When David Arquette, best known for his role as Dewey in the ‘Scream’ film franchise, walked into a conference room in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, a smile crossed his face as bright as the earring in his left ear.
Commenting on the beauty of Ball State University’s campus, Arquette was gracious to be in Muncie, Indiana. Arquette is scheduled to speak April 10 in Pruis Hall at 7 p.m. as a part of the David Letterman Distinguished Lecture Series.
Arquette laughed as he joked he only agreed to speak in this series to “troll” the former ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ host. The actor of over 30 years reiterated he’s always enjoyed his exchanges with Letterman, calling him a friend.
Outside of Ball State’s most well-known alum, Arquette has an affinity for another Muncie staple: Bob Ross. Being in the entertainment industry his entire life, as his mother and father were each entertainers, Arquette said Ross is one of the “heroes” he has been able to meet along the way.
“His kindness really spoke to me. His love for getting people to create, his mastery of art and his flow,” Arquette said. “Ultimately, life, [as] I've figured out so far, is always about flow, getting into flow, not disrupting the flow, so when you do come up to these obstacles, how can you maneuver them in a smooth way?”
One such obstacle Arquette outlined came during his time in the professional wrestling industry. Since he was a teenager, professional wrestling has been a major part of Arquette’s life. Arquette, 51, said he fell in love with professional wrestling when his father, Lewis, voiced Jimmy Snuka on ‘Hulk Hogan’s Rock N’ Wrestling’ animated television series in 1985.
Arquette went on to wrestle for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 2000 to promote the release of ‘Ready to Rumble,’ a film in which Arquette was the lead actor. In his second of four matches in the company, he became the promotion’s world champion, before losing the title in his final WCW match less than three weeks later.
Aside from wrestling a 2-on-1 handicap match on WWE’s ‘Monday Night Raw’ in December 2010 when he was the show’s guest host, Arquette did not wrestle regularly again until 2018. It was then he began his professional wrestling comeback, filming his documentary ‘You Cannot Kill David Arquette’ in the process.
Arquette said the pain and discipline one goes through when training to be a professional wrestler was humbling for him, and it was during this process that professional wrestling began to further make an impact on his view of his self-worth. It all came to a head in November 2018 when Arquette took on Nick Gage for the Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) Championship.
“I had to ask myself a question. It was right after a deathmatch, and I'm sitting in a hospital and I just had an operation on my neck, and I was like, ‘Why am I beating myself up so much?’” Arquette said. “That's sort of where it got to. And then starting to understand why I beat myself up so much, and then figuring out ways to not beat myself up anymore, that really was a huge part of that journey.”
This deathmatch included Arquette being struck and cut open with light tubes, pizza cutters and more, including a deep cut to his throat. Arquette’s 26th, and most recent, match was a tag team match in July 2021 for Wrestling Pro Wrestling (WPW).
One positive Arquette took away from his time as a professional wrestler was his ability to become more comfortable being in front of crowds. He said it didn't matter what he did early in his career as long as he made people notice him, but he grew to a point where he didn’t enjoy the attention.
“People will judge you and they'll put their opinions on you, but it's up to you to prove yourself or just prove them wrong,” Arquette said. “That’s kind of been an ongoing, personal challenge for me. People sort of don't really expect something from you and you kind of come out of nowhere with something. It's kind of like the art of war with your career.”
Outside of acting and professional wrestling, Arquette is a husband and a father to three children. When asked, ‘Who is the person you want to be?’ his answer brought all of his experiences, past and present, together.
“It's who I am right now,” Arquette said. “But, that requires, personally, not drinking, being true to my word, being honest, being an upstanding person, being responsible, showing up for important events, being a father, making mistakes as a parent, and then making sure you talk it out and fix it if you've raised your voice… What I've discovered is it's truly just about being at peace, being there for your friends and being a reliable person and partner.”
Arquette told a story about a time he was asked by a friend who is a teacher in Los Angeles to come speak to her class about acting. During his conversation, he told the class there’s more to the entertainment business than acting, outlining roles such as a writer, director, cinematographer or even a stagehand.
Months later, while on the set of ‘Mrs. Davis,’ his upcoming series on Peacock, a young man named Joshua approached him. He was in the class Arquette spoke to months earlier and had since become a stagehand.
“I just hope to inspire,” Arquette said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
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