David Arquette Calls the Movie a "Rebirth of A Franchise"

Back in October 2020, I got the opportunity to participate in a virtual set visit for the new Scream movie while filming was underway. We already shared the conversation with directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, executive producer Chad Villella and producer William Sherak of Project X Entertainment, but now that the trailer is finally out, it’s time to put the spotlight on the cast, beginning with Dewey Riley himself, David Arquette.

Dewey’s gone through a whole lot over the years, barely surviving both Scream and Scream 2, navigating his relationship with Gale (Courteney Cox) and just being a sheer force while protecting the town of Woodsboro, friends and loved ones from Ghostface. So what's next for Dewey in Scream 2022? Arquette couldn’t reveal any plot details during our virtual group interview, but he was able to offer some insight into the production process and share his thoughts on why Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are the ideal leaders for this new film and why Scream 2022’s young ensemble gives him faith.

Check out our full group chat with Arquette below and be sure to keep an eye out for more Scream conversations with Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid and more coming soon!

What does it feel like to be back on set for Scream 5?

DAVID ARQUETTE: There are not a lot of films that me as an actor have been a part of that span 24 years — 25 by the time it comes out — so it's been really interesting. It's incredibly sad not having Wes here. It's definitely an interesting experience. It's bringing up a lot of emotions. I’m listening to a lot of songs that I listened to during the first film, and even the last film. There's an element of me watching sort of my life flash by in 24 years. Especially the fact that I'm working with this incredible cast and there's so many tremendous actors, and to see them and to sort of see me in them when I was younger is really kind of an interesting experience that I never quite had on a film before.

What do you think it is about this franchise and Scream that has kept you and the original cast, really involved? Because like you said, it rarely happens and it's been almost 25 years.

ARQUETTE: I think really it goes back to Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven. They made a film that really changed people's opinions and sort of opened up this new world of going beyond just the film to talking about pop culture and having an understanding of the audience that's watching. I believe it was a game changer in a way that it really kind of took a turn in a new direction of storytelling for this series.

It's really exciting. This new version of Scream is going to be just building on all of that. We've learned so much within the last 10 years and technology has advanced so much that it's turning it up even more. And it's my belief that the audience and filmmakers in general and the technology that they have to work with, the tools that they have is also expanding and getting more creative. The internet and people talking on the internet and all of these elements are things that become aspects that Tyler and Matt, the directors, can draw from and include into this new world.

Can you tell us anything about what Dewey has been up to and where we're going to find him at the beginning of the movie?

ARQUETTE: No, I can’t. [Laughs] One of the exciting parts of this film is that, and one of the things I love, is when people go and sort of have a fresh experience and they can watch the previous four films and then see this new Scream and sort of have a fresh experience without any spoilers. So I wouldn't want to do anything like that. But what I can tell you is that Matt and Tyler, incredible directors that were inspired by Wes and want to honor Wes, and that the writers wrote an incredible script that really takes all of that into consideration, but also is kind of giving birth to this incredible new cast that are also just tremendous actors. I can't tell you how strange it is to be the older guy on the set just looking at these kids, because I still feel like a kid and then seeing them, I'm like, ‘Whoa!’ My daughter is two years younger than Jenna, and Jenna played my daughter in a film called Saving Flora, so it's this weird experience of kind of like watching my life flash by in multiple films.

Since it has been nearly a decade since Scream 4, was it fairly easy to step back into the role of Dewey? Did that come naturally or did you have to take a second?

ARQUETTE: There's been hard moments. I mean, it's definitely hard not having Wes here and having the crew that had done all the previous films. So that was really kind of, not painful but just emotional. But they have incredible filmmakers and the script is really exciting and scary, super scary, and it really does have a love for horror films and the Scream films that have come before it. But as far as playing the character, it's weird because I have played him for so long. There are certain things that I can just kind of go back into relatively easily.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us here. I was wondering if yourself, and Neve [Campbell], and Courtney kind of talked amongst yourselves as to whether you wanted to come back and do another one? Or was it sort of a completely, kind of independent decision?

ARQUETTE: That's tricky. Well, Courteney and I have a daughter together so we co-parent quite a bit and we’re talking all the time about stuff like that. We discussed reading the script and thoughts and feelings. So yeah, I was the first one to jump on board because I do love playing this character. I love horror films and I loved the script and I saw Ready or Not and was just blown away by what Tyler and Matt had done with that so I knew we were in good hands. But yeah, I've always really loved playing this character, so I was excited to play him again.

Obviously Small Town USA has changed a lot. Now we have two Latinos in the mix. The characters are evolving as well as what the town looks like now. Any comment on that?

ARQUETTE: I'm just really blown away by how talented this cast is. Melissa and Jenna specifically, just watching in awe of their ability as actresses. They're just tremendous. And really, it's exciting. It gives you faith. As sort of crazy and dark as the world feels sometimes, to see this young generation, it does give you faith in the future, and how talented and thoughtful they are about the environment and about certain aspects. They're not nearly as wild and crazy as I was when I was younger. The whole cast is really super talented. Just seeing them in scenes, seeing how quick their wit is. I have this theory that our brains are kind of like computers and I'm this old desktop here, first generation, and then they're like very fast, very quick, very witty and very talented. Oh, and Jack Quaid it’s funny; I knew Jack Quaid when he was a little kid, so now I'm seeing this grown up and such a quick wit and so funny and just such a big heart. It gives me faith, even in times like this.

Despite the COVID restrictions, are you still able to find time and ways to bond with the cast, particularly the newcomers?

ARQUETTE: Yeah, absolutely. They all play a lot of board games and card games and role-playing games and all these different games, and I'll come in and pop in once in a while. They're all really sweet, they’re like, ‘David,’ when I come in, but I also feel completely out of place. I'm like, ‘You kids have fun.’ [Laughs] I kind of feel like as if, my daughter, because they're all kind of close to her age, so I don't want to be the old guy at the party.

I saw you led an art class though with them, right?

ARQUETTE: I did, I did! I'm a certified Bob Ross instructor and just sort of as a bonding exercise and also just as a thank you, it's wonderful working with you, I wanted to do something special, so I got them all Bob Ross paint kits and then we all did an art class.

Were you able to work with Radio Silence much at the very beginning, especially having the ultimate knowhow when it comes to bringing Dewey to life on screen? Were you able to give your input as far as the pillars of the character that you really wanted this version to maintain?

ARQUETTE: Yeah. They definitely understood that this was Wes and Kevin Williamson's original characters that we have lived with. I directed some television and whenever you're a director on television, you go into a project where these actors have been playing these characters for, a lot of the times, several seasons, so you always have to trust them in knowing if the character would do this sort of thing, how they speak, how they would feel about certain things. So they were really thoughtful about that stuff. They were really inspired by Wes as a director, so I think they really want to do him justice and honor him, and I think this film's gonna do it in a wonderful new way. But it will always have the same sort of hallmarks of the original.

RELATED: You Can Rent the Original 'Scream' House on Airbnb and Get a Virtual Greeting from David Arquette

What has your experience been over the years with Ghostface in your real life?

ARQUETTE: Oh man, it's pretty funny. I did some Westerns and whenever you do a Western, you just feel like a kid again, because it's got horses and guns. It's kind of similar when you do the Scream movies! You're part of this world that I personally love. It's funny seeing the kids — I keep calling them kids, but the young adults, young actors — and then their connection to the films and then doing scenes with them and looking at them, we're in this world where this Ghostface lives and this town's haunted. It's funny to see them and see how excited they are and how much they love — they've been watching a bunch of horror films and really brushing up on older things and that was something Wes helped me with when I was directing my first horror film, to watch films that he had suggested. So it's really cool that they're sort of really in it and really, aside from just being tremendous actors, they're film fans. And I think that's something that connects us all.

Was there any film in particular that Wes recommended that really ingrained itself in you as far as you being a director and a horror fan in general?

ARQUETTE: High Tension was one of them, for sure. So that was what blew my mind because that, to me, was a really sort of progressive kind of new level kind of scary. But The Haunting, the original Haunting. He had me watch a lot of really interesting films. Suspiria. He just gave me a huge list. But he’d also give me funny things and, ‘Look at this for its campiness, and look at this,’ so I think they're doing a lot of research as well.

What has the feeling been on set with the restrictions and PPE? Did you get used to it quickly? What's it like for you?

ARQUETTE: No, it's pretty bizarre. It's all just such a strange experience everyone's going through and there's so much pain and sadness about it all. And a lot of loneliness. It's bizarre. It's really strange. We're in masks and then, you're pretty much looking at people's eyes most of the time unless you're filming. So it's bizarre. One of the main things is you usually come in and you introduce yourself to everybody and you meet people, but it's not the same thing. So I kind of feel like I haven’t even been able to bond with the crew in the typical way that I typically would. The cast a little more because we're all in the same sort of hotel and stuff, but there's huge disconnects and you can't really have visitors or anything like that, so there's some lonely aspects to it, for sure.

Is there anything Matt and Tyler have been able to do to help with that process and bring everyone together as much as they can?

ARQUETTE: Yeah, they've been incredible. We have a room that all the young actors sort of hang out [in] and can bond and play games and stuff like that. But, I don't know, it's been a unique experience for sure. But when it comes down to shooting and doing the scenes and everything, it feels like you're just right back in this world. They really have honored the history of it, so I think it's just going to be a new, exciting, scary, funny continuation and rebirth of a franchise.

There's been a fan theory floating around over the years that Dewey is actually the mastermind villain and behind all of it. He's always conveniently injured and is very quick to show up to the scene of the crime. Do you care to comment on that theory at all?

ARQUETTE: [Laughs] I can't comment on any theories and I love that people have such a connection to the film, that it's one of the kind of Mount Rushmore for characters now. It's really great to be a part of something that's become part of the pop culture lexicon. But as far as all that stuff goes, you’ll just have to see.

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Perri Nemiroff (2766 Articles Published)

Perri Nemiroff has been part of the Collider team since 2012. She co-hosts Collider FYC, The Witching Hour and hosts the interview series, Collider Ladies Night. Perri's a proud graduate of Columbia University's Film MFA program and member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Perri splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, but devotes every waking hour to her cat, Deputy Dewey.

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