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Multitasking Arquette follows family tradition

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David Arquette talks about his new film, "The Tripper." He is actor, director, producer and writer.

David Arquette talks about his new film, “The Tripper.” He is actor, director, producer and writer.

Jim Cooper, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — David Arquette is an entertainer of all trades.

Not only did he write, produce, direct and star in his new film, "The Tripper," he's also distributing and marketing it himself.

The 35-year-old is on a nationwide bus tour to spread the word about the movie, a bloody political satire about a serial killer with a thing for concertgoing hippies. He's chronicling the trip on the movie's MySpace page with little films of assorted silliness.

But there's clearly a more serious side inside Arquette, too. The "Scream" star has been expanding his artistic boundaries for the past year. He directed an episode of "Medium," the CBS drama starring his sister, Patricia Arquette. He executive produced several episodes of "Dirt," the FX show that stars his wife, Courteney Cox. He plays a leading role in the TV pilot "In Case of Emergency" and even started a rock band. Plus he's dad to nearly 3-year-old Coco.

Arquette talked with The Associated Press about his film and his famous family.

AP:How did you come up with "The Tripper"?

Arquette: The story is a group of drugged-out hippies go to an outdoor music festival and they get attacked by a killer who's obsessed with Ronald Reagan. ... I was at a concert in northern California that was called Reggae on the River, but now it's called Reggae Rising, and I'm sitting there and the stars are out, the sun went down and it's dark. We're surrounded by redwood trees, and the redwood trees are always so creepy anyway. And I thought it would be crazy if a madman came out of the woods and started hacking up all these hippies.

AP:Why Ronald Reagan?

Arquette: I grew up in Los Angeles when Reagan was governor and then president. I remember distinctly the day I went outside and saw homeless people, you know, mad people everywhere. You'd see a drunk once in a while, but this was a whole different thing, and I didn't really understand it. We were really kind of taken aback. My mother explained to me that Reagan had made some cuts in mental health and that's why a lot of these people were out there. That started the wheels turning in my head and I knew I wanted to make a statement about that at some point.

AP:You've got a thing for horror films. What's the appeal?

Arquette: The boundaries in a horror film are completely out there. You can ... scare people by using violence and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll in a way that you can't in a lot of other genres. It has a really loyal fan base, so I specifically wrote the script with that in mind. I learned a lot watching Wes Craven on the "Scream" sets and ... I wanted to make a film that makes people laugh and the next second makes them jump out of their seats.

AP:What's your favorite scary movie of all time?

Arquette: Probably "The Shining." I just thought it was such a good movie. Kubrick and Jack Nicholson, and Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, so it just all came together for me. I also like the original "Halloween" and the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

AP:What's the best thing about working with your family?

Arquette: It's amazing working with my family. That's the funnest part. Even though we live in the same city, a lot of time it's hard to see each other. So when you can work together you spend so much more time with each other. As far as Coquette goes, the company my wife and I started, it's always great working with her. She's just my favorite person, a wonderful partner. She brings so much to the table creatively and from a business mind as well. She's incredibly supportive and also she's a real leader. She knows how to get things done and cut through things.

AP:What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Arquette: I own a chicken costume. I own Elvis costumes through the roof. It's just an obsession at this point. I love costumes, I think it goes back to my grandfather. He played a character called Charley Weaver and he had all these costumes. We always had a costume closet when we were growing up, and I think it had a lasting effect on me.

I'm a huge fan of Liberace, not so much his music as much as his costumes. Also Elvis. Elvis, Liberace and Sly and the Family Stone. I own a bunch of Isaac Hayes costumes from the Shaft tour. I just love that '70s flair, crazy platform shoes, weird sequins.

I also love peacocks. I love the fact that the male peacock is all flamboyant.