Today, we’re diving into one of the most essential ingredients for any movie, “Scream” or otherwise — the cast. While the first three outings of Craven’s genre-defying slasher series relied quite heavily on three central figures — Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Officer Dewey Riley (David Arquette) — this latest round needed some new blood to spill as well.
“We wanted to find someone who has the ability, the charisma and the chops depending on what each individual character has to go through and come up with as an actor,” Craven told us of the sequel’s casting process. “Some of these roles call for comic timing, others call for extraordinary physicality. There are things they had to be able to do that we needed to see in the audition.”
But searching for these key ingredients wasn’t so easy. In order to preserve the secrecy of “Scream 4’s” storyline, Craven and his fellow creative masterminds provided auditioning actors with pages from the original “Scream,” not the latest one.
“We had a rather strange situation of doing all of the auditions using pages from the first ’Scream,’ and trying to transpose in our minds that this actor is reading the lines of Billy Loomis. In some cases, the actor might have been a different age or gender from the thing that they read,” he revealed. “It was a strange process and, in some ways, hard for the actors to guess what the hell we were looking for, because we wouldn’t show anybody the script.”
As the casting process trucked along, Craven would supply certain actors with actual scenes from “Scream 4,” but only “when we were sure we had an actor who wouldn’t be giving things away.” Despite the somewhat roundabout audition search, Craven maintains that “in some ways it worked. Obviously we got a great cast out of it!”
But no matter how important it was to secure a new generation of victims and murder suspects to fall prey to the resurgent Ghostface, it was equally critical to get the holy trinity of the “Scream” series — Campbell, Cox and Arquette — back together for another scare. I asked Wes if he felt that “Scream 4” would have worked without all three of these actors reprising their iconic roles, or only a few of them. His answer shouldn’t surprise you.
“We certainly felt that [having all three] would be the full force version,” he explained. “We were keenly aware that in ’Scream 3,’ we didn’t have access to [Neve] for very long, because she had previous commitments. I think that movie, in some ways, suffered from the lack of that character being more integral to the plot. But we very much wanted everybody back. Those are such central characters. It was very important to us.”
And they’re very important to us too, Wes — so please, give ’em a happy ending, will ya?
What do you think of the “Scream 4” cast? Would you have been interested in another sequel without Campbell, Cox and Arquette? Tell us what you think in the comments section and on Twitter, and stay with us all week for more Wes Craven!