For stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette and Director Wes Craven, the Scream franchise isn’t just a movie series, it’s a family. Which is funny for a series based around serial killers, and violence, but when two of the primary cast married each other, there’s going to be a familial vibe. For Scream 4, Craven brought the band back together ten years later for a film that has to work as a sequel and as a film that comments on what’s happened in horror since Scream changed how people saw horror. Which means introducing a new set of teens to the Scream universe .See how they all relate now in the interview below.
After having played Sidney in the original, and having all the rules explained to you, how does it feel to play a returning veteran and having to teach the young kids a thing or two?
Neve Campbell: It was great fun (laughs). I’ve always had fun in these films and playing this character. It was lovely to have a new cast come in. They came in with enthusiasm, they were happy to be a part of it. As actors we didn’t need to teach them the ropes, they’re all professionals and they did a great job.
Having been with this so long, what is like for you on the first day, what is it like for you to come back?
David Arquette: I just love working with these amazing people. We’ve developed this family, not only the fellow actors and director, but the crew – all of this crew – we’ve shared fifteen years together. It’s been ten years since we worked together, but there’s a real family feeling and it really grounds it. When I see Sidney’s character in the movie, there’s a history there and you don’t really have that opportunity in a lot of roles. And then there’s Courtney.. and being married and having a kid and everything, it intensifies the reality and honesty, and that’s my favorite part of acting when you can tap into stuff like that.
Courtney Cox: It felt natural. We’ve had ten more years of experience of acting, I was that much more confident, I’m now a mom, I’m a different person. Being a different person, feeling a different thing, but coming back to your family who know each other, and you feel like you can get right back into it and be better than you were the last time, and do anything. Wes was instrumental in us being together, he was our mentor in relationships and growing up, and to come back and do it again was fun. I became closer to Neve during this movie than the first three, I just adore that girl.
NC: It was nice to get to know each other better, it was lovely.
In movies most people go out and investigate the noise, are you one of those people or do hide and call the cops?
Wes Craven: I own a shotgun.
CC: I investigate.
NC: I do too.
Off screen, have you guys scared the crap out of anyone?
DA: I’ve run around in Gail’s dress – that was pretty frightening if you’ve seen my calves.
Gail Weathers and Sidney Prescott
Can you talk about how each Scream film centers around Sidney just as it’s commenting on genre? Because it each film you find what Sidney’s journey’s about?
NC: What’s been fun for me about playing Sidney is that I think she’s the eyes of the audience, or the audience is taken with her because they need one core character for the horror and humor to work. For me it’s just been about being straight and honest with her circumstances. Being true to them, playing it that way, and let everyone else buzz around me and do a really fantastic job.
WC: I might start crying. I think Neve embodies everything we’d like to have: substance honestly, lack of pretense, and has put that into her character. Intelligence and refusing to just go along, but also she has illusions about who she was and her family was, which makes it interesting when she finds out that her mother was a “slutbag whore” – isn’t that what he says in the film? So she’s had all these incredible decisions to make about what the reality of her life in a small town is, and that is a fascinating character, and carrying over into this film – somebody related to her mother, her sister’s kid, and all the revelations with that, there’s so much richness in that and I think Neve just has those qualities, plus she can really kick ass. She’s tough and beautiful and wonderful, and I think she embodies what I think is the best of America. She was a championship ice skater in her teens and twenties…
NC: Ballet dancer. I didn’t skate. (laughs)
DA: That was me, Wes.
Courtney, you’ve said the role on Cougar Town is the most fun you’ve ever had to play, and which characteristic do you have form Gale, and from Jules on Cougar Town?
CC: I said that about Cougar Town because it’s the most written for me, it was created for me and I produce it, so I have a lot of say, and the writing is constantly taken from my life. And it’s good to show this goofy side that people don’t know. You’re very free. As far as Gail goes, I definitely have that tough side, Gail’s kind of campy, and I love her relationship with Dewey, and the fact that there together is great. The fact that he’s so earnest and she’s so out to get ahead it’s just an odd pairing, and so are we – we kind of are – so I love playing Gail. It’s probably the most fun because it’s a real character.
Have you guys seem Wes change since the first film?
WC: I’ve grown more hair since the first film.
DA: Wes, he’s just incredible. He watches Korean horror films in the middle of filming. “Wes what are you doing?” He’s still
DA: Though he’s master, he’s still a student, and that’s what makes him so incredible. He’s also a student of nature, human behavior.
DA: So it’s been a great experience really growing with each other, and going through life’s changes and it brings a humanness to these movies, and another layer, because there’s films within films and real life and they’re all intermingling.
Wes, I’ve heard you were raised in a strict family and didn’t grow up watching movies. What drew you in to horror?
WC: I could be making any kind of film. It so happens that the first time I got to make one it was a scary movie and that’s how I got into it, and no one asked me to make a romantic comedy after that.
CC: That’s because it was so good.
WC: Exactly. At first it was an opportunity to make movies, so I started making horror movies, then there was a period where I started to feel trapped. But then came a realization that I was working, and how many people get a chance to do that? And also I taught as a college teacher and I taught the Greek myths a lot and horror films at that time were 20th century mythology. Rather than looking down on it, I treated it like that, and gave the mythology as much as I could. And when I got into that I started making films like Nightmare on Elm Street, films that were multi-layered, and playing around with reality and time and everything else. But I became very proud to be in the genre. I think the audience is very smart and very adventurous and can face fear when a lot of people can’t. And I’ve found that the most interesting people I’ve met in life can face fear and even have fun with it, so I started to face it more and more and started to have fun with it.
You obviously have a short hand with the original cast, did you feel you were directing them differently than the new cast, or was it all the same?
WC: I think we do have a short hand. The characters are established, but the interesting thing is that they are always changing. Obviously, Neve was a teenager, and everyone was quite a bit younger, and they’ve all gone through enormous changes in their lives, and I think that makes Scream unique in that people have lives, they actually change, and they change who they are. Gail Weathers decided to marry Dewey and live in a small town despite the fact that she knew she’d be bored stiff. That’s really fascinating, and I think we’re all amazed we’re in this drama for fifteen years – it’s extraordinary, I don’t know of another film that has done this so I think we’re all pretty damn excited about being a part of it. And every new one has this extraordinary young cast as well. We all get to watch our selves when we were younger, and get to watch these young talents blossom in front of us. It has a lot of rewards and I don’t think any of think of it as a horror film or slasher film. It’s a very interesting, complex, funny smart drama.
When Scream hit in 1996 it was a phenomenon, and the sequels were made in fairly rapid succession. Now that you’ve had a ten year layoff, did your perspective on the franchise and what the films meant to you change, and if so how?
WC: Personally, I felt like we needed to bring it back up to the bar a little bit, I think Scream 3 was a little too goofy, a little too Scooby-Doo, we didn’t have Neve as much as we did in this – she wasn’t available, so she was more in the background. I think we all wanted to come back – not to make up for anything but if we were going to come back it has to be really, really good, and not just prove something to anyone else or ourselves. It deserved to be good, the audience deserved for it to be good, frankly hearing the response to the screenings we all felt really good because we all put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this film and it’s been going on for a year and a half. So it’s not something that we just knocked off, we were giving our all for it. You don’t get a lot of opportunities to do that in life or something really good that often, so it’s a good feeling.
Scream 4 hits theaters April 15. Check it out.