SFX|January 2022

When SFX takes a trip into the North Carolina hotel rooms of the cast and crew of Scream, it’s dark outside, there’s a glowing pumpkin and candles are lit. It’s Halloween 2020 and there’s a chill in the air. A chill isn’t the only thing in the air, of course, so it’s little surprise that all those rooms are separate and we’re joining them from London, via Zoom. No stalking Woodsboro for us, sadly. Or maybe that’s a good thing considering there’s a certain masked killer back in town. Yes, again – you can’t keep a good, sorry bad, movie monster down as the fifth instalment hits screams, sorry, screens this month…


How do you make Scream relevant to this generation?

Tyler Gillett: One of the things that’s been exciting to us about all of the Scream movies, the franchise in its entirety, is how it does seem to not only comment on the current state of media and pop culture, but it’s also always wildly prophetic in the way that it does that. For us, the goal first and foremost is to just make something that’s really scary, and really fun. There is a lot, thematically, happening in this movie, but for us it was really about not wanting to make something that was super heavy-handed in terms of the kind of thematics that it was dealing with, but really just a fun, scary popcorn movie. That transcends any specific time or place.

How do you address horror for this generation?

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin: One of the things that the writers Guy [Busick] and Jamie [Vanderbilt] did with this is they really made a point of addressing the current state of horror, much like the original Scream addressed slashers. We fell in love with how well they addressed and dealt with the current state of horror, without it being anything like parody or farce. Not unlike in ’96, horror is not on a downtrend right now. It’s not something passé. It’s another golden era right now and that’s really built into the story in a major, major way.

Spyglass decided it was time to relaunch the franchise. How did it feel to get the gig?

TG: We’re so grateful. It’s one of those franchises that we hold so dear and have since the first movie and to even have the opportunity to pitch on a project like this is an honour. We of course have been involved in things where you pitch and fall in love with it and then you ultimately don’t get the project, and the heartbreak of that with this project would have been, I think, almost impossible to deal with. It’s one of the most incredible honours, I think, of our careers.

How are you managing to keep the secret of who the killer is?

MBO: There are no killers in this one… [Laughs]

TG: There are even members of the cast that don’t yet know who the killers are. We’ve been very careful who has what pieces of information, and part of that is certainly secrecy, but it’s also just like a big whodunnit. So the more people you have involved questioning, and living out the whodunnit in real time, the more fun it is to make.

Remake, reboot, Scream 5 – what’s the official line?

TG: There’s a conversation. Some of it’s about definition, like, “What’s a remake? What’s a reboot? What’s a requel?” For us, we’re not interested in a remake. Wes [Craven, original director] and Kevin [Williamson, original writer] have created this world in such a tight, profoundly beautiful way. Our goal is to move it forward, to grab the baton and tell a new story that is attached in the best possible ways to what came before and hopefully push it forward into some new territory.

MBO: And it’s also kind of fun: the conversation that we’re having right now, the movie has that conversation as well. That’s something that the movie tries to define as well. One of the things we always loved about Scream is that Scream is always talking about itself as it goes on, which is something that is still alive and well.

Did you feel a shadow of Wes Craven when filming?

TG: It’s a blessing. I think that everything that he’s done, all of these films, they’re the reason we’re here. It’s a beautiful feeling to step onto set knowing that we get to follow in those footsteps. Yeah, it’s a lot of responsibility. But it is something that we’re just so reverential about. It matters so much to us that we’re here with the opportunity and that for us, there’s a real feeling that we’re doing this, and we’re telling this story, for the right reasons. Wes is a part of that.

MBO: During this we’re watching Wes Craven interviews all the time. We’re listening to all of the commentaries on the Scream movies, over and over and over.

We’re talking to all of the cast who worked with him on the previous movies, getting stories, hearing what he was like, how he worked, what kind of person he was, and even just through that, it feels like we’re getting to know him in a way, as fans, on a level we never expected – and hopefully that is also seeping into the movie.

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