David Arquette Talks New Environmental Drama On Sacred Ground
Jan 26, 2023
David Arquette stole our hearts as Deputy Dewey Riley in the original Scream films. It was a hoot seeing him return for the fifth installment, and there always remains hope to see Arquette return to the Scream franchise in some way down the line. Now, he’s co-starring in an impactful environmental from Shout! Studios titled On Sacred Ground, which is currently in select theaters and on demand. It’s also noted for being the first narrative feature to depict the events at the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, with a cast that also includes William Mapother, Amy Smart, Irene Bedard, and Frances Fisher.
Based on the true events during the 2016 construction of the pipeline that runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the film follows a journalist and military veteran, and an oil company executive (Arquette) who find themselves on opposite sides of the fight during the construction of the contentious pipeline. As the story unfolds, the two characters go down separate paths during one of the most heated protests and confrontations with Native American tribes in modern U.S. history.
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We recently caught up with Arquette, who dished on his conflicted character in the film. He also expressed his appreciation for the Scream reboot while sharing about an upcoming project he’s excited about.
Related: 5 TV Shows by Native Americans You Need to Watch Next
Playing a Conflicted Character from a Real-life Issue
MW: What was it about On Sacred Ground that first attracted you to the project?
David Arquette: Well, Rebecca and Josh Tickell are incredible filmmakers that do hugely important, environmental documentaries. And I’ve worked with them on some things and gotten to know them and really appreciate what they stand for. And they were part of this. Josh went up and was part of the demonstration and protests, and it was really personal to him. So they had this beautiful script, and they sent it to me. And, you know, I wasn’t crazy about the character, like, who I was playing, the type of person he was. But I understood where he was coming from. So it kind of made it easy to play.
MW: To help prepare for your character, did you do any research or maybe refer to some personal experiences?
Arquette: Well, my two sisters, Patricia, and Rosanna were both up at Dakota Park Pipeline Protests. Patricia helped provide latrines with her organization givelove.org. They provide solutions to sanitation problems throughout the world. And she brought some eco-friendly latrines up there. So I knew about it. As far as from my character’s point of view, not really. I mean, he’s military, and worked for the oil industry. So I talked to a few people sort of in that world. But yeah, it’s kind of more of a point-of-view thing for him, you know, how he sees the world. And I can understand how he sees the world. He does say, “The US doesn’t run on fairy dust. It runs on gas, and until we are completely electric or have a sustainable energy source, we’re gonna need oil.” So that’s sort of his point of view.
Related: Sick Review: Scream Writer Scares Up Another Great Slasher Movie
MW: Your character is often in a tough spot. Was there a scene in particular that was particularly challenging for you as an actor? Or does anything come to mind in terms of a favorite day on set?
Arquette: It was really humbling meeting all the First Nations people that were involved in the film, Dancing Elk, and just kind of being a part of, you know, hearing the story. I never knew that there was a treaty that wasn’t being honored by the U.S. government until this film. That was kind of shocking to me. But far as “challenging,” I guess that last scene was the most challenging because it was the most confrontational. It was the most dialogue, and it really came to a point there where he’d gone on this journey, William [Mapoter’s] character had gone on this journey. He really learned a lot about himself and grew up a lot and became a father. It really changed the course of his life and sort of his beliefs. It really tested his moral compass and what he considered right and wrong.
MW: Would you be open to working on more environmental dramas down the road?
Arquette: Yeah, I mean, I love doing films that have an important message, and doing independent films is really a pretty powerful medium to express sort of these complicated problems we face.
Scream Franchise and Future Projects
MW: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on, that you’re excited about?
Arquette: Yeah, we’re doing a documentary about clowns and bringing kind clowns back and sort of re-owning the spotlight of what a clown is supposed to be. Not just, you know, the scary ones that we’re so accustomed to nowadays. So that’s a documentary I’m working on at the moment. And it involves Bozo the Clown. It’s been a dream of mine to be a part of that company and bring that clown back to life.
MW: It was sad to see what happened to Dewey in the latest Scream movie. Would you be interested in rejoining the franchise down the line?
Arquette: Yeah, I mean, I love the new directors. I think they did an incredible job. Matt [Bettinelli-Olpin] and Tyler [Gillett] are just so talented. So I’m excited to see the new one. And if there’s any way of me being involved in the future, I’m totally open to it.
On Sacred Ground is available to watch now.
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