David Arquette ('The Tripper')
'Trippin' The Light Bloodtastic!'
WARNING: PLOT POINTS REVEALED!!!
The youngest of five, David Arquette was born in Virginia and is part of the illustrious Arquette family whose work has spread over many generations. Like siblings Rosanna Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Richmond Arquette and Alexis Arquette, David started working at an early age and his first major role came as Luke Perry's best friend in the hit film 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1992).
But his major break both personally and professionally didn't come until 1996 when he was cast in the slasher flick 'Scream' (1996) starring opposite close friend Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell and more importantly "Friends" (1994), with Courteney Cox who he married in San Francisco in the summer of 1999. 'Scream' (1996) earned worldwide success and acclaim as did Arquette for his role as lovable simple cop "Dewey".
Returning for both 'Scream 2' (1997) and 'Scream 3' (2000), and usually known for his goofiness in more mainstream roles, his greatest performances and reviews have come for his indie films such as 'Johns' (1996), 'Dream with the Fishes' (1997) and 'The Grey Zone' (2001).
And now he's back as a first time director of the new horror/slasher film 'The Tripper.' A van full of neo-hippies (including Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes, and the lovely Jaime King) head into the California woods to attend a retro-60s rock concert only to find themselves harassed by backwoods rednecks and hunted by a Ronald-Reagan-infatuated serial killer!
David, you once said that you came up with this idea whilst at an outdoor Reggae party a few years back. So I’m wondering whose party it was and what you were either drinking or smoking that night?! David Arquette: "It's called Reggae On The River and they do a similar concert still in Northern California in Humboldt County which is also referred to as The Emerald Triangle - because that's where they grow all the pot and stuff. So that's where all the references to booby traps and all that came from, that actual place."
"I've been several times to this concert but the first time I went I was 17 and it was a wild weekend - something that I just never forgot. I was sitting there on the outskirts of the redwood trees, the sun had gone down on the river, and I just thought that it would be crazy if a killer came out of the woods and started hacking up all these hippies," he laughs. "I started thinking about it, about these peace-loving hippies against the violence of the horror film."
You also paid comment to the fact that even though the film is laden with political overtones that you didn’t set out to further your agenda, but indeed make a fun movie. But, how is that possible now in hindsight to say such a thing when the film is one quite obvious daring attempt to launch a broadside at a morally righteous right-wing establishment that is ankle deep in its own dead bodies of political making?! Am I right?! "I think somewhat, yes. I do like Reagan though. I'm a fan of his. I wasn't a fan of a lot of his politics. I think he made some bad decisions and said some silly things about hippies and the environment and stuff. So I highlighted some of that."
"So yeah, there's some of that, but the hippies aren't exactly any prize either in my film. It's not the hippies of the sixties who were standing up and stopping the war in Vietnam. Nowadays the hippies just wanna get wasted and that's sort of what I wanted to show; this new style of hippy."
What's your political standpoint about the current leadership in America? "I completely hate the current administration and what they have done to our country in the name of America. I think they have agenda's just to make money as much as anything else."
Your 'Reagan' killer seems to be quite indestructible ... so will there be a 'Tripper: Part II,' perhaps? "That depends on what the DVD does, but I have a sequel in mind for sure. It involves a different President ... and it's not George Bush, but it's called 'The Tripper 2: The Burning Bush.' And it's got hippies again, but it's got a real complex idea behind it."
Is it true that it rained for the entire film shoot … but stopped dry for the scenes when you needed it to?! "Well, it rained quite a bit, but we really got lucky actually as it didn't really rain as much as they had forecast. But it rained one day specifically that we had to match to so that was the hard part. We had to hire rainmakers who are real expensive."
And by the way, having 'Pee-Wee Herman' jump down inside a shitty portaloo was one incredible cinematic experience! "Thank you," he laughs. "You know, it was funny I got that idea from going back to the concert to do research right before we shot it and I saw how disgusting these things were. And I just thought it would be the perfect place for someone to hide from a killer."
"And also, I felt like in some way it was a symbolism that I feel the media and stuff did to Paul's character; his Pee-Wee character if you will. It was kinda of like one of these perverse scandals that was just so huge. And I loved his character so much, and I love him as a person, and so that's why that was done."
With all the bloody, gruesome deaths in this film, your own was very, very tame ... generically boring! Why?! "Yeah, I didn't want to get too messy," he laughs. "No, actually I always find that neck cracks are pretty scary. But yeah, mine was quick. It was pretty much just to set the audience up for what was to come."
OK, I have to be honest about a couple of things here ... do you mind me being honest?! "Sure, go ahead."
Well, firstly I thought that the long scene where Lukas plays his guitar and sings his song to Jamie was one unnecessary monkey of a filler moment! "Part of the reason I did that - as Lukas is a dear friend of mine and I think he's an incredible musician - was because he was always playing that song on the set. And yeah, a lot of people have told me to cut that down. But, to me it's a really genuine, beautiful moment shared between the two of them. It's also a moment that you don't see in a lot of horror films ... where you make the audience sit through something like that. It just kind of gets across certain aspects of what the hippy philosophy is - the peace of music in general. And it also sets it up for the end of the film. But, it's also the last moment of peace between these two and you see there why she really loves him. The next day after and all hell breaks loose!"
And secondly, as their music seemed a little out of place for the timeframe, were Fishbone your first choice for a band? "They weren't, but it worked out so perfectly. I was speaking with a lot of other people, but people were concerned about their image and being a part of a horror film. And I tried to explain to them it's not just a horror film, it's sort of a political satire also. But people still found it kinda hard to attach themselves to it."
"So Fishbone were really cool ... as I grew up with Fishbone in Los Angeles. Patricia, my sister actually dated Norwood when we were in High School and stuff."
So, who was your first choice for band then? "Ben Harper was my first choice. He's great. He's a dear friend of mine. But he was concerned about it being a horror film. But after he saw it he wished he'd really understood what I was trying to tell him more. As it's more like a counter-culture movie"
At the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International event you had some footage stolen and offered the van from the film up in return! Did you get the footage back and did you then keep your promise re: the van? "I actually left it in the cab," he sheepishly admits. "But I thought I had lost it on the run up to the place, but found out later that I had left it in a cab. But yeah, I thought I'd lost it so I said if anybody finds it please don't put it on the internet, I'll trade you for the van that appears in the film."
"I then did get it back, but I ended up still giving that van away. I had a contest during the promotion of the theatrical release and this really weird guy had met me out on the road on April 20th at 4.20 on the opening time of the film. He did this whole skit while dressed up so silly and we filmed it. It was fun. So, we gave it to him, but he opted for the cash value of the van," he laughs.
"So then I wanted to keep it, but it was sitting around so long that I ended up giving it to a guy that has a band called The Black Math Experiment. They did some music for the DVD, but they also did a song called 'You Can't Kill David Arquette,' which is how I first got to know them. They wrote this crazy song and so I went to visit them when I was on my bus tour."
Watching the Bus Tour DVD highlights in the special features of 'The Tripper,' and one can only marvel at you peeing out the words 'The Tripper' onto a sidewalk for all to see! Fact or Fiction?! "I swear to God ... you can just hear it from the guy's reactions! We were drinking quite a few beers at Tulane University [New Orleans] and on the walk back to the van it was sort of a spontaneous explosion. So no, I guarantee you it's all real ... I'd take a lie detector!"
Will your old band EAR2000 ever be heard of again? "No, I don't think so. I enjoyed it though. It was a fun experience. I'm just a little too busy for that right now."
Finally, and you've just finished filming ‘Hamlet 2’ with Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener. How did that all turn out? "Yeah, I'm really excited about that one. It was a lot of fun to do. Steve Coogan's an amazing actor. My character's name is Gary and he's sort of a third wheel, the roommate to Steve. And he's kinda like this jock, bodybuilding trainer guy who just comes up with meaningless statements all the time!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
'The Tripper: Unrated' DVD Purchase Link
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