‘Stone Cold' gets to the bottom line with David Arquette
In the latest edition of Superstar to Superstar, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin talks to actor, director, producer and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, David Arquette. Stone Cold gets to the bottom line of Arquette's new slasher flick DVD release, The Tripper, which is in stores now. The two talk all things Hollywood and sports-entertainment, and Arquette even reveals his wife Courteney Cox's favorite WWE Superstar.
Stone Cold: David, how are you doing today?
David Arquette: I'm doing great, Stone Cold. How are you?
SC: I'm good, man. Listen, I've got a lot of questions I want to ask you. I know you have a movie The Tripper coming out. Have you finished that? Does your picture have a promotional trail for that?
DA: Yeah, it's coming out on DVD on Oct. 23. We are doing some ads on WWE shows, and the movie is right on time — right before Halloween.
SC: That's super. We'll talk about The Tripper in a minute. I wanted to ask you, since I come from a background — my whole life has been professional wrestling — sports-entertainment as we call it today, I broke into the business in 1989 and in 1990 was rookie of the year, and I know you are a huge wrestling fan. Didn't you grow up in Virginia?
DA: Yeah, I was born in Fairfax County, Va. — Winchester.
SC: Winchester, I know where that is at.
DA: Yeah, but I moved to Chicago after that, and was raised in L.A. since I was five.
SC: Oh, OK. So tell me about your background in pro wrestling. I guess you started watching the L.A. territory. Who were some of your favorites, and what got you hooked on pro wrestling?
DA: I loved the whole sort of Andre the Giant, Hogan, Piper days. L.A. Sports Arena saw a road show during the Andre the Giant and Hogan times — that's what got me hooked.
SC: Were you ever able to meet Andre the Giant in person?
DA: No, I never did. I just reached over and tapped his big, sweaty back.
SC: Back in 2000, you hooked up with the cats of WCW and got into that group. How did that happen, and what transpired to make you the World Heavyweight Champion?
DA: You know, it all happened because I was doing this movie Ready to Rumble and they were using all of the WCW stars at the time. I got to know a couple of the people who promote the show, and they threw me in the ring and people hated me enough that they wanted me to come back. Then, in a strange twist and turn, I got the belt — which pissed a lot of people off. I don't blame them. It was a good time, I'm proud to be in the record books. I just hope I didn't take down the whole company.
SC: I don't think it was you who took them down; I think it was ultimately their fate. When you became the WCW champion, how was the backstage politics? When you've got guys, and that's what they do for a living, and all of a sudden, you, David Arquette, a very successful actor comes in — who has probably never stepped foot inside of a wrestling ring — were there any feelings of animosity toward you? What was it like?
DA: Yeah. There were some bitter and very angry people. I mean, just traveling with wrestlers — that was the most amazing part of the show. Things like getting drunk with Ric Flair, just being a part of this crazy world, just seeing how amazing and talented wrestlers are. Your bodies suffer, and you guys are running non-stop city to city — it's like a carnival. It's crazy. So, I gained a lot of respect for wrestling. Just so you know, you are my wife's [Courteney Cox] and one of my favorite wrestlers. We had a meeting once, and she still talks about it!
SC: [Laughs.] That's cool. I didn't know I was your wife's favorite wrestler. You mentioned Ric Flair, and he's my all-time favorite. You said you came up on the Hogan and Andre the Giant days when you were in L.A. Knowing wrestling like you do, being in WCW for a little bit and now seeing the business today with really only WWE around, who is your favorite guy going right now? If you had to pick one guy you had to have come back into the wrestling business and work with, who would it be?
DA: Gregory Helms did all of my stunts in Ready to Rumble. I'm a big fan of his. I know he's out now. I like the whole Triple H and Mr. McMahon thing that's been going on, the family dynamics is always good entertainment. I like The Great Khali — I always like to see a giant. That's a good type of thing. You know, Ric Flair is also one of my favorites of all-time. Whenever he does anything, I just love it.
SC: I think he's probably the greatest world champion that ever lived. I have so much respect for that guy. Let me shift gears real quick. I know you come from a pretty big family, and I did a little research on my own about you. I know your folks come from an entertainment background — your dad was an actor, your mom was in the business and then all of your brothers and sisters got into the business. Give us the long story short on how you were brought up and got into acting.
DA: My grandfather was an actor, too. He went by the name Charlie Weaver on the old Hollywood Squares. He did The Jack Paar Show and The Tonight Show. His family was involved, too. I just sort of grew up in it. My mom was an actress — she just sort of quit it to raise the family. You know it sort of is just a part of what we did. Rosanna kind of ran off when she was 17 and stayed with a family friend of ours and got her career started. That helped us all to get the foot in the door for the next generation.
SC: Are you guys a tight knit family with all of you going in different directions? Are you excited for each other when one of you gets a project? Do you talk to each other a lot? Or is it that you guys are just so busy that you see each other and talk to each other when you do? How is it with so many of you in the business?
DA: I'm working with Patricia now on Medium, and it's great. We get to work together and it's always fun. We are all pretty busy, so sometimes I find out stuff on Entertainment Tonight if I haven't talked to my brother or sister recently. So, it is kind of wild. With family, even if you live in the same town, it's hard to get together all of the time. Patricia has kids, Rosanna has a daughter — we all try to get our kids together to have them hang out with each other.
SC: I know you have a busy day, so let's bottom line this thing. I know you have a new DVD The Tripper coming out on Oct. 23. Tell us about the movie, first of all.
DA: It's a horror film about a bunch of hippies that get attacked by a killer who is obsessed with Ronald Reagan. So, it's got some humor to it, and it's fun to see some hippies get hacked into. We produced it ourselves — I co-wrote it with a friend and directed it. We did it outside of the studio system and had the freedom to show some crazy things. It's just a wild film. I did it directly for horror film fans. Old School horror film — slayer movies — fans will have a good time with this one. It stars Jason Mewes, who was in Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob, Paul Reubens who was Pee-Wee Herman, Jaime King who was in Sin City and is a wonderful actress, Balthazar Getty and Lukas Haas … just a bunch of great people. My wife [Courteney Cox] does a cameo in it.
SC: With you running the whole show here, with the casting, did you have to hand pick the people and kind of tailor the roles to them?
DA: They were all friends of mine, except for Jason. So, I had really written the parts for those people. It was great to get everybody on board, and shooting things with your friends just makes it all that more enjoyable.
SC: How is Paul Reubens doing? Is that guy making a little bit of a comeback now?
DA: He is. He's doing a bunch of stuff. He's doing Pushing Daisies on ABC. He's doing a lot of stuff. He's great. I've known him for a long time, since doing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. What about you, Stone Cold? Are you doing any movies?
SC: No, man. I'm just kind of beating on the streets of L.A. I'm in a little bit different of a position than you. I had one movie come out, The Condemned, and it's done well on DVD. Right now, I'm just meeting a bunch of people pretty much every day in L.A., reading a bunch of scripts, and trying to find the next project and start it as soon as possible. It's a slow process, and I like to make things happen fast — so sometimes, it gets a little frustrating.
DA: Yeah, I hear you. That's sort of why I did my movie and put it together myself — to try and make something happen. It's such a fickle business, you know?
SC: With everything that you've done, and The Tripper coming out on Oct. 23, if somebody came to you tomorrow and said "Hey David, we want you to be in this movie, and it can be any movie that you want it to be," what kind of movie would it be? Would it be a comedy, horror, drama? What kind of movie if you had something you could do right now and pick all the material yourself, what kind of movie would you pick?
DA: I've got a script that I'm working on right now with a co-writer that is kind of in the Braveheart world. It's not that I will be the Braveheart guy, but that's the next film that I will direct. As an actor, I don't know. Something where I could show some dramatic acting. I also like films like Napoleon Dynamite, 40-Year-Old Virgin, you know, comedy like that. I'm wide open. You know, I look for parts, but what they usually want me for, aren't the kind of thing that I want to do. It's been a little hard recently, but I'm just trying to focus on directing and that type of thing.
SC: Do you find it more rewarding in your career right now being in front of the camera, or behind the camera calling all of the action?
DA: It's a lot of work behind the camera, but it's a lot more fulfilling when you see the final product. When you have your hands involved in the whole process, you get to appreciate the process more. It's just a lot of fun, really. So, I don't know, I enjoy acting — it seems like a luxury. You don't have all the responsibilities of taking phone calls and dealing with all the fires that have to be put out. But we're also producing a show called Dirt on FX, and I'll keep you in mind for a part coming up. I'd love to work with you. I'm a huge fan, and I'd really look forward to it.
SC: Well, that sounds good. I'd enjoy that. I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions for us. That's David Arquette — he's got The Tripper coming out on DVD Oct. 23. I'm looking forward to watching that, David.
DA: Thanks a lot, Stone Cold.
SC: OK. I'll see you around, buddy.