June 9, 2023
A BITESIZE CHAT WITH
David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed, Eight Legged Freaks) joins us to talk about his documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette and his return to the squared circle.
BB: Hi, David, and thanks for sitting down with Bitesize Breakdown. I’d like to start by asking if this film was always going to be about your time in wrestling? Or was the initial intent to focus on your life and it just turned that way?
DA: No, it was always supposed to be about wrestling. I did know that I wanted to be honest, vulnerable, open, and really allow people into my life. They really did it, and, you know, when you’re open, it’s hard… it’s hard for me to watch. I can’t watch some of the scenes. It's really difficult, and I did want to talk about stuff I’ve been going through. I think it's important to talk about things like that so that if anyone else is going through something like that, they feel and understand [that] they’re not alone.
DA: It’s a really tricky world to be caught up in, and we’re all trying to figure out what we’re doing here and how to find happiness. It's an anxious world and a depressing world at times, so when you can find things that make you happy and feel content and not feel alone, I think that’s important.
BB: The title of the documentary comes from The Black Math Experiment song of the same name, but it also fittingly describes your mindset over the last decade or so. Whether you’re auditioning or training for the ring, where do you draw your perseverance from in life to keep on pushing what you're doing?
DA: I’m inspired by a lot of things. Nature is a big inspiration for me. Love is a big inspiration for me. I want to make my kids proud. I want to be happy, so I try to do things that I enjoy, that I have a love for. That’s sort of why I wanted to go back to wrestling ‘cause it's something I’ve always loved, and I was hated for my time there.
DA: So, I really wanted to go back there and prove myself so that people just could understand that I didn’t mean to dishonor wrestling. Wrestling really is a lot about honor and respect, and the people who are involved in it have dedicated their lives to it. So I wanted to do something that was a love letter to wrestling.
BB: In the film, you go through a pretty drastic physical transformation. What were some challenges and benefits that you found in getting so fit?
DA: So I used DDPY, which is Diamond Dallas Page’s Yoga, but it's not really yoga; it’s yoga and strength training. That helped me get inspired to start my weight loss and get me prepared for taking bumps in the ring. After that, I worked with Rigan Machado doing Jiu-Jitsu, Ricky Quiles doing boxing, and Peter Avalon as a trainer. It was really great to get out there and do all that cardio; then you have to change your diet.
DA: I went on a zero-carb diet for months and months. You reduce the size of your meals, you eat smaller meals throughout the day, and you don't eat a big meal for dinner ever. It's best if you don't have anything to eat three hours before you go to bed. It's just stuff like that. It was hard, but something, as an actor, you kind of learn how to do. You have to lose weight for parts or put on weight, which is always kind of harder in a weird way, because you have to take it off at some point. But, yeah, it taught me a lot about discipline. It taught me a lot about getting in the mindset of an athlete.
BB: I want to ask about Ready to Rumble, which obviously was a big part of why you got into the WCW in the first place. As a wrestling fan yourself, what was the experience like making that movie? Do you have anything you wish you could have done differently with it? What were your general feelings on that film at the time and even now?
DA: When I first read it, it was, like, page 8, and it said “Macho Man Randy Savage.” So, I called my agent, and I was, like, “Do they have Macho Man Randy Savage for this movie?” They [said], “Yeah, he signed up,” and I [said], “I’ll do it! I love, love the idea of it.” At the end of the movie, I become “The Law.” I’m a wrestler that goes out with the [other] wrestlers to become a wrestler, so I think that is sort of where part of the germ of the idea in bringing me into the WCW [came from].
DA: For whatever reason, they made me the champion. [Former WCW writer] Vince Russo says part of the idea came from him seeing me backstage, getting everyone’s autograph on a kid’s belt, and he was, like, “oh… this guy’s really a wrestling fan!” I think it kind of led to them wanting this angle where I somehow became the champion, and it just set up what Diamond Dallas Page and Jeff Jarrett were doing; but the audience really didn't appreciate that storyline. You know, it was sad. I thought Ready to Rumble was a fun movie, and it didn’t really do that well at the box office, so I wanted to also do this as kind of an unofficial sequel to Ready to Rumble.
BB: Your experience in the WCW kind of branded you “the most hated man in wrestling.” Going into this film, you're setting yourself up for a bit of criticism by documenting it and exposing yourself in the movie. What was your biggest fear going into this experience and in making it a documentary?
DA: Well, one of the crazy things is I don’t really let fear drive me at all. I’m not really afraid of many things. I don’t know… it's a little weird that way. I think it makes it a little more dangerous, to be honest with you. If you’re not fearful of certain things, you probably wouldn't put yourself in certain positions like I did.
DA: I don't know, I just wanted to come back and prove myself. I wanted to do it for myself, for wrestling, to sort of write this love letter to wrestling. And, also, I was just sick of being bullied. You know, the thing about when people say mean things online, it really hurts if you believe it too. I was kind of telling myself the same things they were saying, and I had to learn through this process to stop beating myself up and really being, as corny as it sounds, being kinder to myself.
BB: What do you think people who don't enjoy wrestling could get out of your movie?
DA: I think people are really quick to write wrestling off as either for kids or it’s not real or whatever they want to say, but it takes a tremendous amount of athletic ability. You have to be tougher than anything than I can imagine. I mean, it is just such a painful sport. It really pushes you. It's really difficult to… you know, the way these guys travel all the time. I just have the utmost respect for them.
DA: If anything, I would just love to see guys like Ric Flair or Stone Cold Steve Austin get, like, a regular job on a CBS drama or something. They’re just such funny, full of life characters, and it just really would be amazing to give them an opportunity to act. We had the great opportunity of working with Mick Foley on 12 Hour Shift, and he's a tremendous actor; really great character and I just think there's so much room for these guys to break into Hollywood.
BB: You mentioned reading the script for Ready to Rumble and being sort of impressed that Macho Man was going to be in the movie. Growing up, who were your top three wrestling icons and why?
DA: Growing up, I was always a Hulkamaniac. I just love Hulk Hogan, and his relationship with the fans is like nothing I’ve ever seen. I love Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka; he jumped off the top rope and that's why I jump off the top rope to the outside of the ring. I also love Junkyard Dog, [he] was one of my favorites. He's just so fun.
DA: There's an amazing wrestler now named Willie Mack, who is just such an incredible wrestler. I hope he gets picked up by...one of the big places and shows up there ‘cause Willie Mack is just one of the greatest wrestlers that I was able to share a card with.
BB: You’re pretty much your own action hero in this documentary. Is there any future for you in action movies or is there a superhero you'd like to play?
DA: Well, interestingly, I was just offered an action movie. I was reading through some of the scenes, and… I dont know… it’s just guns and all this stuff. I don't know what I want to do, but I’m not sure I want to just do, like, gun toting and shooting. There just has to be more of a story involved or something. I like action movies, you know, somewhat, but I'm not really a big action movie guy. I mean, it'd be nice to be able to do that, but I just don’t know. It's so weird, such a weird time in the world. I don't know if I want to be running around with guns in this climate.
BB: Finally, when will we be able to see you in the ring again? And what do you think your wrestling career will look like in the future?
DA: I don’t know if I’ll get back in the ring again. I really love wrestling when I'm wrestling as a tag team with RJ City. We have a really fun dynamic, and it makes for a safer experience. Whenever I wrestle alone, I tend to get hurt. He kind of protects me in that way, but I don't know if I’ll be wrestling again anytime soon. I do love it, but I do feel like this movie kind of exists in its own world. I think it might be best if I let it live there.
Make sure to check out You Cannot Kill David Arquette now on VOD.
Interview conducted on August 19th, 2020 by Joseph Ruiz.
Photo Credits: Banner - Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP; Photo 1 - Elevation Pictures; Photo 2 - Warner Bros.