A Conversation with Finn Taylor and David Arquette of "Dream with the Fishes", Part II
by John Bernstein
As "Dream with the Fishes" makes its way across the country's crowded
movie market place, the affable filmmaker and the easygoing, colorfully
retro-garbed actor kicked-back with indieWIRE to chat about voyeurism,
insecurity, and all things indie.
indieWIRE: David, most of your film work has been in the indie-film world. Is that by design, or just the way your career has played out so far?
David Arquette: I'm really attracted to the small character-driven stuff.
iW: Are you being offered other kinds of roles in bigger pictures?
Arquette: Well, no. (LAUGHS) I think I scare them quite frankly, and I don't
blame them. Be scared. Be very afraid.
iW: What should they be scared of?
Arquette: I'm a madman. One tiny example of my "delusional-actorness" was when
we were shooting the graveyard scene. I kept arguing with Finn about
where I should be standing in relationship to some characters attending
a funeral. He had me peering out from behind a headstone. I thought that
was too close. They weren't supposed to know I was there. I told him I
was going to go run way over the hill for the scene. So I did.
Finn Taylor: By this point the sun was going down, too.
Arquette: Yeah, and after a few minutes, Finn yelled at the top of his lungs,
"You're invisible!" (ALL LAUGH) So I ran back. It was starting to get
dark. I ripped my suit wide open on a barbed wire fence. It was one of
two suits we had. I can be trouble.
iW: How did you to hook up?
Arquette: I read the script, and fell in love with him. The guy fucking rocks!
It was such a great relationship script, and a real adventure. I loved
how my character's mind was expanded. I think almost everyone has a
suicidal side in them. I definitely do. It seemed like a cool,
non-cheesy way to attack the issue. I mean, it never glorified that. I
think it sent a clear message that it's wrong to kill yourself.
iW: Your character, Terry, is a voyeur in the film. Do you see any
parallels between being a voyeur and a filmmaker or actor? In a way,
filmmakers, writers, and actors are vicariously living through other
Arquette: Well, sort of, but I think the motivations are different. I think
actors watch people for information.
FT: As a writer, I think I can relate to being a voyeur. The reason I
chose to make Terry a literal voyeur was because that was the most
opposite you could be from being engaged in living your own life. I
actually noticed the voyeuristic side of David. From the very beginning
David was watching me and watching others. In one scene where David was
improvising, he kept repeating, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," just like I do.
I wondered if he had picked that up from watching me.
Arquette: No, I just think we're both just extremely insecure people. My mom
and I do that all the time. We're always apologizing for everything. We
repeat it over and over again until we start sounding like Dustin
Hoffman in RAIN MAN. You know, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, gotta go watch
iW: What were some of the differences between making "Dream with the Fishes" and your first film, "Pontiac Moon"?
FT: About 22 million dollars worth of differences. (LAUGHS) I think the
intentions are usually good in the studio system, but with such giant
investments being made, I believe they're operating from positions of
fear and cautiousness. They're always wanting to make characters
likable, palatable, and package films in the most appealing way. If
you're always just aiming to be appealing, I believe you are going to
turn a lot of people off. Frankly, I don't think anything original comes
out of being cautious.
FT: Independent film is all about taking risks. Nobody is really there
to set parameters for you, so you feel liberated to go forward and give
it your all. The creative control is important to me. When you
micro-manage a film like a commercial or something, you can really kill
creativity. What you end up with is almost like a commercial. I find
structure somewhat liberating, too. When you write a poem, the structure
of that sonnet or haiku can actually set you free to be creative within
those limitations. When you do a movie for Hollywood and have tons of
money to spend on almost anything you want, it's hard to be focused with
where you're going. I think the structure of working independently can
be a real asset. You really have to be innovative in the way you work.
My involvement in theater and the fact I was a screenwriter for so long
has also helped me, because it helped me to imagine my film shot-by-shot
before I started shooting.
iW: Do you plan to get more involved with theater, David?
Arquette: Yeah, I would like to, but I am really involved in music right now.
I sing and play trumpet in a band called "Ear Two Thousand." I'm really
not good, but it's fun. We actually have a song on the "Dream with the Fishes"
soundtrack, and we played the film's premiere party. We might
actually change the name of the band to something like SAP -- Sick
iW: Does the band have a label yet?
Arquette: Get ready--here comes that word again. We're actually doing it
independently. It is about creative control, whether it's in film or
music. Collaboration is important, but the fewer people meddling with the
project the better. It's hard for a lot of people to agree on one thing.
FT: I agree. It seems like when you get a group of people together, they
tend to make safe decisions. I think safe decisions are usually boring
[John Bernstein has been a contributing
writer/photographer for indieWIRE and iLINE since their inception, and
contributes regularly to Detour Magazine, and TNT's "Rough Cut". John is a
former art director, was the chair of the Atlanta Film & Video Festival
for 6 years, the on-court announcer for the Atlanta Hawks, and can
currently be heard on CNN, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network's "Space Ghost: Coast to Coast". ]