Thursday, October 22, 2015


A brooding man clad in a deerstalker cap and Victorian overcoat, with a watch fob, magnifying glass and pipe in hand is hunched over a lifeless body, police detectives hanging on his every deduction. These are the identifying characteristics of Sherlock Holmes, the famous sleuth created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle … but David Arquette? Not so much. The “Scream” actor, 44, has never solved a murder mystery, used forensic science or possessed an innate arrogance in his abilities. But it’s the offbeat qualities beneath Holmes’ cryptic exterior that match Arquette’s, making him the perfect fit to play the elusive Baker Street detective when “Sherlock Holmes” comes to Chicago’s Oriental Theatre next month.
“[Holmes] is working on a frequency that is different than the rest of the characters in the story,” Arquette says. “We share a quirkiness and oddball nature. I definitely look at things from a different perspective, and I think he does, too. I have a pretty good understanding of human behavior.”
As a fourth-generation actor, Arquette  who stars in the new western thriller, “Bone Tomahawk,” in theaters now caught the acting bug early, before gaining widespread attention for his roles in ’90s films like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Never Been Kissed” and “Scream.” Last year, he produced the syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game” with his ex-wife Courteney Cox (the second season premiered last month).
Still, his true passion has always been the stage he’s acted in theater productions of “The Rocky Horror Show” and “The Female of the Species.”
 “Being able to entertain the audience right in front of you is really the roots of my family, going back to vaudeville,” Arquette says. “There’s something I really love about being able to have that interaction with an audience, [putting] on a crazy production that is nonstop and wild.” 
And “Sherlock Holmes” which runs November 24-29  is just the kind of eccentric production Arquette desires. Set in the backstreets of London, the story centers on Holmes, who’s tapped by Scotland Yard to resolve the disappearance of Lord Neville St. John. Alongside his friend Dr. John Watson (played by James Maslow of “Big Time Rush”) and St. John’s wife, Lady Irene (played by Renee Olstead of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), Holmes sets out to crack the case.
For the most part, the play  directed by Andrew Shaver and written by Greg Kramer stays true to the original story penned by Doyle in the 19th century. But this modern, steampunk interpretation adds an extra dose of slapstick humor. 
“It’s not entirely the right analogy, but it feels like there are elements of ‘Monty Python’ in it; there are elements of ‘Airplane!’ There’s some real outlandish comedy in it, which is fun, because it’s typically something that’s done a lot straighter,” Arquette says. “It’s fun for the Watson and Sherlock relationship they’re at each other’s throats sometimes, but in a very humorous way.” 
 Though he found the dialogue-driven script and English accent challenging, Arquette’s love of suspense, crime and investigation helped him ease into the role.  
“I’m not the kind of person [who] needs all the answers … [but] I do like putting things together,” he says. “[Sherlock’s] obsession tends to be something that our society is a bit obsessed with now ‘CSI,’ profiling, ‘Dateline.’ … I actually love those shows. I’m obsessed with that kind of stuff.” 
Before diving into the play, the Virginia native took some time away from the media sphere, going on a hiatus from social media, and subsequently, his fans.
 “I originally left because people were just so mean,” he says. “I really take it personally; I couldn’t not obsess on it and write people back. There were rumors and people just talking trash  it wasn’t fun for me.” 
But last month, he rejoined Twitter with the intention of reconnecting with his longtime followers.
 “It’s really necessary in this day and age to connect with your fans and let them know what you’re up to, [because] it really is about the fans. I just try to not focus on the negative,” he says. 
It’s this same connection to the audience that he’s most looking forward to in the “Sherlock Holmes” production — not to mention, being able to come back to Chicago; he briefly lived in Evanston growing up. 
“I love Chicago. I love the people — they have a really great sense for comedy,” he says. “It’s been a dream of mine to perform in Chicago. … I hope people enjoy our interpretation of this classic story.” 
 Based on the evidence, it seems likely we will. 
"He’s definitely got some of my qualities. He’s a little bit of a rascal already, [and] he likes to have fun. He’s always on the move. —David Arquette on his 1-year-old son, Charlie West Arquette"

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