Category: Scream 4

Wes Craven on How Online Spoilers Have Shaped Scream

Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011

The fourth Scream arrives Friday, with a reliably meta script (the plot hinges on the characters’ knowledge of new slasher-film conventions, which include the recent trend of franchise reboots) and a few fresh horrors of its own. Still, despite the reunited cast and crew, it wasn’t all smooth sailing: Reports of behind-the-scenes squabbling escalated after screenwriter Kevin Williamson was replaced, as he had been on Scream 3, by Ehren Kruger. We asked Wes Craven, director of all four Screams, about that — and about how you keep a whodunit from being spoiled in the age of Twitter.

Does it worry you that so much of the essence of a Scream movie is that it’s a whodunnit, but now Twitter can spoil those secrets on the very first day of release?
It does bother me, but that’s the facts of life. I think it’s always been true of any whodunnit — it’s just that the information can spread so much more rapidly now.

The Scream 2 script actually leaked onto the Internet way back in the day, right?
We weren’t very far along in the process, but it was the very first pages Kevin sent us, the first 40 pages of the first draft of his script. They were terrific and we were celebrating, and then someone called up later that day and said, “They’re on the Internet.” And the only place they’d been was at his agency, so we figured it was someone in the Xerox room, that somebody decided it would be cool to put it on the Internet. It totally ruined that version of the script, frankly. We had to go back and change everything, and it set us back about two months. Kind of a pain in the neck, and thereafter, we had scripts with a big purple stripe down the middle that covered the dialogue so you could barely read it and if you Xeroxed it, it would turn out black.

Have you become more sanguine about spoilers since then? No pun intended.
Sanguine … that’s my job! [Laughs.] We do have a positive approach to it now. When I make appearances, I tell the fans that this is not cool, that it hurts the process. We also are very, very careful. For the first time on this movie, we did all the auditions without using actual pages from the script.

Because the casting sides leak on the Internet?
An actor could not get the role and say, “Screw them, I’m putting it on the Internet!” So [the actors] only read scenes from Scream 1, and then you had to extrapolate from that, “I think they can do this role.” But yeah, those are sort of significant dings in the process.

How satisfied were you with the franchise after making Scream 3?
I felt pretty good. I enjoyed Scream 3, even if a lot of critics said that they didn’t think it was as good as the other two. Part of that may have been Kevin’s availability, and part of that was that Neve wasn’t available to be in as much of it as normally. She really is the heart and soul of it, so that hurt it a bit. I did feel that it would be good to come back and do a real hard-hitting one that was serious and had the core characters in it.

You have made a lot of movies with not just these actors, but with these producers, and this writer. So why did the movie go through such behind-the-scenes turmoil? Why did Ehren Kruger replace Kevin Williamson, and why did you say that this wasn’t your movie?
Well, I never said that it wasn’t my movie — I said there was trouble with the writing process, and that’s just a fact. Certainly, I had an enormous amount of input into it, and didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do. For one reason or another, Bob [Weinstein] kept ultimate control of the script, and he had much more contact with Ehren Kruger, but then they’re close friends. By the time Ehren was writing, I was already kind of shooting. It was a difficult script to figure out, but Kevin was the one who laid out the master plan and all the characters and scenes, the beginning and almost all of the ending. What we had to figure out was the relationships of the characters, how Courteney and David would intermingle with the kids. That was the tricky thing. I also didn’t have Courteney for more than a month, so I had to figure out how to use all of her time in places where we didn’t even know what was going to happen yet, like in the ending. But you know, that’s not unusual for the Scream series, with the exception of the first one. There was always a process of working on the script all the way through the picture.

I know that Kevin Williamson was very, very unhappy when Ehren Kruger was brought in to write Scream 3. It can’t have been a happy thing for Kevin to get replaced again by Ehren on this movie.
I don’t think he was replaced. It came to a position where Kevin literally had to get back to his show, where he was legally bound to get back to his show.

There were rumors that Kevin was leaking word to the site Zap2It that he had been fired and that the actors were unhappy with the script changes.
I wasn’t privy to that at all. And I wouldn’t lie about that.

The Saw movies seem to be trending down at the same time as ghost stories like Paranormal Activity are coming back into vogue. You’ve been at this for a long time. Are certain types of horror movies cyclical?
Part of it is that when there’s a very successful horror movie, it’ll sort of launch a new wave. Since Paranormal Activity was so successful and cheap to make, there will be a lot more of those, and the Saw movies are sort of nearing the end after a tremendous run. I mean, how many limbs can you separate from somebody? [Laughs.] I think that ghost stories like Paranormal Activity are much, much safer for studios to make, because the problems with censorship are lower. People may die or dissolve into goo, but normally, there’s not a knife involved. But yeah, I think the horror genre’s very cyclical. There’s usually a brilliant idea, and then there’s a series of sequels that get farther and farther from the originality of the first one. When I made Nightmare on Elm Street, Bob Shaye said to me, “You know, Wes, there’s a formula for sequels: They should have a budget that’s two-thirds of the original, and then the next sequel should be two-thirds of that.”

Things have definitely changed since then!
No, it doesn’t work that way anymore. The nice thing about doing the Screams is that Bob [Weinstein] actually increased the budgets, so we always had really good casts and serious production values.

Did you see the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street?
No.

Was that by design?
Yeah, basically. Nobody called me, and I wouldn’t have wanted them to have. In a way, I think it’s appropriate that they did it on their own. When I sold the film to New Line, basically the deal was that they owned it forever, as opposed to Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, where we found out after 30 years that our original contracts called for them to come back to us. I was like, “Really?” [Laughs.] We went into storage and dug up the old contracts and said, “My God, we own it again!” So that was a whole different thing because we were able to control the process of the remakes and had an interesting time with the young directors.

You mentioned the ratings board earlier. Did you run into any trouble getting an R for Scream 4?
No! I certainly didn’t pull any punches, and I did things that I thought would get us into trouble, like [a particularly bloody] death, for instance. And then I went to them, and we got an R without any contest. I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. I can only think that after the Saw films and everything, ours suddenly seemed acceptable.

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Courteney and David’s First Post-Split Red Carpet Interview

Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011

“The Insider”‘s Nicole Dabeau was on the scene at the ‘Scream 4’ premiere in Hollywood on Monday night, getting some surprising details on David Arquette and Courteney Cox’s relationship.

“I love her with all my heart but people change and you sort of take times at your life where you have to evaluate if this is working for both of you,” said David. “What we are doing is treating each other with respect and kindness.”

David spilled that he and Courteney still co-run their Coquette production company and are developing a TV game show.

When we relayed David’s comments to Courteney she seemed open to the possibility of the estranged couple getting back together, saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I love him so much.”

On whether fans can look forward to a ‘Scream 5,’ Courteney said, “If [‘Scream 4’] does well, I’m sure they’ll make one.”

Check out the video to hear more from Courteney and David and then be sure to check out ‘Scream 4’ when it slashes into theaters April 15.

Being A “Scream” Fan Keeps Courteney Coming Back For More

Monday, Apr 11, 2011
This Friday, Courteney Cox reunites with Wes Craven, her estranged husband David Arquette, and Neve Campbellfor Scream 4. The last Scream movie, Scream 3, was released in 2000. Since then, so much has changed in Cox’s career.  She has co-starred in several movies, and currently stars on the ABC comedy series, Cougar Town. When we caught up with Cox, she told us what drew her back to the Scream franchise.
Click Here to hear Courteney’s audio!

‘David and I have a special bond’: Courteney Cox

Saturday, Apr 9, 2011

Courteney Cox is in mid-sentence when her two cavalier king charles spaniels, Harley and Hopper, enter her hotel suite in Los Angeles’s Mondrian hotel. No doubt overexcited by their surroundings, they then engage in what can most politely be termed a spot of canine coupling. Courteney shoots them an admonishing glance before conceding, ‘Well, this is a sexy hotel. You can’t exactly blame them.’

It’s just the sort of quip that Monica in Friends would have come up with, had the TV series that catapulted Courteney to worldwide fame ever chosen to film a scene featuring amorous dogs. And just as fans adored her character, you find yourself warming to Courteney after a very short space of time.

I’ve been told that she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing subjects of a personal nature, so it’s a surprise to find her so engaging and open – just the qualities that one would assume would make her such a good, well, friend. Her rat-a-tat conversation races from one topic to the next and she admits that she’s ‘high anxiety and my brain’s constantly going. I’m probably burning calories just talking to you right now.’

On today’s evidence, stray calories probably have a very short shelf life around Courteney. Dressed in a black trouser suit and flesh-toned blouse, she looks terrific
– and, at 46, far younger than her years.

‘I’m not going to say that I eat loads of carbs and don’t do any exercise because that would be lying,’ she says. ‘I eat healthily and I work out as much as I can. We’re all going to age – I plucked a white eyebrow the other day…there’s a lot of white things happening at the moment! But I read somewhere that the skin breathes at night, so I really take care to remove my make-up and moisturise in the evening.

‘Sleep’s important to me, too, and when I’ve slept well, I look better, and even if I don’t, I think I do, which helps,’ she laughs. Having tried Botox in the past, she admits that, ‘Sometimes they do too much or you end up looking weird, and so having Botox doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.’

Neve Campbell on her bond with Courteney Cox

Saturday, Apr 9, 2011

Neve talked about her bond with Courteney in a recent interview..

Had you stayed in touch with Wes Craven, Courteney Cox and David Arquette and other people from the original movies? Or had you lost touch?

Campbell: We’d lost touch a bit. Time goes by, and I was living in England. . . . It’s hard to keep in touch with everybody that you’ve worked with.

Courteney and I definitely bonded on this one more than we had on the others, and we’re not really sure why we didn’t get to do that before. But it seemed like we had more time together on this film. We really enjoyed each other’s company — it was great. So we’ve been in better touch now. I love David and Courteney. They’re fantastic people. And Wes is a beautiful, beautiful man. A wonderful director.

Why did you and Courteney bond more? Did you have more screen time together in this film?

Campbell: No, we didn’t have that many scenes together. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s that on the first film it would seem that our age gap was larger at the time. I was 21 at the time, she was a bit older and maybe we had less things to relate on. But also on those films, she was spending more time with David and on this one, he had actually a lot more scenes with other characters. So he was off working, and she and I found time with each other and got to know each other better. It was really nice. She’s a wonderful woman.

There are two groups of actors in “Scream 4”: the veterans who have been in the previous films and this whole group of new, younger actors. Was it like high school, where one group sits at one table in the cafeteria and the other group sits at another table, or was it easy to merge the two?

Campbell: No, we all got along. They’re all professionals in their own right. It was funny at the read-through, though. Courteney and I were sitting next to each other, and we looked at each other and said, “We could be their mothers.” Young moms, but we could.

They’re great. As I said, they’re all professional in their own right. They’ve all had careers — Rory [Culkin] and Emma [Roberts] and Hayden [Panetierre] have all been working for a while, and they knew what they were doing. They all came in with a great amount of enthusiasm. And they’re good kids, good people. So we had fun.

Campbell: No, we all got along. They’re all professionals in their own right. It was funny at the read-through, though. Courteney and I were sitting next to each other, and we looked at each other and said, “We could be their mothers.” Young moms, but we could.

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Cast Of Scream 4 Interview

Friday, Apr 8, 2011

Horror icon Wes Craven chomps at the bit to direct Scream 4, bringing back original cast members Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette.  They all sat down with Buzzine to talk about the horror genre, the terror of Ghostface, and the brilliance behind Craven’s direction of the killer.

 

Izumi Hasegawa: Wes, you seem to hit on some new rules of the Internet age that even I wasn’t aware of. How did you and Kevin [Williamson] go about identifying and creating those rules?
Wes Craven: We both spent a lot of time on the Internet; I think that’s most of our lives. We’ve outgrown that now. [Laughs] I don’t know. We’re just clever fellows. I think old fogies like myself and, to a lesser extent, Kevin use all of those things now, like it or not. Once you start using them, you have to think of the possibilities of how they could be misused too.
IH: Do you think they affect how we watch movies now?
WC: Very much. If you’re in a theater today, people are texting all around you. The little glowing screens–that’s just one example of how annoying it can be.
IH: Courteney, you play a journalist just like me. Has that given you a new point of view? What was it like to play a journalist?
Coureney Cox: I think I’m playing a different kind of journalist, not like you; I’m playing one that wants her own fame, and she always did, so when, ten years later, the murders start happening, she just wants to get really involved so she can write her book and become more famous. She has a one-track mind. I like that part of playing someone who’s so selfish. It’s fun. But it’s a different kind of journalism; it’s really about fame for her, a lot of it, and telling the truth and getting it out there. But she’s pretty silly in some ways.
IH: You haven’t played these characters for a while. Was it easy to get all the mannerisms and the way of speaking back?
Neve Campbell: It’s been 15 years now we’ve been doing these characters, so not difficult to jump into. I had fun watching the films again before we started this, just to get a sense of it, and it was really nice to see that they still hold up really well. But no, it wasn’t difficult to get into the characters. With Sidney, it’s just imagining her circumstances and doing it.
CC: You always play it so real. Neve was so good.
NC: Thanks. So were you.
IH: Wes, I read that you were tweeting fans locally in the town you were shooting in. What kinds of things did you tweet, and what lengths did you go to in order to keep everything under wraps in terms of all the secrets?
WC: Those are two separate things. Keeping things secret was spy work. We did original casting, obviously. Didn’t have to go through it with these guys, but with hundreds of young actors reading pages from the script, we couldn’t have them read pages from the actual script, so we had them reading pages from Scream 1, which was kind of bizarre. But I don’t think we ever read actors with actual pages from the script. There were a lot of things like that that were kind of annoying but necessary to keep things secret. The tweeting was…we did everything from a contest for getting posters for the film as the posters became ready, to having contests for people to identify photographs of weird bugs that we took off of the set when we were shooting at night and all these strange bugs would be falling out of the sky. We kept the fans aware that we were filming and that we knew they were out there. I have to say, it was very intriguing to see how quickly people answered. Our co-producer, Carly Feingold, got it all really rolling for me. People were answering within 30 seconds, 15 seconds sometimes, from Germany, other parts of the world, so it made me realize that even the process of filming, how different this reality was from even e-mails. Just much, much quicker and worldwide.
IH: Wes, since we’re talking about rules in this movie, do you think horror movies will always be bound by those rules, or is there a way to break it?
WC: I think the very essence of the Scream films is that we break the rules. We establish or state what the rules are, and then we immediately break them. That started right in Scream 1 when you say, “I’ll be right back,” and you’ll die, and the person who says that is one of the killers. If you have sex, you’ll die, and Neve’s character has the first sexual encounter of her life, and she’s one of the survivors, actually. We like to establish what the rules are, but they’re really the clichés, and as soon as they’re stated in the Scream films, we almost always break them. It makes the audience not know what to expect next. If they think they know what the rules are, we immediately say, “No, you don’t.”
IH: How do you work it out to where you take the darkness off of the film when you’re done? Do you go do fun things with your kids? Do you go to a spa, or make a kids’ movie or something? What do you do to get the Scream film off of you?
CC: You take a hot shower.
NC: We were having fun during the filming. We would often just go and have dinner and a nice glass of wine and have some laughs, so even during it, you’re not feeling like it’s this really intense experience or dark experience, because there’s a lot of humor in these films as well. You can’t take them incredibly seriously. Part of the fun of these is that they’re so self-referential and make fun of themselves.
CC: If it was a devil-possessed kind of movie, I probably wouldn’t do it because I’d be so scared. This one, you just need to get the corn syrup off and hope that someone’s ready to hang out.
IH: What are the challenges in bringing the story to a newer audience? You’ve got a long established fan base, but you’ve got this new audience now…
David Arquette: It’s really interesting. We’ve done these for 15 years, and the connection we’ve all made and that this fourth film is bringing to life the first one, and having fun with it…and there’s been 10 years in between with different horror films and technology changes. It’s just really exciting. I think, with the new cast coming to this, it was really interesting to see because they’re reflections of us when we first got there. It really brings an electricity that I felt on the first film with this, and I think people with that generation are going to discover the old stuff. I was talking to my friend’s girlfriend the other day, who was nine when she snuck in to see the first Scream, and she’s horrified of horror movies now, and she can’t even see the next one. This is a 20-something-year-old woman. It’s so wild, the way time flies.
IH: Wes, everyone knows you’re a master of horror, and nobody can take that from you…
WC: Oh yes they can. Have you read the reviews of my last movie?
IH: People have been questioning the stuff you’ve been doing the last year. I’m concerned about the way that fans, general audiences, and critics are going to react to this movie. Is that something that still makes you nervous? Also, there have been some rumors on the Internet that there have been a lot of changes to the script. Are you satisfied with the results of the script that you finally used for the movie?
WC: We’re all pleased with the way the script turned out, and it was the result of Kevin [Williamson]’s original master script, and Aaron did a decent amount of work on specific scenes and areas of it. I wrote sections of the film myself, but it very much is Kevin’s concept and characters and situations and overarching framework for the film. As far as worrying about what people think, yeah, you do a film like My Soul to Take and people think it sucks – that hurts. We put a lot of work into it and it’s a good film, but you go on. The good feeling about doing this film was getting back with old friends, working on something that I thought was really good, and having a chance of being a little bit more recognizable to an audience, and saving my career.

 

IH: I think everyone would agree that Wes has a real gift for keeping his films scary and fun in sequels, which is really rare in horror films. What do you think is the secret ingredient that makes his movies so consistently scary?
CC: He’s an amazing filmmaker. He is the master of this – he’s made three of these films now, four of this particular film, and he’s always watching. He’s so current on everything. I don’t even know what MySpace is; he’s watching things and learning. He’s constantly bettering himself, his mind. He’s amazing. And the way he directs Ghostface – the way he has his head, “Tilt his head!” – it’s so eerie. There’s something about Wes; he’s just like a choreographer when it comes to Ghostface. He’s just a great director.
NC: Shots and timing and music. Wes just told me today that Marco [Beltrami] did all of the films, and Wes found him on the Internet, and he’s now become this phenomenal composer and very successful. Wes has a really great eye and ear and taste in casting, writing, and all the people who get involved in the film. He’s also just phenomenal with timing, humor, and with scaring people.
DA: He actually made a swinging houseplant very scary in this film. That takes incredible talent.
IH: When watching horror films and you come to the scary part, are your eyes fully open or partially closed? Are you a screamer?
CC: The last two.
DA: I just get a kick out of watching the audience too. I love when you go to a horror film with real horror fans, and everybody’s there watching, getting involved and screaming. That’s when it’s most alive and exciting for me. Wes brings that out in these films.
NC: These films are a rollercoaster ride; I think they’re great fun to watch. I usually cover my eyes and scream and cry during horror films. But like David was saying, they’re just great fun.
IH: The movie touches upon the theme of celebrity, how people perceive it, and what people do to achieve it. How do you think the definition has changed over the years, and what do you think the public sees celebrity as?
NC: It’s definitely shifted with reality television. It’s much easier for people to become famous nowadays, and not for a whole lot of anything. So I think the mentality has definitely changed. I think that’s a bit sad. But it is what it is, and people love reality television, and we love the gossip magazines. We’re not too impressed with our politicians, and we look for other things to look up to in some way. Whether that’s healthy, I don’t know, but it’s definitely switched.
IH: Neve, David and Courteney, what do you think about playing alongside Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts, the newcomers?
NC: It’s great! Courteney and I looked at each other and were like, “We could be their mothers.”
CC: Grandmother.
NC: But they were good. They came with so much enthusiasm to the project. People keep asking whether we had to show them the ropes, and they’re professionals in their own right; they’ve had long careers already at young ages, and they came in and they did a great job.
IH: How did the idea of a script come after ten years? Is there going to be a script for Scream 5?
WC: Through time travel? How it came about, I don’t know. How do these things come about? Bob Weinstein, of the two Weinstein brothers, is kind of a godfather of Scream; he’s the man who bought the original script from Kevin. I think he and Kevin were talking, and he felt it was time. He originally told us, I think after Scream 3, that there were not going to be any more for a long time, that he didn’t want it to feel like we were just knocking them out to make money, and of course there was the Scary Movie sequence, the series, so we needed to get some distance from that. But I think, at the end of the decade, there was a feeling that this was the perfect time to turn around and look at the first decade of the 21st century, and it was quite distinctive from others – 9/11 hovering over things, and certainly the presence of the electronic media being brought down to the people to the level where everybody is online, everybody can Facebook, people are tweeting all over the world, all the time. It’s totally different. So it was time to take that into account. At the same time, the cinema was changing very much. You weren’t just watching movies. I have a step-daughter that’s 20 years-old — she’s watching movies on her computer or her phone. The whole business, as you well know, is changing dramatically, and the way fans follow the movies and participate in the movies and make their own movies to emulate those movies is profoundly different. So it felt like this is time to make a screenplay that can reflect all this newness.

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