Tuesday, October 8, 2013

David Arquette Parade Rewind: His High School Days, Fatherhood, and Filming Dream School

David Arquette stopped by to chat with Parade about his new series, Dream School (premiering Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. on the Sundance Channel), introducing his daughter Coco to the biz, his career highlights, and more.

On the new Sundance Channel series, Dream School. 
“Dream School takes 15 high school dropouts and gives them a really incredible educational experience. The idea is to reinvigorate them into learning and going back to school and graduating. They chose me to be the drama teacher and the homeroom teacher, which was interesting for me because although I did get good grades in school, people wouldn’t typically think of me as an authority figure, so it was a great opportunity for me to meet these kids and help inspire them.” 

On what he was like in high school. 
 When I was in high school, I was really interested in breakdancing and graffiti art. It wasn’t a waste of time. It really did get me interested in art. At one point, some girls came up to me and said they were doing a school play and I should try out for it, so I did, and through that process I met an amazing teacher named Ben DeBaldo, who was my high school drama teacher and he really inspired me to take it more seriously. When you do a play, you have to commit to it, you have to stay after school, you have to learn your lines, you have to balance your school work as well and it gives you structure. It gave me confidence as well, and it led me to a career in the dramatic field.” 

On relating to his students.  
“These kids were dealing with a lot of obstacles. Everything from being bullied to having life circumstances get in the way to just feeling like they didn’t fit in and having problems with authority and getting into fights. I kind of had all of those problems myself, so I could relate to the kids. I know what it’s like to get bullied. My sister [Alexis Arquette], who used to be my brother, I saw her get bullied a lot, so there was a lot of stuff that came up that I could relate to and I could talk to them about and just kind of let them know that it’s a long road and that there’s decisions that they’re making along the way that are important and that their lives are important and it’s important to have a goal.” 

On his early acting aspirations.
“I’d always known I wanted to be an actor. We’re fourth generation — our family goes back to Vaudeville as far as acting goes — but I did little plays when I was a kid at the local library and I took a lot of improvisation classes. I auditioned for about six years or seven years and always got rejected. It was really difficult, so I finally went to school and I started doing the school plays and it gave me the confidence to go out there, and then right out of high school I got my first job!” 

On being the youngest in the Arquette family. 
“I liked being the youngest in my family because my parents had made a lot of the mistakes before they got to me, so I kind of had it a little easier. I also was a bit of the mascot within the family, so I always wanted everyone to get along. I was kind of my mother’s little buddy, and I’d go everywhere with her, so it was fun.” 

On his most memorable career moments.  
“There’s a lot of moments within my career that stand out. Meeting my ex-wife [Courteney Cox] on the Scream movie and then having a daughter with her — that’s sort of a peak obviously, but there were amazing experiences within Dream School.” 

On filming the iconic film, Scream.
 “Filming Scream was a real treat. It was just a great group of people, everyone got along, we had a lot of fun. We were young and alive and doing a project that nobody really knew how it was going to turn out, but we all loved the script and Wes Craven is such an amazing director. Kevin Williamson wrote such a great script. It just was fun, we laughed a lot, and we took these long rides to set because some of these sets were far off, and I just remember listening to Van Morrison or the Beatles and seeing the beautiful Northern California landscape go by.” 

On his nine-year-old daughter, Coco. 
“My daughter Coco is interested in acting and performing and singing and she does plays, but that’s where I want to keep it for now. I don’t want her to move it into the professional realm, although she’s on sets a lot and she does little walk on parts. Courteney just directed her first film, Just Before I Go, and Coco had a little scene in it where she played my daughter and she sprays me with water and it was just so cute to see her act and embrace it and have fun with it. She came up with her own line and she delivered it and it was just adorable.” 

On what he’d be if here weren’t an actor. 
“If I weren’t an actor and if I could make enough money to maintain a lifestyle, I would want to be an artist. I also love clothing. I’ve had a clothing company for three years. I’ve always been interested in making t-shirts and designing suits.”


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