As an actor-turned-professional wrestler, David Arquette is used to being body-slammed, drop-kicked and smacked with a tube light. Keeping young children occupied and interested during quarantine offers a new level of difficulty.
“Homeschooling kids during the pandemic is harder than wrestling,” Arquette says. “The 3-year-old and 6-year-old are just going bananas. It’s really hard to contain them and keep them (from) bouncing off the walls.”
The documentary “You Cannot Kill David Arquette” (available on streaming and video-on-demand platforms Friday) is an inspirational, redemptive and bonkers journey for the 48-year-old lifelong wrestling nut. Coming off his role as goofy sheriff Dewey Riley in the “Scream” franchise and once one of Hollywood’s hottest young actors (he graced a 1996 Vanity Fair cover alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Matthew McConaughey), Arquette won the WCW championship as a publicity stunt for his 2000 comedy “Ready to Rumble.”
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It resulted in decades of mocking from the wrestling community, and the new film chronicles his decision in 2018 to start wrestling for real – and finally earn the respect of fans. Many triumphs and travails follow, including a “death match” that ended with Arquette in the hospital for a gnarly neck wound.
“My wife (Christina McLarty) got really mad at me after,” he says. “She’s like, ‘I just feel like you want to die putting yourself in these situations that are so dangerous.’ It helped me realize that I had just been beating myself up for so many years and that I had to learn how to love and appreciate myself.”
USA TODAY talked with Arquette about his wrestling accomplishments, and what’s to come in “Scream 5.”
Question: Since many of us will never know the pleasure, what’s it like to crash down, bare back first, on hundreds of thumb tacks in a match?
Arquette: There’s a certain amount of adrenaline you get when you’re wrestling that helps with the pain. Tacks aren’t as bad as other things like light tubes, barbed wire. … A wrestler named Tommy Dreamer wrote me after (the death match). He said, “Bro, you can never control glass or fire, so avoid it at all costs.” Very smart.
Q: In the film, your 16-year-old daughter Coco happily shows one of your matches to her cringing mom, your ex-wife Courteney Cox. Was that a cool moment?
Arquette: To do anything and not embarrass a teenage daughter is a huge accomplishment. One of my true highlights of the whole film is just getting her approval and her support. We can be embarrassing parents, especially for a kid who’s trying to figure their world out and all that.
Q: You lost 50 pounds and got sober. In the next “Scream,” is Dewey Riley going to be a ripped action hero?
Arquette: (Laughs) Dewey and myself have a lot in common. We’re constantly looking for respect and to be taken seriously. I hope that becomes a theme in it.
Q: One of your most striking lines in the doc is, “If you’re part of the joke, it’s not as painful as if you are the joke.” Do you still feel like you are the joke?
Arquette: I could always laugh at myself; that was never part of the problem. I enjoy humor. That’s part of my superpowers. I just don’t like when it’s mean, even when you’re mean to yourself.
Part of making this movie was to let people in on seeing who I am, and if they want to laugh about it and enjoy that stuff, that’s what I want. I just don’t want the whole world to be so cynical and so out to get each other. I feel like we’re all in this together.