'Scream' Star Jasmin Savoy Brown on Playing the Film Franchise's First Queer Character (Exclusive)

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Over 25 years after the original Scream first slashed its way into theaters, franchise newcomer Jasmin Savoy Brown is making history as the films’ first out LGBTQ character. In the fifth installment, simply titled Scream, the 27-year-old queer star, best known for her roles on The Leftovers and Yellowjackets, plays Mindy Meeks-Martin alongside a diverse and inclusive cast that also includes Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera and Mason Gooding, who plays Brown’s twin brother, Chad.  

“It’s a huge honor,” Brown tells ET’s Matt Cohen. “But also, feels so right because it’s not that big of a deal to me. It just reflects who I am in my family life. And so many actors get to do that with various pieces of their identity, whether it’s being straight or, fill in the blank. So, I’m being a version of myself onscreen, in Scream.”

She adds, “When I think about the impact, it is a big deal.” 

Created by writer Kevin Williamson, the producer responsible for Dawon’s Creek and other hit teen series, and director Wes Craven, writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick as well as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett take over the franchise with the fifth film. 

Despite Williamson, who related to the genre’s final girl as a gay kid growing up, saying that the Scream movies “are coded in gay survival,” the franchise has had a spotty history with LGBTQ representation.

Prior to Mindy, Scream 2 made a verbal mention that a minor character, police officer Richard Andrews (Philip Pavel), is gay and the Scream 4 ensemble includes Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudsen), whose identity is hotly debated thanks to his final line, “I’m gay… I mean, if it helps.” The fourth film’s cast at least includes scream queen Anna Paquin and Nico Tortorella, who later came out as sexually fluid and now uses they/them pronouns.

MTV’s series adaptation of the franchise, meanwhile, was far more queer-friendly and has featured a few LGBTQ characters and stars. But Brown is the first out performer to play a canonically out character, who gets to express her identity and sexuality on the big screen. 

“I’m especially grateful to the filmmakers for allowing me to bring myself to this project,” Brown continues. “I got to collaborate on a lot of the scenes and I got to bring some of my wardrobe, and that really brings Mindy’s identity to life. And that wouldn’t have happened if they weren’t so awesome.”

Scream
Paramount Pictures

In the latest film, which arrives over a decade after Scream 4 and will surely revitalize the franchise with its fresh take on the familiar story about a group of high school teens being terrorized by a masked killer, Brown also plays the niece of Randy (Jamie Kennedy), who was killed off in Scream 2

Mindy and her brother, Chad, pick up the famously meta conversation about the horror genre first originated by Randy, a legacy character who appeared in the first two films alongside Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette). (The three long-standing stars eventually reunite in the small town of Woodsboro when the killings start back up again.)  

That relationship gave Brown and Gooding the unique opportunity to bring Randy back to life in subtle ways. “There are moments where we have the same mannerisms,” says Brown, who admittedly had not seen any of the films prior to making this one. “In my defense, I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of things growing up… Then, when I actually booked the job, I was like, ‘OK. I guess I’ll see what it’s all about.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh. This is a big deal.’”   

Thankfully, Gooding is a diehard fan and had a deep understanding of the character. “Randy to me was something I felt I conceptualized prior to even working on Scream. But something I wanted to make sure I could get a grasp on was how Jasmin operated through conversation,” he says, sharing that “it came naturally on set.”  

Not only that, but the two were able to take advantage of the bubble they were living in during filming, which took place in Wilmington, North Carolina amid the pandemic, to create the sibling bond that permeates the screen. “On top of that, we love each other,” Brown gushes.


Scream premieres in theaters on Friday. 

 

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