David Arquette Says 'Scream' Director Wes Craven Encouraged Him to Date Courteney Cox: 'He Had a Real Impact'

"He gave me a real man-to-man talk and that had an impact on the course of my life," the actor tells PEOPLE

David Arquette and Courteney Cox's Scream characters Dewey Riley and Gale Weathers fell in love onscreen under the direction of Wes Craven. And as Arquette, 50, tells it, the late director also played a role in the actor entering a relationship with Cox off-screen, too.

"Wes had a real impact," Arquette tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "[He was] like, 'David, you know she likes you and you should really get your stuff together.' He gave me a real man-to-man talk and that had an impact on the course of my life."

David Arquette, Wes Craven, Courteney Cox Scream 3 - 1999
Dimension Films/Kobal/Shutterstock
SCREAM, from left: Courteney Cox, David Arquette, 1996,
Dimension Films/Everett

Arquette and Cox tied the knot in June 1999, more than two years after the first Scream movie hit theaters. They welcomed daughter Coco in June 2004 and in October 2010, six months ahead of the third Scream sequel's debut, announced their separation. Arquette and Cox finalized their divorce in 2013, while their onscreen relationship experienced challenges, too.

Now both stars, as well as original Scream actress Neve Campbell, will reprise their roles for the upcoming fifth entry, titled Scream

"I was just really excited to play a character that was really, I guess, bitchy and over the top and yet grounded in some ways," Cox, 57, says of bold reporter Gale. "Because Monica's so sweet."

RELATED VIDEO: Drew Barrymore Reunites with Scream Costars Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Neve Campbell On Her Show

Arquette remembers being excited to first meet Cox. "I was a fan of hers," he admits, adding of the rest of the cast, "everybody was really nice, so it was a great time."

The former wrestler originally read for the part of Billy Loomis but felt better suited for Dewey, who eventually became sheriff of Westboro, Calif.

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"I was like, I think I'd be better for Dewey. And I brought that up to Wes and he was like, 'Whoa, that's very interesting,'" Arquette recalls. "And thank goodness he had an open mind about it. I love still playing this guy and fans still love him."

Arquette went on to marry producer Christina McLarty in 2015 and the pair have two kids together. He feels "very blessed" to be starring in another Scream movie over 25 years after the first one's debut. "It just sort of tracks my whole life," Arquette says of the franchise.

David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”), left, and Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group's "Scream."

Sentimentality aside, Cox promises the new installment will deliver both laughs and scares. "I love the fact that it's had so much humor in it and so scary at the same time," the Friends alum says. "When you scream, it is infectious, just like laughter. So when you watch one of these fell, you're just petrified."

Scream, also starring Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid, hits theaters Friday.

For more Scream, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

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