Behind-The-Scenes Details From The 'Scream' Franchise
Scream took horror fans by storm when it premiered in 1996, taking on the genre's tropes head-on and turning them upside down. Since then, four more Scream films have reunited core characters while adding even more people and places to the franchise lore.
While there are plenty of eagle-eyed viewers who have picked out facts about the movies, the actors have more anecdotal Scream behind-the-scenes facts to share with adoring fans.
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It Was Drew Barrymore Who Suggested She Die In The First 15 Minutes Of 'Scream'
Scream broke a lot of rules of the horror genre, but it also attempted to trick audiences by casting Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker and using her predominately in the advertising for the film. Initially, Barrymore was signed on to play the movie's lead, Sidney Prescott. Barrymore changed her mind and decided she would rather take on the role of Casey, fulfilling screenwriter Kevin Williamson's hopes of having a big-name actor take on the part:
I wanted it to be this big, huge Janet Leigh moment. And then when she dies, you’re like, “Wait a second. Wasn’t she on the poster? Wait. What’s going to happen next?”
From that point on in the movie and eventually the franchise, fans knew any of their beloved characters could be killed at any time.
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Drew Barrymore Accidentally Called 911 For Real, Which Alerted The Cops
Drew Barrymore worked five days to film her 15 minutes of the film, squeezing all of the screaming, hyperventilating, and terror into a short period of time. While on this tight schedule, the prop master reportedly forgot to unplug the iconic white phone before filming Barrymore's scenes, in which her character desperately attempts to contact 911 to save her from Ghostface. This led to Barrymore dialing 911 on the prop phone and accidentally calling the real thing, complete with her screams of pain and fear before disconnecting when director Wes Craven cut.
During one of the takes, police called Barrymore's phone back to check on the calls that sounded like a woman actually fighting for her life. This finally clued in the prop master, and he disconnected the phone.
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David Arquette Pitched His Interpretation Of Dewey Riley To Wes Craven, And It Landed Him The Part
David Arquette read through the Scream script and wanted to try for the part of Deputy Dewey Riley instead of Billy Loomis. However, Dewey was originally written as a dumb jock character, which isn't exactly Arquette's brand of acting.
Instead, Arquette had the idea of switching up Dewey's personality for someone who's supposed to have an air of authority, but who actually receives no respect from anyone at all.
According to Arquette, director Wes Craven loved the idea:
I met with Wes and I was like, “I really like this role.” And he was like, “Wow, I didn’t even consider that,” because [Dewey] was written as more of, like, the dumb jock character. I read it as a character that’s in a position of authority getting no respect.
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'Scream' (2022) Features A Secret And Touching Reunion Of Numerous Former Cast MembersPhoto: Scream (2022) / Paramount Pictures
The fifth Scream hit theaters in 2022 and brought back lots of original characters from the franchise's previous installments. Once again, Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott faced off with Ghostface alongside Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Dewey Riley (David Arquette), and a new cast of characters. However, some of the fan favorites were actually in the movie via voice work.
In the Stab 8 clip that plays in the movie, Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher) provides the voice of the flamethrower Ghostface. Drew Barrymore (Casey Becker) plays the voice of the high school principal making an announcement right after the opening scene's death. In another scene from Scream (2022), multiple former cast and crew members lend their voices to the party scene toasting a character named Wes and the franchise's director, Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015.
Among those who read lines for the party scene are Jamie Kennedy (Randy Meeks), Hayden Panettiere (Kirby Reed), Henry Winkler (Principal Himbry), and Adam Brody (Detective Hoss), as well as Scream creator Kevin Williamson and Craven's widow Iya Labunka
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The Ratings Board Was Surprisingly Cool With Wes Craven's Gorier, Fake Cut Of 'Scream 2'Photo: Scream 2 / Dimension Films
Wes Craven had trouble with the MPAA ratings board when assigning a rating to the original Scream. In an effort to avoid the back and forth Craven dealt with while cutting the first film for an R rating, he decided to provide the MPAA with an overly violent cut of Scream 2.
Instead of having Phil Stevens (Omar Epps) suffer a single knife to the ear, this cut had three stabs. Randy Meeks's (Jamie Kennedy) death scene in this fake cut occurred on screen and was very long and violent. In the end, Craven was able to keep the scenes as he wanted them and get his R rating by removing the extra gore he never intended to keep.
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Wes Craven Used Stories Of Animal Cruelty To Make Drew Barrymore Cry
Drew Barrymore's opening scene was filmed in a very short five-day period, and she was adamant that her tears and hyperventilating be as real as possible.
In an effort to assist her, director Wes Craven told animal lover Barrymore terrible stories of animal cruelty to get the tears flowing. To simulate hyperventilating, Barrymore ran around the set to become out of breath.