Warning: major spoilers for Scream (2022)
It wouldn’t be Scream movie if Dwight ‘Dewey’ Riley hadn’t been stabbed at some point, right? David Arquette’s beloved cop character has starred in every entry in the film series, and got a dot in most of them — but this year Scream, the iconic character faced his last stand against Ghostface. Midway through the film, Dewey attempts to finish off (one of) the masked killers in a hospital showdown, only to be brutally eviscerated. With a knife in front and back at the same time, there was no way he would come back from it — and if it looked painful for the character, it was just as hard for the actor, who has lived with Dewey for 26 years.
“I haven’t talked about it much. It’s a very fresh wound,” admits Arquette Rich in a big new interview looking back at the iconic role. When he was given the script for the fifth Scream movie, little did he know it would be Dewey’s last ride. “They hadn’t given me any advance warning, so I thought [mimes thumbing through the script], ‘Wow, Dewey has some good stuff to play this time!’ And then: ‘Oh, that’s why!’ I had to put it away, I had to walk around and sort of process it. I understood where they came from in terms of gutting their audience. It was hard. It’s been such an ongoing film series, my whole life, 25 years of my life, so it was definitely deep.”
When the day came to film Dewey’s big moment, Arquette had to balance the practicalities of filming a big, gory death scene with his feelings about stepping into the role of the character for the last time. “That morning I got up, made myself some breakfast, then went to work and shot the scene,” he recalls. “I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. We spiced up the fight scene a bit because I’m a professional wrestler. We made it a little more intense. If you have a lot of action you get a little crushed, and if you have blood on you it just gets kind of sticky and uncomfortable the longer it goes on. So you have to come to a zen place so you don’t get angry. And I was still angry. So I just had to come to a real zen place, just breathe easy and know that this will be over soon. But it was emotional. I did, and I got in my car, drove home, washed off all the blood, and that was it. I packed a few things and then went on my way.”
Arquette also credited much of Dewey’s endearing qualities to legendary director Wes Craven, who directed the first four Scream Films before his death in 2015, with the fifth being directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. “Looking back, there was a lot of Wes involved,” he says. “Some of his humor and sweetness hung on Dewey. I think the loss of Wes has affected us all very much. He was a bit of an angel to me as far as keeping my character alive. And Matt and Tyler aren’t! Those are ghost faces!” Except that it was actually the film’s writers who were responsible for shaking Dewey off. “Then I’ll take it back! jamie [Vanderbilt] and guy [Busick]you are Ghostfaces!” Dewey Riley, RIP.
Read Rich‘s full interview with David Arquette – talks about his journey with the Scream Movies over the years – in the coming ones Jurassic World Dominion Edition available Thursday April 14th and available to pre-order online here. Scream is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital.