With every slasher, there’s got to be fresh meat, and for Scream 4, there’s a ton of new kids to run around and get scared of the Ghostface killer. Four of the possible victims and/or murderers (because it could be anyone) talked about their roles in the Scream Franchise, and the franchise itself. For Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin and Anthony Anderson, all grew up with the original films and the original cast.
History with the franchise
Did you watch the whole “Scream” series or have you watched the first one? And what did you think when you were offered this role?
Anthony Anderson: I grew up watching this franchise and it’s probably a trivia question, but I spoofed this movie in Scary Movie 3 and 4 and now I’m a part of the franchise that I spoofed. So I think that there should be a Scary Movie 5 that I should be a part of now. This franchise was fun to be part of and to watch growing up. The way Wes Craven tells the stories and how he intertwines the horror with humor – I think that’s what really separates this franchise of horror film from the others. What do you guys think?
Emma Roberts: I was obviously too young to ever see it when it came out in theaters. But it was one of those movies where when I was a teenager all of my friends were obsessed with watching scary movies and I remember thinking this was probably the scariest, because this is the most real, the most plausible and that’s why it’s so freaky. When a phone rings you’re kind of freaked out and when you see those big glass windows – you know what I’m talking about – it’s scary. So it was definitely creepy.
Rory Culkin: I saw the first one when I was eight years old. I was scarred for a little while and then after I got this part I watched it and it’s all pretty solid. It’s not dated but it says a lot about its time.
Hayden Panettiere: Well I was seven when I came out so I waited a little bit later in life to experience Scream. It was something I was a big fan of. It’s got that Halloween aspect of the masked person but at the same time it’s got this realistic aspect of somebody — the fear of somebody breaking into your house. That’s a terrifying thing but it was a great experience.
How was it like working with the original trio?
ER: We were in Michigan for three months so we all got to bond and hang out. I would say we had a lot of time together.
RC: They were in our position fifteen years earlier so they understood where we were coming from.
HP: It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking when you come into a family. It was something that was established. They’ve been through so much together and they’ve made these films together. You really have to tread lightly on that, have respect for that and find your way into that group, where you fit in. They were great with that. They really had an interest in knowing us and including us. They really made that effort and it really made it a great experience.
AA: They’re all fossil-like. They’re old, we’re the new generation of the Scream franchise. They’re just tired, old and bitter (laughs). It was great working with these guys. David Arquette, Courtney Cox and I have been friends for thirteen, fourteen years now. David and I have worked together in the past so it was great to finally work together with him in a franchise that I grew up watching, spoofed, parodied and one that I enjoy. We bonded. Neve (Campbell) would rent out a lake house and we’d be out there for three, four days at a time having wonderful hikes and barbecues.
HP: Oh, I know how their barbecues went. It was more like flames than a barbecue.
AA: You need the fire, you need the fire!
HP: I still have those burns!
AA: David (Arquette) put some gasoline on the fire pit–
HP: In the middle of our photo shoot! You didn’t seem too disturbed by it. You were like “I am man! I make fire!”
AA: And you ate our meat!
You experience a lot of action in this movie, a lot of physical stuff. Are you considering more physical roles in the future?
ER: I’d love to. I’m not very athletic. I always played girl sports, I was never a big sports person, so it was difficult because I was never able to run convincingly. I had to learn that in this movie.
Rory, how much of a cinepile or a movie buff are you?
RC: Yeah, I tried to go back and watch all of Wes’ films. Does Wes Craven exist in the Scream world? Because all of his movies do.
Hayden, your character is very spunky and fearless, how similar are you to her?
HP: Well I’d like to think of myself as those things but it goes both ways. I was drawn to her because she’s not like anything I’ve ever played before. She’s dry, sarcastic, got that tomboy aspect to her which I can relate to. But she’s a horror movie buff. which is not what you’d expect from her. It’s unexpected and clever.
How crazy was the lockdown on set?
ER: I read the script before I signed on to do the movie, but I had to go to Wes Craven’s house to read it. When we got our scripts all of us were scared because they were watermarked so if you lost it, it would say “Emma Roberts.” I was scared if mine got lost that it would all over the internet with my name on it. There were a couple of times where I was like “Do I shred them? What do I do?”
AA: Well I did lose mine, and I think that’s the reason why they never gave me the real script. I never really thought I had the real script because every time I would go home and study these lines I’d show up on set and they’d give me a complete new set of lines for the day. “This is not the shit you told me I was supposed to study for yesterday!” That’s how I knew they were pulling tricks on me at least.
ER: It was just him for the record. (Laughs)
There’s a difference between seeing Ghostface on the screen and then working with the guy in full costume. What was it like growing up with an iconic character and then him chasing you down in the scenes?
ER: Scary. I would get freaked out. Running away would get scary. There was a scene where I had to run up some stairs and he was catching up and I almost ate it because I was getting nervous. I was also in heels because I was too short. I’m 5’2 on a good day but I was 5’7 or 5’9 in the movie because I had shoes that weren’t ideal from running away from a serial killer.
HP: You know you’ve got the horror masks nowadays and a lot of them are very gruesome and they’ve got blood and scabs. There is something scary about that mask. It’s simple but even the painting that it’s based off is eerie. It gets you in a way that only the simplistic can make you scared.
Wes Craven tweeted during production that Ghostface scared you off-camera. So can you tell us about the experience and if anybody else got that?
HP: We were doing a scene in the bedroom, thinking Ghostface might be in the closet. You open the closet and he’s not there but then all of a sudden he was there and he wasn’t supposed to be. It was our prop guy, he scared me half to death, then disappeared. I didn’t see him until the next day. He said ” I wanted to come back but I felt so bad!” You try to front that you’re tough and then something jumps out of the closet and you scream.
AA: You know it’s funny because I’m the biggest and the baddest one on set, the loudest and the boisterous. Wes (Craven) did the same thing to me in the exact same scene. I had no idea that’s what he did to her. I’m upstairs in the bedroom of the house, going through the closet and nobody is supposed to be in there. I open up the door and I didn’t know the prop guy’s name but he jumped out in the mask with a knife and scared me shitless to the point of where I soiled myself.
HP: It reeked in the house for awhile.
AA: That’s when I found out Wes does have a sense of humor. He’s a cool dude to work with and for. I didn’t know what to expect, given some of his earlier works, I grew up with The Last House on the Left and his early stuff. To get to opportunity to work with him “Okay, how is he really going to be on set?” I was expecting this weirdo creep and I got a weirdo and a creep but in a great way. Wes is the uncle and the grandfather you want reading bedtime stories to your kids. It was fun to see him in that way and to work with him.
HP: It was interesting because Wes is kind of shy. He’s quiet and then you get to know his sense of humor, and he comes out with all of these one-liners. “Dude, that was really funny.” He makes you feel very comfortable to try different things and throw different things at you. And when you get into something that’s so established like the Scream franchise, sometimes when you step out the box you get nervous to try your own thing. You’re waiting for somebody to escort you down this path and tell you how it’s done. What’s amazing too is the little nuances that go into making a horror movie, things that you don’t even think about doing. Wes would come up and say “Add a little jump there. This slams, add a little jump.” It doesn’t feel right to you, but when it’s all pieced together it’s just such a big part of how the audience can come with you on this journey and feel what the characters are feeling.
So have you ever been in a situation where you were with some friends at night and then somebody gets a mysterious phone call? Or you’re watching a scary movie and–
ER: No, my friends keep calling me doing the voice and saying “What’s your favorite scary movie?” And as much as I know it’s a joke I can’t help but be looking over my shoulder a little bit because it’s creepy.
How easy or hard of a scare are you guys when you’re watching scary movies in your real life. Is it hard to scare you or very easy?
ER: I’m really easily scared. I was covering my eyes through most of Scream 4 and I was in the movie. I saw it with my mom and she said “Honey, I love you but I have to step out for a minute I’m too scared with this.” I said “You’re too scared? It’s me!” and she said “It’s just scary.” I was sitting next to a bunch of people and we were all in our seats with our knees up.
Have any of you successfully scared the living shit out of someone else?
ER: I have a little brother, that’s a given. And vice-versa, I got it back when he got older.
RC: When I was younger I had a Ghostface mask and I stood in my sister’s room in the corner for half an hour before she saw me in the reflection behind her and she freaked out. She was slapping me and I was like “Oh I’m sorry!”
HP: It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to scare someone. You never know because you see some of those “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and this guy pops up on the porch and the guy just nails him in the face. He’s apologizing afterwards but it’s never a good idea to scare some people.
ER: I’m not really good at scaring other people but I get scared so easily. I got scared on set. I mean my sister is ten and she scares me with stupid things like fake spiders so I’m really–
AA: None for me. I grew up in an area where if you screamed to try and scare someone you got your ass whooped. You know, just reflex so we didn’t play those games.
Scream 4 opens April 15. Check it out.