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Interview: ‘Scream’ Ensemble Cast Is Just As Ready As You Are

The new year is starting off with a new Scream. The fifth installment of the fan-favorite slasher franchise is set to hit theaters on January 14. Though simply named Scream, the new movie promises new thrills and the same entertainment we all enjoyed over the years.

It’s been over a decade since Scream 4, and the excitement is palpable.

“I feel like I’m living in a fantasy world,” Jenna Ortega (You, Stuck in the Middle) said on being casted. “I’ve just been having such an amazing time that it’s almost too good to be true. And especially to be part of a franchise that I respect so much and have such an immense amount of love for. It’s such an amazing feeling.”

The Scream 5 trailer is finally here, and it looks terrifying
Jenna Ortega is excited. (Courtesy of Spyglass Media Group)

Jack Quaid (The Boys, The Hunger Games) chimed in on the excitement of being part of such a franchise: “I was just excited to be in a Scream movie period because it’s kind of a gateway drug to horror. It’s a celebration of horror, so I’m just very happy to be here.”

And for cast members like Jasmin Savoy Brown, the excitement went beyond just the genre. “I’m especially excited as a queer Black woman to get to fully play myself on screen,” Savoy Brown shared. “To get to play a queer character is really cool, especially in this world.”

When I warned her about what happens to Black people and queer people in horror movies, Brown didn’t seem phased at all. “What I think is really cool about the Scream franchise [is it’s] very self-aware. And they do it in a funny way and a scary way. And Matt, Tyler, and Chad are just brilliant. Just trust them, and you’ll have a lot of fun.”

And she’s right, of course. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpen and Tyler Gillet and producers William Sherak and Chad Villella—the creative team behind the gamechangers Ready or Not (2019) and V/H/S (2012)—assured us of their dedication to honor the late Wes Craven’s legacy while also capturing a new audience in their own interview.

Melissa Barrera gave me some insight on the balance between old and new: “I think the fans are going to be satisfied and happy because of the way that we’re honoring the previous films, but [the movie is] also gonna give them a fresh take on it, and hopefully, invite a whole new generation of Scream fans to join.”

Part of the excitement on set was also that the cast got different scripts and sometimes couldn’t even get full versions of that script. Marley Shelton (Scream 4, The Sandlot), who played Deputy Judy Hicks in the last movie, described how that worked for us: “It’s interesting the way we’re approaching this. The filmmakers are not revealing who the killer is. We’ve only been given up to page 77 of the movie. And the idea is that, in a Scream movie, everyone is a suspect or a potential victim. You just don’t know.”

Ghostface and Neve Campbell are back in the first Scream 5 trailer |
Everyone is a suspect…or a victim. (Courtesy of Spyglass Media Group)

This secrecy goes even to the top of the cast. When I asked David Arquette (Scream, Sharkboy and Lavagirl) if he read the full script, Arquette joked, “I’ve read several.”

“I think that no one really knows what’s real or not,” Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why, Goosebumps) said. Minnette is no stranger to acting scared with at least three other scary movies on his resume. Still, Minnette said, “I think this is the most lighthearted one that I’ve done, in a sense. Because there is a sense of levity to the tone of the whole franchise. So, I feel like I’ve been able to have more fun in the process of shooting.”

Perhaps the scariest thing on set was the global pandemic, but it presented a unique opportunity for the cast, as they had to quarantine together for two weeks prior to shooting. “I think the COVID protocols have just made it a very intimate environment. I think that’s how we all got to know each other very well right from the start. We all like each other a lot,” Mikey Madison (The Addams Family, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) shared.

“And I think that will translate on screen very beautifully,” Brown added.

And I think she’s right.

Scream hits theaters January 14.

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