David Arquette The Tripper Interview

David Arquette The Tripper Interview


EXCLUSIVE David Arquette/The Tripper Interview by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles.

David Arquette returns to Scream territory, but this time as a writer/director of The Tripper. In his feature directorial debut, Arquettes sly thriller revolves around a group of friends headed to a weekend-long concert for some fun, only to be stalked by a deranged killer. But as Arquette explained to Paul Fischer in this exclusive interview, theres more to his film than just pure thrills.

Paul Fischer: Lets talk about the reason why The Tripper was the one that you have chosen to direct for your first film.

David Arquette: Well I first came up with the concept in 1989 when I was at this outdoor music festival called Reggae on the River, and its up in Humboldt County in northern California. Its a reggae concert thats filled with hippies - at that time probably about 20,000 hippies. And I thought it was be a crazy setting for a horror film if some psycho came out of the woods and killed all these hippies. [Laughter]. So that was the original thought and then I didnt actually put pen to paper until 2004 when I was working on a film called Riding the Bullet and Mick Garris gave me a book called On Writing by Stephen King that really inspired me to just complete the script. The fact that I grew up in California where Reagan was the Governor and then the President also had a huge sort of impact on the direction of the story, and I really wanted to make a political horror film.

Paul Fischer: What are the challenges, and even some of the pitfalls, of doing a horror film that is trying to do something that has not been done before?

David Arquette: Theres not as many pitfalls as... you know, its more liberating because you kind of have this opportunity to do some comedy through sort of the real world and politics. You know, its essentially a political satire, so Im definitely not the first person to do that. But its a fun world to go to because theres so much sort of reality thats unbelievable, and aspects of war and just sort of political decisions that add to the horror of it all.

Paul Fischer: How much rewriting did you do before you were completely confident that you were ready to go?

David Arquette: Well I wrote a first draft and then it was rambling and kind of all over the place. Then I got involved with Joe Harris, who is an amazing guy, and he really helped me to bring the script to a place where it had more political impact, a more structured story. He really grounded it and turned it into a real movie.

Paul Fischer: Now was it always your intention to direct the script?

David Arquette: Yeah, it was. Ive always wanted to direct. I mean, watching Wes Craven on the set of Scream was always such a pleasure and the opportunity to watch him for three movies, I was always sort of taking mental notes. Plus working with people like Tim Blake Nelson and Walter Hill just working with great directors is always such a wonderful opportunity. I just always wanted to do that.

Paul Fischer: So were you storyboarding as you were writing? I mean were you sort of visualizing how you were going to shoot stuff as you were writing?

David Arquette: Yeah. We kind of slammed the storyboards in there so we only ended up using some of them, but it gave a good concept of the direction of what its going to sort of start taking shape. But we really couldnt, rely solely on the storyboards and we had to improvise quite a bit.

Paul Fischer: What about acting in the movie? Did you want to act in the film?

David Arquette: Just being an actor and being able to add a little to the sort of marketability of the film I wanted to be in it. I also had written myself two roles actually.


David Arquette: One role and then my brother-in-law got involved so he was going to play the main role, and so I dropped down to this other role. And then we got Jason Mewes to play that role, so then I just sort of dropped down to a smaller role. I didnt want to play too big a role, so then I dont have to worry about that.

Paul Fischer: How much did you learn about the business side of filmmaking I mean in terms of raising money and getting this thing off the ground.

David Arquette: Oh gosh, its a long, difficult process with so many people that say that theyll do it and then all these sort of factors get involved. And just the physical producing of a movie is so difficult

Paul Fischer: David, I understand that youre also involved in this new TV series, Dirt, that FX is airing.

David Arquette: Its great. Courtneys playing an amazing part. Shes the Editor in Chief of a tabloid magazine. Were executive producing it through Coquette.

Paul Fischer: So are you and Courtney getting your own revenge on the tabloid press?

David Arquette: [Laughter]. Not entirely. I mean, you know, shes playing the sort of main character. But the tabloid world is crazy, and vicious, a huge part of this business, and sort of a necessary evil. So the main characters is in our film are involved in that whole world so its not like were just kind of slamming them, but were slamming Hollywood too and having fun with it. Its a really energetic show, very dark and twisted. It shows the price of fame.

Paul Fischer: Were you able to draw on your experiences?

David Arquette: Oh, definitely. I mean the original concept for the whole show came from our experiences of the paparazzi during the period in which Courtney was pregnant with our baby. It goes into this sort of media frenzy when babies are involved for some reason. .

Paul Fischer: What else is going on? Are you doing other acting stuff?

David Arquette: Yeah, Im doing a show thats going to be a mid-season replacement for ABC called 'In Case of Emergency', and thats with Kelly Hu Jonathan Silverman, Greg Germann and Lori Loughlin. Its a really funny broad comedy. Single camera, half hour, like My Name is Earl.

Paul Fischer: Why the decision to go into television?.

David Arquette: For one theres not a ton of them. I mean there are but theres not a ton of great ones and the roles are really few and far between to be able to do a good one. This was just a really fun script and a really great group of people that I believed in and wanted to be a part of, and regular work is always a plus in this business.

Paul Fischer: I guess you were around when your wife was involved in that little television show she was in for a number of years...

David Arquette: Yeah.


David Arquette: Something called Friends, yes.

Paul Fischer: Thats the one. Did you ask your advice about the grind of doing network TV?

David Arquette: Well Friends in retrospect was like the easiest thing that had ever happened to her - and me at the time. I mean I was just sort of the husband around the set, but our life in general was so much easier back then. Then we started this production company and it all just got a little more complicated. Throw in a baby too and its crazy.

Paul Fischer: What about movie directing.... did doing this film give you a taste, a real taste of that side of the business? Do you want to do more of it?

David Arquette: Yeah, Id love to do some more directing. You know, the greatest part was that I got to work with all my best friends - Lukas Haas and Paul Reubens and Thomas Jane and Balthazar Getty. So that was such a beautiful, wonderful thing.

The Tripper

Starring: Lukas Haas, Balthazar Getty, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Paul Reubens
Directed: David Arquette
Genre: Horror/Suspense, Horror Movies
Rated: R

David Arquette's directorial debut takes place at a yearly music festival attended by masses of hippies. When a psycho killer obsessed with Ronald Reagan emerges from the woods, the party comes to an abrupt, hilarious halt.