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Exclusive Interview: David Arquette Talks Savagery of Social Media in SPREE + Growing Mustache Back for SCREAM 5

Now in theaters, digital, and On Demand, Spree is directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko (Wobble Place, 0s & 1s) from a script co-written by Kotlyarenko and Gene McHugh. The film features an all-star cast led by Joe Keery (Stranger Things) in his first film feature leading-role, Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), and David Arquette (the Scream franchise).

Spree is executive produced by award-winning rapper and record producer Drake (“Toosie Slide,” “Hotline Bling”).

Synopsis:
Meet Kurt, from @KurtsWorld96 (Joe Keery). He dreams of sitting atop a social media empire, but for now he drives for the rideshare company Spree. Fortunately, Kurt has come up with the perfect way to go viral: #TheLesson. He’s decked out his car with cameras for a nonstop livestream full of killer entertainment – murdering his passengers. In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian (Sasheer Zamata) with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes the only hope to put an end to his misguided carnage.

Follow @kurtsworld96 on Instagram to learn more!

We were lucky enough to score a sit-down with David Arquette during which we discussed Spree (and his character Kris Kunkle) at length. We also tried to squeeze him for new details about the recently announced Scream 5.  Enjoy!

Related Article: SCREAM 5 Star David Arquette Already Wants More Sequels


Dread Central: I’m about your age and what Spree really brought home for me was just how much fame, and the idea of being famous, has changed in the 21st Century. I remember as a kid wanting to be a rock star or an actor, but now it’s like everyone is an “influencer” and the only thing that matters is how many followers you have. Do you feel like being famous means something different today than it did in the 80’s and 90’s?

David Arquette: Yeah, I do. It’s interesting: I think it comes down to the fact that everyone really wants to be loved. They want to be appreciated, understood and it’s a social media world where people can actually make a living off of being these social media influencers. So, on top of it, there’s a financial component. One thing people will learn from getting famous is that there are a lot of drawbacks to it. When people invade your privacy, monopolize you, you have to watch what you do and say. There are a lot of things you have to be careful of. But the best thing about it is you can lend your name to charities, which is pretty much the most positive aspect of being a celebrity. But yeah, for me, I’m kind of lost when it comes to the social media world. I don’t really know how to deal with it. I tolerate it, I try to use it to promote things that I’m doing. I try to stay in touch with fans. But don’t get too caught up in reading comments, take things too personally, block people and all this stuff.

DC: Another thing that Spree really illustrated for me was how the line between being famous and being infamous has almost completely disappeared. It’s like talent doesn’t matter and nothing is off limits. Do you think the drive to become famous, or “internet famous”, has become dangerous?

DA: I think it’s just a misguided understanding. You know, there’s an aspect to [Joe Keery’s character]  Kurt [Kunkle] that’s sociopathic: he doesn’t have an understanding of empathy for the pain that he is going to cause all these people. So, that’s’ something we need to be aware of, as far as society goes. I like the fact that society doesn’t typically say the name of mass murderers now, not spread their name, but it’s a crazy world right now. In general, we have a lack of empathy, a lack of being kind to one another and a lack of a social construct in being polite to each other. It’s all a big reflection of what we are going through.

DC: Very well put. You kind of hit on this already but in Spree, you play a Gen-X’er like myself, we’re about the same age, who is trying to adapt to this new millennial model of fame and being famous. It’s funny because your character is kind of a man child who never grew up, but it also illustrates how he’s bought into this idea that everyone needs to play by these new rules. I’m curious: You’re famous and have been famous for several decades now, so has social media changed the way you quantify your own fame or relevance?

DA: It’s definitely changed because studios and producers, they look at how many followers you have, and if it comes down to you and another actor and you don’t have a strong social media base, you may lose a job because of it. It’s pretty important as far as that goes but it’s also important to be able to communicate with fans to let them know what’s coming out. But the character [I play in Spree], Kris, is just so lost in that world. He’s still holding onto his dream of being a DJ, a musician in some way. He’s definitely lost and doesn’t know how to do it all. He’s not very responsible in terms of having a job and being a loving father. That was interesting to sort of discover that.

[Director] Eugene [Kotlyarenko], Joe and I went out in Los Angeles before we started shooting, to have a night of bonding, and shoot some behind the scenes clips that are up at kurtsworld96 on Instagram, because they built this whole Instagram site, as if it was Kurt’s. And it’s really impressive what they’ve done; they’ve created memes, product reviews… They really took a deep dive into influencers that didn’t have a lot of followers. So why were they doing it? Why would they continue to do it when only four or five people are watching? It’s just kind of fun, it really helped me an understanding of the world we were in and during that whole process. The Kurt character would say something and I would think to respond as the father, which I am, in a fatherly way. But then I’d have to check myself instantaneously, before I improv, what a bad father would do. A bad father would make it about himself, belittle his son, not be supportive or understanding. So it made for this really interesting exercise where we kind of ended up feeling like, “Oh, ok. I mean, my character is not a sociopath, like Kurt is.” So I have feelings. I want my son to love me, but I feel like my character is more of a narcissist, where he wants him to love him for himself because he’s so great, anyway.

DC: Spree really seems to represent this new model of filmmaking as well, where we get an approximation of a social media experience, something normally confined to phones and laptop computers. Do you think we’ll be seeing more of films in this style?

DA: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s just part of our culture now, part of our world, part of our communication with each other.

DC: I write for Dread Central and I know that our readers would kill me if I didn’t ask about Scream 5. Is there anything you can tell me about Scream 5 that hasn’t been reported yet?

DA: We’re really excited about the filmmakers [Radio Silence]. I had a conversation with them and they are fans of [Scream mastermind] Wes [Craven]. They want to honor Wes and his legacy. I’m really excited that Courtney [Cox] is on board, we’ve all got our fingers crossed that Neve [Campbell] joins as well. And it will be great to just bring everyone back together and be able to play these characters again. I love playing the role of Dewey, growing my moustache out, and I don’t know when the film is going to go but hopefully it will go soon.

DC: Fantastic. Is there anything else you want to tell our readers before you go?

DA: You guys have been really supportive and I appreciate it.

Spree Poster - Exclusive Interview: David Arquette Talks Savagery of Social Media in SPREE + Growing Mustache Back for SCREAM 5

Have you seen Spree yet? Are you a fan of David Arquette? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.

Written by Josh Millican

Josh Millican is the Editor in Chief at Dread Central.

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