David Arquette on the filming of the new “Scream” and Bozo the clown

“Bozo is my hero,” David Arquette said on a frosty Sunday morning as he spray painted a red circle the size of a Frisbee on a warehouse brick wall in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. “We want to let this clown out.”

Dressed a bit clownish himself in a Bozo trucker cap, Mickey Mouse-patterned Vans and white jeans with a pair of pink tiger-striped tights, Mr. Arquette, 50, who raced with a team of graffiti artists in Los Angeles, were putting the finishing touches on a six foot tall rendition of Bozo the Clown.

Bozo is not only Mr. Arquette’s muse these days, but his company as well. Earlier this year, Mr. Arquette, who is the youngest member of the Arquette actor clan, secured the rights to the character once billed as “the world’s most famous clown” from the estate of Larry Harmon, who popularized the character.

“We need to help rehabilitate the image of a clown first,” said Arquette, as he stepped back from his painting and pursed his lips in approval. “I want to help bring back nice clowns and change the talk. You know, help people understand that being a jerk is cool.

According to him, the clowns have been unfairly slandered. “There are a lot of negative stories,” said Mr. Arquette. “There was ‘Poltergeist’. There was Stephen King and “It”. It was a real problem. And then the Joker and Krusty the Clown.

“Clowns,” he added, “are a reflection of society. And right now the creepy clown is sort of where we are.

He would love to bring Bozo back to television. Various children’s television shows featuring the Red Wig Clown have gone on for decades. For a moment, he almost succeeded in bringing Bozo to life at Empire Circus, a new interactive carnival adventure set to open in the Empire Stores in Brooklyn this month, before chain disruptions of supply does not put it on the back burner.

In a sense, Mr. Arquette considers himself to be the No.1 test case for the nice clown. “All of my humor comes from being the butt of the joke,” he said. “All my flaws and my stuff.”

In the 1990s, he found himself in the celebrity circus, thanks to stage thief roles as Dewey Riley, the charming and eccentric deputy of the slasher movie franchise “Scream”, and his off-camera role. as the charming if eccentric husband of her “Scream” co-star Courteney Cox.

Sloppy, clumsy and accessible to everyone, he was the perfect anti-Hollywood mascot for Generation X.

Or maybe he was a little too Gen X. Partying with the abandonment of a Seattle rocker, Mr. Arquette battled alcohol abuse, made headlines with seizures. drunkenness and saw his divorce play out in the tabloids ahead of a second professional wrestling career, a move that may have tarnished his reputation in both professions.

But now he’s back, maybe. In January, Mr. Arquette warms up his character of Dewey in the 25th anniversary reboot of “Scream,” which also stars Ms. Cox (they are now divorced) and Neve Campbell, another original actor, taking on a new ghost face. killer for Gen Z.

Remarried, sober and living a quiet life in Nashville, he said he hoped to launch a film career that had largely boiled down to small roles and voiceover work. And this time, Mr. Arquette said, he’s emotionally equipped to handle it.

As the youngest brother of five siblings in a fourth-generation acting family that included his sisters Rosanna (“Desperately Seeking Susan”) and Patricia (“True Romance”), he felt ambivalent about the idea of joining the family business: “I’ve always felt like, ‘Uh, my sisters do it, my dad does it. I don’t know if I have talent.

One path that seemed open was to play the goof, eventually becoming the eccentric among the eccentrics of the “Scream” films, themselves highly meta-transmissions from the slasher films of the ’80s.

Looking back, he said he was not emotionally prepared for the Hollywood glare. “I’m uncomfortable in society,” Mr. Arquette said, “so I used to go into a situation and dress really flashy and say, ‘OK, look at me, talk about me, look at me ”. Or, I drank to be outrageous or different. They were coping mechanisms.

His detour through wrestling was his most scandalous move of all.

It was not in bad faith. Mr. Arquette was a longtime fan who was able to live a dream after his lead role in ‘Ready to Rumble,’ a 2000 wrestling comedy. “Just to see behind the curtain and learn some of the secrets of the trade, it was really a joy for me, ”he said.

However, wrestling fans bristled when World Championship Wrestling anointed him with the heavyweight title in 2000. His Hollywood agents also bristled.

As acting roles began to dry up, he struggled with anxiety and addiction, as he recounted in the warts and all 2020 documentary of his wrestling career, “You Cannot Kill David Arquette “.

The nadir happened when a wrestler named Nick Gage accidentally punctured Mr. Arquette in the neck with a broken fluorescent tube during a 2018 match, leaving him to spout blood and calling out his friend Luke Perry, who was sitting on the edge. from the ring, to ask him if he was dying.

Since then, his life has calmed down a bit. Mr. Arquette lives with his new wife, Christina McLarty Arquette, film producer and former Entertainment Tonight correspondent, and their two children, Charlie, 7, and Gus, 4.

After he finished spray painting Bozo (courtesy building owner), Mr. Arquette strolled through the graffiti covered neighborhood, stopping to admire the street art.

“I haven’t seen anyone, I don’t go out anymore,” said Mr. Arquette, stopping at a lamppost to apply a sticker for the next “Scream”. “I mean, if you’re not drinking and looking to meet girls, there’s nothing there.”

Making the reboot meant working with his ex-wife again. “I mean, we’re co-parents, so we see each other a lot,” Mr. Arquette said, referring to their 17-year-old daughter, Coco. “But when you work with someone you have a certain history with, there’s a natural element built in – they don’t act at that point. You really really live emotions and life.


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