Interview: David Arquette on Wrestling, Redemption and Scream Survival; “I really wanted to find that balance between what is human and what is my personal struggle.”

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The documentation You can’t kill David Arquette (read our review here) presents the title actor in a way that many viewers will be unprepared for. Open up to the very masses who put him to shame in his attempt to infiltrate the world of wrestling, David Arquette‘s personal and professional struggles are central to the film, which shows an unconstrained look at his transition from actor to athlete.

Coinciding with the film’s digital and streaming release, Peter Gray spoke to the actor about the vulnerable process of documenting this aspect of his life, how difficult it was to give up control, and how special a place is Scream has grown dear to him.

As a Scream Fan, it’s quite a coup to be able to talk to you and a movie like this (You can’t kill David Arquette) which is so raw and honest in a way that I don’t think many actors would be brave enough to entertain. What was the motivation to document this part of your life?

My wife was instrumental in the documentation (to be honest). I felt uncomfortable with a lot (material), but I understood why they were telling this story and I allowed them to shoot it … but when it came to putting it into the film there was some discussion. I was pretty much thrown out of the editing room (laughs). I wanted to make a film that was insightful, honest, and vulnerable. I think we succeeded.

I wanted to ask about the editing process. Did you want to stay on board to see how it all comes together?

Little bit. David Darg (one of the directors) was amazing and we had great editors. There has been a lot of giving up your power throughout this process. Many allow other wrestlers to beat you up. Inviting people to some intimate personal experiences.

I honestly don’t think you disregarded WCW in any way. To me, the film shows the fact that you were essentially collateral damage to a decision that was out of your control. You can tell that you love this sport and I can only imagine how hurtful that reaction was. Was there a sense of redemption in the eyes of those who took it so personally?

Yeah, that’s literally why I did it. Someone had written a review and hated my title run and they said I had redeemed myself. I told them it was like winning an Oscar. I just wanted to go back (to wrestling) without being spat on.

The training aspect in the film is hardcore, but in 2000 with that ready to rumble PhD did you have classes? Or did they just throw you in the ring?

They gave me a few lessons, but for the most part, I was just thrown into it. Chris Kanyon and Gregory Helms really taught me a few things, but wrestling is a very complicated, very detailed sport. It takes a lot of training and all the time preparing your body for impact. If you take a week off from wrestling, your back will sag or your neck will sag and you just need to learn all of these things to prepare your body for the impact.

How is your own fitness and body since the making of this film?

It was hard. It was hard on the body and yet there is some release of old injuries. It made me pay more attention to my training and take care of my body again. If you can take the time to stretch, meditate, or do yoga, this is for you. I just don’t meditate as much as I can. Wrestlers are athletes, however, and you have to train like an athlete, eat like an athlete, think like an athlete … you get a little animalistic in a way.

When it came to your appearance as a “character,” you have the robes and the theatrics … how was the process in creating that persona?

It was great. When you dive into this whole world and start realizing your character, one of the most important things you realize is that you can slow down time. I know that sounds weird, but one of the most important things you learn as a wrestler is being in the moment and being in the moment. When you are not in the moment where you are speeding everything up … there are all of these things that you naturally want to do and that you need to overcome.

As much as the film is about wrestling, it is honest about your career. You have the involvement of your wife and Courteney Cox, how was the conversation when discussing how sincere you wanted to be?

By letting a film crew in, you are really opening up to reveal yourself. You can work around (the truth) and stop people from asking certain questions, but that’s not honest. In doing something about myself, I really wanted to find that balance between what is human and what is my personal struggle. Life has taught me not to care too much about certain things, especially my body or my struggles. I’ve always been an over-sharer (laughs). I give my opinion and I don’t like liars. If you can be honest and open, I think it makes great television.

The title obviously plays on your stamina through the sport and the clearing of your name, but then you have that Scream Series what you arguably best known for and you just keep surviving those movies! What was it like to go back to these movies in such a long time and for the first time without Wes Craven?

Oh man, it was really sad without Wes. However, it was cathartic. It felt very healing in some ways. This guy touched my life and made an impression as a person and as a director. He really influenced my life. But I love playing the role of Dewey, it’s one of my favorite things to do. You usually don’t get the chance to play a character for that long. The directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) were inspired by Wes, they loved his movies when they were younger, and got horror-stricken by directors like Wes so they really wanted to pay homage and something he loved from above would.

You can’t kill David Arquette is now available on digital platforms.


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