeans with pink wrestling tights with tiger stripes. put the finishing touches to a two-meter version of Bozo the Clown.
Today Bozo is not only Mr. Arquette’s muse, but also his business. Earlier this year, Mr. Arquette, the youngest member of the Arquette actor clan, secured the rights to what was once known as “the world’s most famous clown” from the estate of Larry Harmon, who popularized the character .
“We have to help rehabilitate the picture of a clown first,” said Arquette, stepping back from his painting and pursing his lips in appreciation. âI want to help bring back friendly clowns and change the discourse. You know, help people understand that being silly is cool. “
In his view, clowns were wrongly slandered. “There are a lot of negative stories,” said Mr Arquette. âThere was ‘Poltergeist’. There was Stephen King and ‘It’. That was a real problem. And then the Joker and Krusty the clown. “
âClowns,â he added, âare a reflection of society. And right now the creepy clown is where we are, so to speak. “
He’d love to get Bozo back on TV. Various children’s television programs with the clown in the red wigs ran for decades. For a moment, he almost managed to bring Bozo to life at Empire Circus, a new interactive carnival adventure slated to open in the Empire Stores in Brooklyn this month before it was put on hold by supply chain disruptions.
In a way, Mr. Arquette sees himself as a friendly clown Test Case # 1. “All of my humor comes from being the butt of the joke,” he said. “All of my mistakes and my things.”
In the 1990s he found himself in the celebrity circus thanks to his scene-taking roles as Dewey Riley, the charming, if quirky, second-in-command in the slasher film series “Scream” and his off-camera role as the charming, if quirky husband of him “Scream” co-star Courteney Cox.
Untidy, awkward, and assignable to anyone, he was the perfect anti-Hollywood mascot for Generation X.
Or maybe he was a little bit too Gen X. Mr. Arquette partied with the devotion of a Seattle rocker, battling alcohol abuse, making headlines with drunk intoxication, and seeing his divorce on the tabloids before embarking on a second career as a professional wrestler. a move that may have damaged his reputation in both professions.
But now he’s back – maybe. In January, Mr. Arquette warms up his Dewey character in the 25th anniversary reboot of “Scream,” which also pits Ms. Cox (they are now divorced) and another original cast member, Neve Campbell, against a new ghost face for the Killer Generation Z.
Remarried, sober, and leading a quiet life in Nashville, he hopes to fuel a film career that has been mostly limited to small roles and voice-over work. And this time, said Mr Arquette, he was emotionally ready to deal with it.
As the youngest brother of five siblings in a fourth generation acting family, which also included his sisters Rosanna (“Desperately Seeking Susan”) and Patricia (“True Romance”), he had an ambivalent attitude towards joining the family business: “Me always felt, “Uh, my sisters do it, my dad does it. I don’t know if I have talent.”
One way that seemed open was to play the bullshit and eventually become famous as the eccentric eccentric in the “Scream” films, which were themselves highly meta-sendups of the slasher films of the 80s.
Looking back, he said he was emotionally unprepared for the glamor of Hollywood. âI’m socially awkward,â said Mr Arquette, âso I always got into a situation, dressed very conspicuously and said, ‘Okay, look at me, talk about me, look at me.’ Or I would drink to be rude or different. They were coping mechanisms. “
His foray into wrestling was his outrageous move of all.
It wasn’t insincere. Mr. Arquette was a lifelong fan who had a dream come true after starring in Ready to Rumble, a wrestling comedy from 2000, which really gave me a lot of joy, “he says.
Wrestling fans were reluctant, however, when the wrestling world champion anointed him with the heavyweight title in 2000. His Hollywood agents were also reluctant.
As the acting roles began to dry up, he struggled with fear and addiction, as he told in the 2020 Warts-and-all documentary about his wrestling career “You Cannot Kill David Arquette”.
The bottom line came when a wrestler named Nick Gage accidentally poked Mr. Arquette in the neck with a broken fluorescent tube in a match in 2018, made him gush blood and called his friend Luke Perry, who was at the ring, to ask if he died.
Since then his life has calmed down a bit. Mr. Arquette lives with his new wife, Christina McLarty Arquette, a film producer and former Entertainment Tonight correspondent, and their two children Charlie, 7 and Gus, 4.
After finishing spraying Bozo (with the builder’s permission), Mr Arquette strolled through the graffiti-covered neighborhood and paused to admire the street art.
“I haven’t seen anyone, I don’t go out anymore,” said Mr. Arquette, stopping at a lamp post to put a sticker for the upcoming “Scream”. “I mean, if you don’t drink and don’t want to meet girls, there’s nothing out there.”
The restart meant working with his ex-wife again. “I mean, we’re co-parents so we see each other a lot,” said Arquette, referring to her 17-year-old daughter, Coco. âBut when you’re working with someone you’ve had some history with, there’s a built-in, natural one – it doesn’t act at that point. You really really experience emotions and life. “