Alexis Arquette didn't really want to fall into "the family business," which in his case is performing. "But I guess you can't fight it," he admits.
Arquette's grandfather was the famous comic Cliff Arquette. His father is actor Lewis Arquette and his older siblings--Rosanna, Patricia and David--are all actors.
Originally, Arquette, 23, and brother David ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") were interested in pursuing careers in art. The lure of greasepaint proved too strong, he says, although his parents were hesitant about them going into acting.
"They were cautious and reminded us of all the pain and strife they had gone through. They were a little over the top of caution, so we had to prove to them we could do it."
And Arquette has proven he can. After appearing in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" and "Last Exit to Brooklyn," Arquette has his first starring role in "Jumpin at the Boneyard," as a crack addict living on New York's mean streets who reunites with his estranged brother (Tim Roth).
Arquette hasn't abandoned his artistic interests. "I do art direction for big parties and clubs. It's not I'm afraid I'm not going to get another film; I really want to stay busy in between jobs. I always do portraits for myself and friends."
He also spent a few years as a toy designer for Mattel, which was not a pleasant experience. "We had some really great educational, interesting, fun new technological ideas. After a while, it just became so frustrating to me. They turned down our brilliant ideas for dumb pieces of junky plastic. So I ended up leaving."
After the downbeat "Jumpin at the Boneyard," Arquette says, "I would definitely love to do a comedy." He admits it is "not a feel-good film. It is something that people are going to be watching wriggling in their seats.
" I needed a drink," he adds with a chuckle.