Fifteen years after Scream began with a terrifying phone call that kicked off one of the most successful horror film franchises, director Wes Craven, writer Kevin Williamson, and stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette have all reunited for to renew the Ghostface legacy in Scream 4.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette talked about playing these characters for 15 years now, the challenges of bringing the Scream franchise to a newer and more savvy audience, working with a horror icon like Wes Craven, working with the new cast that was brought in this time around, and whether they cover their own eyes during horror films. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Here’s the synopsis:
Sidney Prescott (Campbell) is now the author of a very successful self-help book about overcoming personal trauma, and she returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. While there, she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey (Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Cox), who are now married, along with her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell) and cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), whose friends are all afraid to be around the seemingly cursed Sidney. As Sidney’s appearance – which also happens to be the anniversary of the original Ghostface murders – brings about the return of Ghostface, no one in the town of Woodsboro is safe, as all of the rules have changed.
Question: Neve, was it easy to get back into character, after 10 years?
NEVE CAMPBELL: Yeah. It’s been 15 years now that we’ve been doing these characters, so it was not difficult to jump into. I had fun watching the films again, before we started this, just to get a sense of it. It was really nice to see that they still held up really well. But, no, it wasn’t difficult to get into character. With Sidney, it’s just imagining her circumstances and doing it.
Courtney, did playing a journalist give you a new point of view of journalists?
COURTENEY COX: Well, I’m playing a different kind of journalist. It’s more about Gale wanted her own fame, and she always did. So, 10 years later, when the murders start happening again, she just wants to get really involved so that she can write her book and become more famous. She has a one-track mind. I like playing someone who’s so selfish. It’s fun, but it’s a different kind of journalism. It’s really about fame for her, and a lot of it. She does want to tell the truth and get it out there, but she’s pretty silly, in some ways.
What are the challenges in bringing this story to a newer audience now?
DAVID ARQUETTE: We’ve done these films for 15 years, and we’ve all made connections. This fourth film is bringing the first one back to life and having fun with it. There’s been 10 years, since the last one, with different horror films in between and changes in technology. It’s just really exciting. With the new cast coming to this, it was really interesting to see because they were reflections of us, when we first got there. It really brings an electricity with this, that I felt on the first film. I think that people now are going to discover the old films. I was talking to my friend’s girlfriend the other day, and she was nine when she snuck in to see the first Scream. She’s horrified of horror movies now, and she can’t even see this one. Now, she’s a 20-something-year-old woman. It’s so wild, the way time flies.
Wes Craven has a real gift for keeping his films scary and fun in sequels, which is really rare in horror films. What do you think the secret ingredient is, that makes his movies so consistently scary?
COX: He’s an amazing filmmaker. He’s made four of these particular films now, and he’s always watching. He’s so current on everything. I don’t even know what MySpace is, but he’s watching learning. He’s constantly bettering himself and his mind. And, the way he directs Ghostface, and the way he has him tilt his head, is so eerie. There’s something about Wes. He’s like a choreographer, when it comes to Ghostface. He’s just a great director.
CAMPBELL: It’s about shots, timing and music. Marco [Beltrami] has done the music for all of the films. Wes found him on the Internet, and he’s now become this phenomenal composer who’s very successful. Wes has a really great eye and ear, and taste in people, with the casting, writing and all the people who get involved in the film. He’s also just phenomenal with timing, humor and scaring people.
ARQUETTE: He actually made a swinging houseplant very scary in this film. That takes incredible talent.
With a film like this, how do you take the darkness off when you’re done?
COX: You take a hot shower.
CAMPBELL: We were having fun during the film. We would often just go have dinner and have a nice glass of wine and have some laughs. Even during it, you’re not feeling like it’s this really intense 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 self-referential and they make fun of themselves.
COX: If it was like a devil-possessed kind of movie, I probably wouldn’t do it because I’d be so scared. With this, you just need to get the corn syrup off and hope that someone’s ready to hang out.
In watching horror films, when you get to the scary part, are your eyes fully open or partially closed, and are you a screamer?
COX: The last two.
ARQUETTE: I just get a kick out of watching the audience. 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.
CAMPBELL: These films are a roller coaster ride. I think they’re great fun to watch. I usually cover my eyes and scream and cry during horror films. But, these films are just great fun.
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 of celebrity has changed over the years, and what do you think the public sees celebrity as?
CAMPBELL: 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. I think the mentality has definitely changed, and that’s a bit sad, but it is what it is. People love reality television, and we love the gossip magazines. Maybe because there isn’t a royal family here, and we’re not too impressed with our politicians, we look for other things to look up to. Whether that’s healthy or not, I don’t know, but it’s definitely switched.
What was it like for you guys, as the original cast, to work with the new cast for this film?
CAMPBELL: It was great! Courteney and I looked at each other and were like, “We could be their mothers!”
COX: I could be their grandmother!
CAMPBELL: But, they were good. They came to the project with so much enthusiasm. People keep asking whether we had to show them the ropes, but they’re professionals in their own rights. They’ve had long careers already, at young ages, and they came in and they did a great job.