CS Interview: David Arquette on comedic thriller Spree
ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with actor David Arquette (Scream, 12 Hour Shift) to discuss his role in the Joe Keery-starring comedic thriller Spree, in which he stars as the father to a social media fame-hungry madman. Click here to rent or purchase the film!
Looking back at his introduction to the project, Arquette explained how he had gone to see a few of co-writer/director Eugene Kotlyarenko’s films and how he was “really blown away by him as a filmmaker” and that after reading the script, in which he “loved the concept of the film,” and learned of the acting talent involved, it was “an easy decision.”
“He offered me the role and he was explaining sort of cringe, what a cringe video is, it’s something that sort of makes you cringe, the sort of behavior of people,” Arquette described. “And I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve been a cringe factory my whole life,’ just doing things that I look back on as just like, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ So he was like, ‘Well, you have to turn that up when we film this.’ So there was a lot of cringey moments, which are really palpable. We had this really cool opportunity to go out one night, me and Joe and Eugene, and explore our characters and develop this relationship and sort of have a shorthand with each other. And he’d say something and I’d want to respond and since I have kids and I am a parent, that I could respond the way a loving, kind parent would, but I’d have to stop myself. And then, in my head, simultaneously think, well, how would a narcissistic, self-absorbed, out of touch character react or give advice to his son. So I ended up doing that and then ended up being very misogynistic and just narcissistic and qualities that aren’t really that appealing.”
Despite being a parent and having plenty of cringe-worthy moments in his career, Arquette chuckled and noted he is “probably more in touch with technology” than that of his character Chris while also mentioning he is “not very savvy when it comes to social media” and that the film has certainly opened his eyes to the relationship some have with it and the dangers of that.
“I’ve learned a little, I figured out how to kind of respond in a nice way, a quick way, rather than take things incredibly personally,” Arquette expressed. I’ve ended up not reading very many comments. I just kind of post what I post and just kind of walk away from stuff. I try not to get too involved in having my phone and being attached to social media that much. There’s a great lesson in the film in just sort of taking a break from social media, and you can definitely get caught up in it. I mean, when you have a film coming out, it’s really important to be able to promote on it and put stuff out there. But there’s also, my daughter’s grown up with it, so she’s 16. She really understands it in a way that I don’t. So she’s got a good handle on it, where she doesn’t post anything too personal. She’ll maybe post a picture or two every week, nothing like every day. And she’ll do TikTok videos, and I asked her, what does she like about TikTok? And she said she likes the sense of humor it has. It has an algorithm that can connect her with people with similar senses of humor than her, so she gets all these videos of people that she finds funny that she’d never come across unless it was for TikTok.”
After making the rounds in the festival circuit earlier this year, the film was acquired by RLJE Films for a theatrical and digital release and in looking at the hybrid release of the project, the 48-year-old star finds it to be “interesting” and “loves the fact that it’ll be at some drive-ins.”
“Eugene saw it at a drive-in last night and he was really excited, and you could hear it in his voice, he was like, ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted to be in the Arclight Theater,’ so that’s exciting for him,” Arquette described. “It’s a new world. I mean, it’s really a great opportunity to be able to provide people entertainment during this time, when we’re all sort of locked down and trying to stay safe. So that’s why we do this to start with. We want to entertain people. We want to do films that people enjoy, and every film has a different sort of way it comes together and you never know if what you read on the script ends up being what’s on film. So when films do come together and a cast is really wonderful and you have an incredible director, then it makes it really wonderful to be able to go to an incredible festival like Sundance and premiere it and have buyers see it and have an opportunity to get it out to the world is really an honor.”
Though people may be stuck indoors right now, Arquette hopes audiences really connect to the film’s message to “put your phones down, connect with nature, don’t take social media too seriously.”
“You know, I don’t know, if you ask a lot of kids, like what do you want to be when you grow up, a lot of them will say, famous,” Arquette noted. “And it’s this whole world where people want fame for fame’s sake. Fame really doesn’t have that many benefits. Its most important aspect is the ability to support charities, which people can do without being famous. So being famous for fame’s sake is kind of a strange thing. And once people sort of experience that, I think they’ll understand what I’m talking about.”
Meet Kurt (Keery), a 23-year-old rideshare driver for Spree, who is so desperate for social media attention that he’ll stop at nothing to go viral. He comes up with a plan to livestream a rampage as a shortcut to infamy – coining his evil scheme “#thelesson”, he installs a set of cameras in his car and begins streaming his rides. Wildly miscalculating the popularity that would come from his lethal scheme, Kurt’s desperation grows as he tries to find a way to overcome the plan’s flaws. In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes the only hope to put a stop to his misguided carnage.
In addition to Keery, the film features an ensemble cast that includes Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), Mischa Barton (The Cat and the Moon), John DeLuca (All Hallows’ Eve), David Arquette (Scream 5) and Kyle Mooney (The Unicorn).
The film is co-written by Eugene Kotlyarenko and Gene McHugh, with the former directing and producing alongside Sumaiya Kaveh, Matthew Budman, and John H. Lang.