David Arquette on His Return to Wrestling, ‘Scream 5,’ and the Loss of Luke Perry
David Arquette is best known for playing goofy but lovable characters in the “Scream” series, “Never Been Kissed” and “See Spot Run,” but he is also a wrestling champion, a fact that was forgotten by most of the public, until recently. However, many hardcore wrestling fans consider his winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000, a publicity stunt for his film “Ready to Rumble,” to be one of the more disappointing moments in the history of the sport.
But Arquette, a lifelong wrestling fan, never wanted to be a joke in that world, and after years of being trolled, he announced his return to professional wrestling in 2018. Filmmakers David Darg and Price James were there to chronicle his journey to become a wrestler in earnest, and the result is the surprisingly heartening documentary “You Cannot Kill David Arquette.”
Arquette spoke with Entertainment Voice about his journey and the documentary, and opened up about his support system that includes his wife, Christina McLarty Arquette, a producer on the film, as well as his former wife, Courteney Cox. He also spoke about his hopes for the upcoming “Scream 5,” the first in the franchise that is to be made after the death of director Wes Craven.
What led you to open up your life to filmmakers David Darg and Price James? They told me that you and your family gave them full access.
I love documentaries, and typically when there is a documentary I love, the subject is very open, very vulnerable, very accessible, so I wanted to be all those things. I don’t really have anything to hide, so just sort of running around and allowing them to shoot my life was just kind of how I do business anyway. I’m pretty much an open book.
Early on in your wrestling career you were involved in the more theatrical style of wrestling, but here we see you really go for it in backyard matches, independent matches, and even one match on the street in Mexico. What goes through your head when you’re attempting some of those more dangerous moves?
There’s a danger element, but typically you get such adrenaline from performing that it doesn’t hurt quite as bad, but it hurts. It hurts a lot. Wrestling is a very painful sport… We wanted to start from the bottom and build our way up and see into these different worlds of wrestling, get into the independent circuit and just kind of know what I’m doing. And that’s what really it was about, learning, growing, and discovering stuff about wrestling, about myself.
You have a great support system around you, including your wife Christina, your siblings Patricia, Rosanna and Richmond, your children, and your former wife Courteney Cox. How important was it for you to have them all on board?
It was just really sweet that my family came around and supported me and were a part of this. I really couldn’t have done it without any of them, especially my wife Christina. She’s the one who deserves the championship belt at the end of this whole thing. She’s the main producer on it, she had so much incredible insight throughout it to make it a better film. To balance her being scared for my life with making sure we had the releases signed, she is really my hero.
It was really funny to watch your daughter Coco, because she starts off as a typical teenager who is embarrassed of her dad, but then she really gets into cheering for you by the end. What was it like for you to see her come around like that?
That’s the main thing, when you have a teenage daughter, you just don’t want to embarrass them all the time. I was really happy to hear that she wasn’t embarrassed throughout the whole process. That was really nice to learn.
If any of your kids came to you and said, “Dad, I want to go into wrestling,” would you be supportive?
It’s such a painful sport that I would definitely try to deter them, but it’s also something that if they love it, you definitely can’t stop them. Whenever anyone asks me about acting, I’m like, “Get ready for extreme rejection and being self-critical and all of these things you have to deal with.”
What do you see happening next with wrestling in a post-Covid world?
Well, wrestling is doing really great. They’ve been able to continue. I want to see the fans back. You can see how important fans are to sports. It’s not the same without the fans. It’s pretty much all about the fans, when it comes down to it. That’ll be exciting. I think wrestling’s in a great place.
I hope to see some of the older wrestlers, or even some of the younger ones, transition into Hollywood more. That’s what I’d really like to see. Hollywood giving them more chances to be in movies, and acting and performing. There are so many talented people in the wrestling world. To just say they’re wrestlers and not give them other shots is just narrow-minded, in my opinion.
We’ve seen wrestlers like the Rock, John Cena and Dave Bautista cross over into acting in Hollywood films. Who’s your favorite wrestler or wrestler who is also an actor at the moment?
Bianca Belair is an amazing wrestler right now. Sasha Banks is an amazing wrestler right now. As far as the actors, my favorite of all time was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. He was the best as far as making the transition into acting and being the best bad guy in wrestling.
David and Price were also saying that because you got in such great shape during your journey, you should do an action film next. Would you ever want to play a superhero?
When you’re in those worlds, you become part of this whole storytelling world that’s just an interesting thing to be a part of. A lot of my feelings about certain things, and not being taken seriously, a lot of that has to do with these cliques. There are these little cliques in Hollywood. There’s cliques in life, there’s cliques in everything. I’ve learned that it’s important just to do your own thing, believe in yourself, figure out what projects and what kind of things you want to do and focus all your energy on that rather than trying to get something like –– I don’t know, it’d be great to be part of the Marvel Universe or the Star Wars Universe, but I’m not going to wait around for it. I’m going to go after something if something comes up, or create my own versions. Writing and producing is what I’m interested in now.
We see Luke Perry in a pivotal scene in which you go to the hospital, and then at the end, we see you wrestling with his son Jack. What does it mean to you to have this film be dedicated to Luke’s memory and have his son in the film?
Luke’s just a member of our family. We loved him very much. It was a huge loss for us… I’m glad we got to have the time we spent together before he passed. But being able to wrestle Jack Perry was one of my favorite wrestling matches that I did. He’s such an incredible wrestler, and he’s just going to be a movie star. I know that kid’s going to be huge.
The film also deals with aging in Hollywood, particularly as it pertains to men. Do you want to see more conversations about this topic?
I guess so. It would be great to see if we deconstruct some of these false opinions we’ve had throughout all of these years. That’s part of the reason why I’m opening myself up. We all have our stuff. We all have our issues. We all have that side of our life. The more we start understanding each other, I think the more the world will be what we hope it to be.
I have to ask you about “Scream 5.” You’ve made it this far without having your character killed off. What are your hopes for Officer Dewey this time around?
I’m just excited that he’ll be back and I’ll be working with Courteney, and that we’ll be carrying on Wes’s legacy. I think we’re in really good hands with these directors. They’re really talented. I just really hope Neve Campbell comes on board, because that’s what we have our fingers crossed about.
Do you have any other films coming up that you want to talk about?
There’s just a bunch. I have “The Jackie Ryan Story” coming out soon, “The MisEducation of Bindu,” “Kiss the Ground,” a documentary, “Heartland,” another film, “Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets.” I got a bunch of stuff, but I don’t know when they’re all coming out. “Bones” is another one. I did a bunch of films that for some reason are all coming out around the same time, which is really awkward. It just is what it is, I guess.
How have you and your family been holding up during lockdown?
It’s hard for everyone. It’s really a wild time. It’s really hard with a three-year-old and a six-year-old. That’s been difficult, but my wife and my mother-in-law have been really incredible. You have to be everythin; you have to be teachers, parents. I always thought I was like a cruise director where I’m just like, “Okay, here’s the next activity.”
“You Cannot Kill David Arquette” releases Aug. 28 on VOD and in drive-in theaters.