EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated Sept. 29, 2015: James Maslow has joined the cast of “Sherlock Holmes,” in the role of Dr. John Watson, replacing the originally announced Michael Trevino. Renee Olstead has also been cast in the production.
Originally posted Aug. 12, 2015:
Actor-producer David Arquette (“Scream,” “Celebrity Name Game”) says he’s “really excited” about starring as the title character in anational touring production of “Sherlock Holmes,” which plays Chicago Nov. 24-29 at the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph).
“I’m not always necessarily someone’s first choice, but I have a little bit of range. I can pull it off,” Arquette said with a hearty laugh.
Co-starring as Dr. John Watson in the late Greg Kramer’s original adaptation inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tales will be Michael Trevino (“The Vampire Diaries,” “The Originals”).
The setting,according to “Sherlock Holmes”presenter Broadway in Chicago:
The opium wars have ended. The Ripper has wreaked his havoc. Electricity is on the rise and Scotland Yard is in its infancy. Lord Neville St. John gives a moving speech in the House of Lords to ban opium and a vote on the matter is imminent. Meanwhile, Professor James Moriarty, notorious criminal kingpin, plots to thwart the upcoming opium vote. When a drowned body is discovered, and Lord Neville goes missing, Scotland Yard turns to the world’s only consulting detective and newest resident of 221-B Baker Street: a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
Arquette, an admitted “huge fan” of Doyle’s books, says the storyline involves some thingshe can relate to.
“I’m a bit like the character because he’s really just a rather strange person,” Arquette says, with a chuckle. “He has so many quirks, and I have quirks. And he’s a bit of an addict —which, I understand. I’m in a really good place in my life now, but I can draw on my experiences with that form of behavior. I mean, in the very first [book] they mention he does cocaine. It’s good when an actor can bring something to a role.”
The actor was phoning Monday evening from Los Angeles, having just returned from his Costa Rican honeymoon with his bride of four months, Christina McLarty, and their 1-year-old son, Charlie. (Arquette also has an 11-year-old daughter, Coco, with first wife Courteney Cox.)
His previous stage credits include “The Female of the Species” opposite Oscar winner Annette Bening at L.A.’s Geffen Theater, and the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at that city’s Tiffany Theater. “I make a horribly unattractive transvestite, but I learned how to spin pasty tassles!” Arquette said laughing. “It’s a great little skill to have. It’s always a crowd-pleaser.”
Arquette said theplay is a pretty straightforward homage to the Sherlock Holmes legend, and despite his comedic quips during our conversation, he’s taking it very seriously.
“I know there’s a huge fan base for Sherlock Holmes and I want to do right by them. There was an intense fan base for ‘Rocky Horror’ and I won them over. And I had to sing in that show! So I’m in no way going to take this new role lightly.”
As for his Watson, Arquette had no idea the role had been cast.
“That’s great news,” Arquette said when informed that Michael Trevino will star opposite him. “He just can’t be taller than me [laughing]. I’m 6feet tall. Okay, I’m really 5 foot 10-and-a-half. I will get lifts! I’m not ashamed to say that. A little Tom Cruise lift never hurt anyone. I’m a big fan of Tom Cruise! I mean no disrespect!”
Not to worry; Trevino is reportedly 5-foot-9.
The Chicago engagement also marks a homecoming for Arquette, who, with his family of actors and actresses (his sisters include Rosanna and Patricia Arquette; his late father, Lewis, was a Chicago-born actor) lived in Evanston for a short while when he was a toddler.
“I lived in Evanston from ages 2 to about 5,” Arquette said. “My father was involved with improv theater there. He studied with [legendary improv master and original director of the Second City] Paul Sills. My mother taught acting classes there. I have very vivid memories of the snow and the lakefront and Michigan Avenue. Seriously!”
Since“Sherlock Holmes”is set in London, will Arquette be affecting a British accent?
“[Laughing] I’m gonna attempt an accent,” Arquette said. “It’s frightening! But I’ll do my best.”
Group tickets for “Sherlock Holmes” are currently on sale at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets for the show will go on sale at a later date.