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It wasn’t the publicity stunt itself that went horribly, just the next 20 years.
David Arquette, best known for the Scream movies, was promoting his 2000 wrestling comedy Ready to Rumble when WCW (World Champion Wrestling) invited him to not just partake in gimmicky wrestling matches, but ultimately hatched a plot where he would win the championship belt.
Fans were stunned, then outraged, and though his reign only lasted 10 days, the actor became a punchline in the sport he loved for years to come. It’s all documented in the rousing new film You Cannot Kill David Arquette, which also tracks the now-48-year-old actor’s return to wrestling through the rough-and-tumble independent circuit, including one match that almost took his life when he was stabbed in the neck with a smashed tube light.
“I wanted to prove myself, it was such an important thing,” Arquette, who suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 2017, tells Yahoo Entertainment in a new interview promoting the documentary (watch above). “I got two stents put in my heart after a really bad reaction to a stress test. I was going into the surgery and I was thinking, ‘Oh, my family loves me. My wife loves me. My friends love me. I love them. And I’ve done some things in my career I could be proud of… But that wrestling thing! It was one of the major things that I thought about. So I knew at that point it was something I had to address somehow.
“People were still making these jokes. I was the butt of all the jokes… I didn’t want to be a joke anymore. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to pay my dues.”
The documentary, co-directed by David Darg and Price James, follows Arquette as he attempts to get back into the good graces of wrestling professionals, engages in a bloody underground beating in a Virginia backyard, and trains in Mexico.
The film’s most brutal moment – are there are a few – shows the 2018 match in Los Angeles where he suffers a severe cut to the neck, causing profusive bleeding, as he’s rushed to the hospital.
“I thought I was dying,” Arquette says. “So I had this moment of, ‘This is it.’ I’m thinking about my family. I don’t know if I was scared… It’s really hard for me to talk about because it was really painful. It was really scary, I was thinking about my kids and not being able to say goodbye to them.”
Arquette was taken to hospital with the help of his close friend Luke Perry, the Beverly Hills 90210 and Riverdale actor who died in 2019 at 52.
“Luke [was] the coolest guy,” Arquette says. “Luke [was] a really private guy, he was one of the greatest men I’ve ever met in my life. He was just solid, he was all about family. He loved living in Tennessee and just getting out Hollywood. He would do his acting job just as a job. He didn’t take all of the fame and all of the stuff – he didn’t care about any of that. He was just one of the coolest guys that I ever met. So it was a big loss for us.”
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is now streaming.
Watch the trailer:
-Video produced by Jen Kucsak
Read more on Yahoo Entertainment: