Scream is back! So, too, are some very familiar players, including the loveable fan-favorite, Dewey Riley, played by franchise veteran David Arquette. The fifth entry of the franchise will also introduce a whole lot of new faces and key creatives, including directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett and producer Chad Villella, the three members of the filmmaking group known as Radio Silence (Ready or Not, V/H/S, Southbound).
Arquette spoke with the press at a junket late last year to share his feelings about Scream‘s legacy, how it’s intertwined with his personal life, and how Radio Silence honors Wes Craven’s films.
On returning to the franchise: “Oh, it was definitely mixed emotions. Knowing Wes wasn’t going to be directing and wasn’t here were the first feelings about it. I had seen Neve [Campbell] at a horror convention not too long ago, and it was great to see her. Then, talking to Courteney [Cox] all the time because we have a kid together. There’s just a friendship that has lasted years. I always loved playing Dewey. It’s a fun role for me to play, and he’s very close to my heart. I was excited when I heard there were rumblings of doing a new one and especially excited to know that Wes’ family and Kevin Williamson were a part of it, that they approved of it. I love Ready or Not. Tyler and Matt have been inspired and loved the original films, and loved Wes’ work, and were these tremendous directors that set me at ease.”
Arquette continued, “Getting to know the whole Radio Silence crew was just amazing. They’re just all such fans of films. They’re really smart about film and have a real quality that is going to impress people. Then getting this whole cast involved, reading the script, and just being blown away by it. Having a feeling that it honored the past, but it’s its own new thing, and that it used all of this history of film and horror films. What’s going on on the internet; what’s going on with the real world. It’s this whole group of people that was exciting to do this with. I don’t know. I love the film series in general. I love what it did in turning people’s relationship with horror films on its head and looking at itself.”
The actor shared that the filmmakers honor Craven’s legacy while evolving Scream’s world, “They’re definitely staying true to the style and the feel. When I’m in character, it just feels like I’m Dewey. You look around at the different characters; we’re in the same world for sure. But there have been so many more horror films through that whole evolution, and horror films are evolving. Fans’ understandings of film and their talk of prequels, and all these understandings of origin stories and legacy. Just the evolution of film in general. The evolution of storytelling. I personally believe fans are a lot smarter about film nowadays and storytelling. Even behind the scenes, they’ll understand things about these movie series that I don’t even know about. I think it honors true fans of these films and fans of films in general.”
Through four films, and soon to be a fifth, Scream served as a companion through major milestones for Arquette. He explained, “I’ve always been grateful for it. Some of them, the experiences were all different. My mother was dying during the second one, which was painful to go through and still go to work. I got to work with my father on the second, which was amazing. I got to act opposite my dad, and that’s all Wes. My brother Richmond had a minor role in the third one. I met my first wife on the first one; we have a daughter. Throughout the whole thing, I’ve gone through a divorce between the last one and this one. I’ve gotten married again, and I have two more kids. It doesn’t get any more life milestones than that. Yeah, it’s been such an interesting experience, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.”
The fifth entry also offers new beginnings for the actor, “But it’s really exciting too, seeing this new cast. They remind me a lot of the first group, and they’re the age I was when I did the first one. Just knowing that they have such a love for these horror films and that Scream had made an impression on them. To be doing scenes with them, and they’re like, ‘I’m doing a scene with Dewey.’ It’s been a great experience.”
Five films deep, one thing hasn’t changed; the careful dance around potential spoilers. When asked how Dewey may have grown or changed since we last saw him, Arquette carefully dodges, “He’s Dewey. I don’t know. Again, I don’t want to do any spoilers. But they definitely honor the past, and really wanted to do something that would honor Wes’ legacy, and what [he and] Kevin Williamson had created originally.”
The Scream franchise returns to theaters on January 14, 2022.