Role Call: David Arquette On Courting Courteney, Ducking Brando

Youngest member of Arquette clan recently directed his first feature.

Forget the Baldwins and the Barrymores: For a truly quirky acting family, look no further than the Arquettes. Rosanna's been a favorite of Scorsese and Tarantino; Patricia's found true romance with Thomas Jan; and then there's the baby of the bunch, David. He's not just Mr. Courteney Cox. He's an acting vet whose career has run the gamut from pro wrestling to swapping lines with Brando. In between promotional stops hyping his new ABC sitcom, "In Case of Emergency," the always affable Arquette reflected on his crazy career.

"The Outsiders" and "Parenthood" (1990)

Arquette first found work on two short-lived TV shows, both of which were based on successful films.

" 'The Outsiders' was my first job. I was a little troublemaker back then. I remember I went to this photo shoot and I was going to steal these CDs. I was just a little rat! I was like, 'There are all these CDs sitting here, no one is going to miss them.' And a guy I was working with was like, 'You're working, you're making real money. You'll never have to steal again.' I don't know what was going through my head.

" 'Parenthood' was a really great experience. I worked with Leonardo [DiCaprio] on that. If you look at it now, I look like I do now and he looks like a little kid." [He laughs.]

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992)

Long before Buffy achieved cult status on the small screen, there was the movie, in which Arquette had a small role.

"That was really fun. Luke Perry was our buddy back then. He lived at our house for a while right before he got '[Beverly Hills] 90210.' I had a blast. I met Paul Reubens on that movie, and he's one of my great friends now. And I love vampires. Except, of course, when you do a vampire movie everything is shot at night, which isn't so great."

"Beautiful Girls" (1996)

Arquette was part of one of the great ensembles of the '90s here, sharing the screen with everyone from Matt Dillon and Timothy Hutton to Uma Thurman and Natalie Portman.

"That film came out of nowhere. They were like, 'Do you want to do this little part?' I showed up and it was weird because everybody had been working for a few weeks, so they had this bond. I was just laying back. [Director] Ted Demme gave me the nickname Mellow Bird. He had it put on my chair."

"Scream" (1996)

To this day, the role of Dewey, the sometime suspect, sometime hero, is Arquette's biggest claim to fame. Not only that, but he met his future wife on the film.

"The first thing that comes to mind is Courteney and the beginning of our relationship, falling in love and all that. It was a wild time -- everybody was young and crazy. I bought a go-cart that I'd drive around the parking lot. We had no idea this movie was going to be a big hit. Courteney would go back and forth to L.A., so I'd wait to see her. I'd watch the parking lot for her to drive up. And as soon as she got to her room I'd call her up and say, 'Hello, Sydney!' " [He laughs.]

"Free Money" (1998)

A forgettable role in a forgettable film is noteworthy only for the esteemed company Arquette kept.

"I only worked one day on it, and I did it mostly to meet Marlon Brando. He sat me in the back of this car, so I was sitting right behind him. He had shaved his head and done all this weird stuff for the part. And he was asking me all these questions like, 'Have you been acting long?' and 'Have you ever been to Spain?' -- all this stuff out of nowhere. I was sniffling, and he was like, 'Are you sick? Do you have a cold?' And I was like, 'No!' I was so nervous. As soon as I got out of the car, I didn't go back."

"Scream 2" (1997) and "Scream 3" (2000)

The horror saga lived on in two successful sequels, though many, including Arquette, felt the trilogy ended on a down note.

"On 'Scream 2' Courteney and I were on and off a lot and my mother wasn't well, so that was hard. But it was cool to work with my dad on it. 'Scream 3' was just too rushed. It became a satire of itself and was kind of depressing. We saw it recently and we were like, 'Oh God, turn it off.' They should make a 'Scream 4' in which they explain that 'Scream 3' was just a movie within the movie -- just some way to discredit it."

"Ready to Rumble" (2000)

Arquette took no role to heart more than his portrayal of a wrestling fan in this comedy opposite Scott Caan.

"In promoting it I went to a bunch of different cities and wrestled, and then I won the belt! Wrestling fans hated me, but it was good for ratings. The great think about the belt is you get to take pictures of it with people. I was doing that once and I got hit in the head with a dirt clog. And I looked and it was this little kid! And he gave me the finger. He was shaking his head like, 'How dare you?' "

"3000 Miles to Graceland" (2001)

Arquette once again shared the screen with wife Courteney Cox in this violent action flick that found him dressed up as Elvis.

"We were in a casino in Las Vegas shooting with all these guns around. It's weird being in a casino with a big automatic weapon. They planted squibs behind these copper walls, but the squibs were shooting out. I was hit in the leg with a big chunk of copper. It took a big chunk of my leg out. I still have the scar."

"Never Die Alone" (2004)

Never afraid to take a supporting role, Arquette did just that for none other than DMX in this action movie.

"DMX is such a cool guy. He's like a kid. He's just smart and cool. I was really shy around him and kind of intimidated."

"The Tripper" (2007)

Arquette recently directed his first feature, a trippy horror flick that features a cast as eclectic as his résumé.

"It comes out April 20, the international day for pot-smoking. I kind of pushed for that day because it takes place at a [Grateful Dead] kind of concert. It's a small movie, and it was definitely overwhelming.

"Directing a movie is super-complex. There are so many pressures. I still get anxiety about it. But I got to work with all my friends: Balthazar Getty, Lukas Haas, Thomas Jane, Paul Reubens."

Check out everything we've got on "The Tripper" and David Arquette.

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