'Scream' 25 Years Later: The OG Cast Reflects on Its Legacy (Exclusive)
By Rande Iaboni
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It’s been 25 years since since Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox first faced off against the infamous Ghostface killer in 1996’s horror-classic, Scream.
Directed by the late Wes Craven, the genre-bending slasher became an instant hit with critics and audiences alike. Three sequels and a television spinoff later, the franchise -- which grossed more than 600 million worldwide -- is continuing its legacy with a fifth film, aptly titled Scream, slated to hit theaters Jan. 14, 2022.
Paramount Pictures also debuted a new Scream featurette titled 'For Wes' to honor the late director on the film's anniversary.
Campbell, Arquette and Cox are all returning for the highly anticipated sequel -- joined by newcomers Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Jack Quaid (The Boys), Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why) and Jenna Ortega (You), some of whom were not even born when the original debuted!
ET was exclusively on the set of the latest entry, where the OG cast looked back on the original film and reflected on revisiting the franchise all these years later.
“Scream will always be a classic,” Cox remarked, “I want [the fans] to know they’re going to experience a movie that’s very similar to the first one,” she teased of the upcoming sequel. “It’s scarier, probably, than it was 25 years ago. So it’s up to date in a different way.”
At the time of the original, the cast and crew had no idea the franchise would ever go on this long. “I would’ve said you’re crazy!” Campbell admitted with a laugh.
“Never in a million years would I expect it to explode the way it did and then continue the way it has,” original screenwriter Kevin Williamson said. Williamson also penned the second and fourth installments, and is on board as executive producer for the fifth. James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick wrote the latest entry.
“Twenty-five years and doing another Scream, it's really an incredible opportunity to play a character that long,” Arquette said of Dewey Riley. "This is just little snapshots through my life that really had a huge impact on me.”
“It’s an honor to play a really strong woman who is not a victim and who overcomes challenges,” Campbell gushed of her final girl heroine, Sidney Prescott. “I’m always really touched when fans come up to me and tell me that they’ve been inspired somehow or found strength from watching these films. As an actor, it’s always great to be able to give that to people.”
“It’s so much fun to play Gale Weathers,” Cox said of her iconic character. “She’s got definitely two sides to her -- very competitive and ruthless, and then she also has a heart.”
Cox, who was starring on Friends at the time, had to fight for the tough-as-nails role. “I wrote a letter to Wes Craven -- I think I was always known as being so sweet -- and I said, ‘I really can be a b**ch!” Cox previously told ET.
It hit Campbell that she was playing Sidney again after “seeing Courteney and David the first time, and then of course, walking on to the set that looks identical to Stu’s house at Woodsboro” -- referencing Stu Macher’s (Matthew Lillard) home, which served as the backdrop for the thrilling climax of the original film and will be making its return for the first time in the upcoming sequel.
“This is the first Scream film without Wes and it’s been really tough,” Arquette admitted. Craven, who directed every previous entry in the franchise, died in 2015 -- but the master of suspense’s presence will definitely be felt.
“The movie is a love letter to Wes, it’s a tribute in a beautiful way. They have a really nice tribute planned for him and I don’t want to give it away but the movie is 100 percent dedicated to Wes Craven,” Williamson promised.
Campbell echoed those statements, telling ET that the directors, Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, were huge fans of Craven. “They expressed to me that they are filmmakers because of Wes so they really have directed this movie in keeping with Wes’ energy and in honor of him and I think they’ve done an amazing job.”
Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin landed the film following the success of their 2019 thriller, Ready or Not.
The fate of the surviving trio is being kept tightly under wraps -- as always with any Scream film -- but the actors believe the franchise still has staying power regardless.
“I actually do think Scream will be able to live on,” Arquette replied when asked about the film’s legacy. “When you start something like Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven did, and really grounded it in this iconic character (Ghostface) that’s now sort of on the Mount Rushmore of horror characters, you know it will have life.”
“It would seem people aren’t getting bored of these films,” Campbell shared with a laugh. “I know when I see fans they’re always asking me when we’re going to make another one.”
The original Scream was released by Paramount Home Entertainment for the first time on 4K Ultra HD and in a newly remastered Blu-ray on Oct 19.
The fifth Scream is only in theaters Jan. 14, 2022.