Q&A With David Arquette
David Arquette talks playing a real life cold-blooded killer and more in this exclusive Q&A.
Did you know much about the real 'Happy Face Killer' before taking on the role?
I had heard about 'The Happy Face Killer' before I played him but I wasn't that familiar with the specifics of Keith Jespersen's life. After I had done some research it became clear to me that besides being a sociopath and violent narcissist he was family man, truck driver, and suffered from a bullying society that made him feel powerless and violated. I think that when we breed people like that sometimes they snap and want to take the power back, sadly in this case he took his pain out on innocent women.
What research did you do?
I read some books and watched a bunch of documentaries in my research for this role. I also Googled the killer and heard a bunch of audio files from a college class he spoke to about his crimes.
What was the most difficult scene to shoot?
The most difficult scenes to shoot were the violent ones for obvious reasons. As an actor I certainly didn't want to hurt any of the actresses but you also wanted the scenes to feel real and in the moment, it's a delicate balancing act. For the most part, Richard Christian Matheson the writer and Rick Bota the director created a nice balance of violence without being too graphic which made it a little easier to perform.
How do you get into character for such a sick personality?
I got into character by researching of course but also by tapping into that dark side of mankind. It's all around us so it's easy to see and feel. I would try to understand why he did certain things the way he would. For instance, if someone is rude or belittles you, most people would get upset or yell back at them, Keith would lash out. There were times while filming when something like that would happen and I could picture what he would have done and that becomes very scary to know that people like that are out there and think in those terms.
What do you do to shake the creepy feeling after you’re done filming?
It's hard to shake those thoughts and the gruesome images I saw during the research and filming stage of this movie but time heals and seeing my daughter, and my girlfriend, and my dog... The beautiful things in life can help one heal. To me love is more powerful than hate and violence.
Do you like playing the good guy or bad guy?
I like playing different roles good and bad because man is both good and bad and a lot of us are in between. It's hard playing someone that exists and that caused so much pain to the victims and their families - not to mention his own family. But I took this role to explore what makes a person do something like that while still finding the human side — to learn something about myself and to hopefully shine a light on aspects of the human experience so that at some point we can heal — and to me the best way to do that is through kindness and love.