With its deft handling of humor, suspense and horror-movie cliches, the Scream franchise gave a much-needed hit of adrenaline to a flagging horror genre when it debuted in 1996. The series centers on cinema’s ultimate Final Girl, Sidney Prescott, (Neve Campbell), as she becomes the target of a set of tenacious serial killers in her small suburban hometown.
In Scream 4, which opens April 15, Sidney returns to Woodsboro as a successful self-help author on a book tour, and it doesn’t take long before she’s reunited with old friends Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox), and, of course, the latest incarnation of Ghostface.
“I think we’re all amazed that we’re in this drama, really, that is taking place over 15, 16 years. It’s just extraordinary,” director Wes Craven said last week during a press gathering in Hollywood. “I don’t know of another film that has done this, so I think we’re all pretty damn excited about being part of it.”
Arquette was visibly moved when he spoke about what the film franchise has meant to him. “I just love working with all these amazing people and, you know, we’ve developed this family not only, you know, of fellow actors and directors, but, you know, the crew — all of this crew — that we’ve shared 15 years together,” he said.
“Wes was instrumental in us being together,” Cox explained, gesturing to her husband Arquette. “He was, you know, he’s like, kind of our mentor in relationships and growing. And to come back and do it again, it was just really fun.”
Cox also confided that there was another benefit of returning to the franchise after 10 years. “I became closer with Neve during this movie than I did in the first three, and I just enjoy that girl,” she said.
Along with its cast of long-suffering veterans, the latest installment introduces the audience to a new cast of victims and suspects, including Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Emma Roberts (Unfabulous, Nancy Drew), Rory Culkin (Signs, You Can Count On Me) and Anthony Anderson (Law & Order, Transformers).
“It was lovely to have a new cast come in,” Campbell said. “They were great. They came in with great enthusiasm, and they were excited to be a part of it. And as actors I don’t think we really needed to teach them the ropes in any way. They’re all professionals in their own right and did a great job.”
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