It's a strange week to talk to "Scream" veteran David Arquette. Even with the fourth installment of his hugely successful horror franchise landing in theaters tonight, the big news seems to be Arquette's likely divorce with wife and "Scream" co-star Courteney Cox -- or, more specifically, their startling joint appearance on The Howard Stern Show.
But call us movie nerds -- we're not immune to celeb gossip, but when we had a few minutes alone with Arquette, all we wanted to talk about was... well, his movie.
So leave the drama for your mama and check out Arquette's dream to one day don the Ghostface mask, his love for flying monkeys and -- obviously -- his favorite scary movie.
The core cast remains the same in "Scream 4" -- that's you, Courteney and Neve Campbell -- but there's a whole stable of young, pretty people in this installment. Was that a deliberate attempt to young up the movie, maybe transition to a hip, new cast?
There was definitely a method in bringing it back to the roots of what "Scream" originally was -- bringing it back to the hometown, me being in the uniform again as Sheriff Dewey now, having the original cast there but then another group of characters that represented the younger group of kids in the first film. I think it did bring it back to a high school mentality.
I think there's a lot of kind of pop culture references they're able to draw from.
One of the things that made the original movie so groundbreaking was its ability to satirize and be a horror film simultaneously. Of course, one of the most ridiculous aspects of horror movies is their tendency to have a million sequels. Is that something Wes Craven can harness to good effect, or is there a natural stopping point for "Scream?"
You know, to me, "Scream" always works the best when you really balance the fact that this could actually be happening. Like you believe these characters and there's a little nod and a little wink at being self referential toward pop culture, what's going on, a sort of snide or catty sense of humor.
My fear is that they just kind of start spitting them out -- then it's not developed enough and not thought through enough. I do know that Kevin Williamson did have an idea for a three-film arc, so that's a really good starting point.
Did you open the new "Scream" script and hope you were getting killed off, just the tiniest bit -- not because you've lost enthusiasm for the project but because, at this point, it would be such a shock to kill Dewey?
Not necessarily. I really love doing these films, so I don't want to die off, but do like those twists and surprises at the beginning of films, as ["Scream"] often has.
I really love the beginning of "Scream 4." This movie, in general, is my favorite sequel of the series. I just think it's most like the original and found the right tone. Whenever... you deviate from that tone, you can feel it land flat with the audience, so it's good when it gets the tone right. I don't know -- if it served the project to be killed off in the beginning of one of them, that would be exciting.
I would also like to be the killer.
At the risk of repeating a question you've heard before... what's your favorite scary movie?
A thriller-like scary film that's in my top three or so, maybe even one of my favorites ever, was "Black Swan." I just thought that was so well done. Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors. I think he just did a great job. I love "Se7en," I love "The Shining." All three of those are really great films.
Favorite non-scary movie?
I like the movie called "Funny Bones," it's a really odd, odd film, a small film. I like "The Wizard of Oz," it's probably one of my favorite films. I love the flying monkeys.
[My daughter] Coco is doing the play right now, and she was hoping to get the part of Dorothy. I said, "Coco what part did you get?" and she said, "Well, I got two parts, I'm part of the The Lullaby League, and I'm a flying monkey."
I said "Coco, those are my two favorite parts in the whole thing, I mean the greatest."