In honor of the release of Scream 4, which opens today, EW is looking back at the original 1996 film and talking to cast members about their best production memories. Drew Barrymore played teenager Casey Becker, who was famously killed off in the opening ten minutes of Scream. The actress was originally approached to play the lead role of Sidney Prescott, which was eventually given to Neve Campbell, but Barrymore gravitated towards the opening sequence. “The first scene was really reminiscent to me of When A Stranger Calls, like these great things that left you wanting more,” says Barrymore. “And it was absolutely my favorite part, but I loved the whole thing.” EW talked to Barrymore about the original film, shooting her terrifying death scene, and working with director Wes Craven.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you want to play Casey in Scream?
DREW BARRYMORE: I just read the script one night at my house and I just said, “Oh my God, there hasn’t been anything like this for so long.” I loved that it actually got tongue and cheeky but it was still scary and it was this great game that sort of described genres and revived them at the same time and redefined them all in one script. I went bananas.
You’re only in the film for about ten minutes — how long did that take to shoot?
Exactly five days. We started on a Monday night and we ended on a Friday night at, like, five in the morning.
And did you shoot it in sequence?
Pretty much, yeah. And Wes and I, you know, had made this great agreement on how we wanted to approach the whole thing and we couldn’t have been more on the same page. I was like, “I never want fake tears, I will come up with a mechanism with which to really make me cry. I will run around until I’m hyperventilating.” He and I had this secret story. We would just talk about it every time cause it just made me cry every time I thought about it. That worked for tears — it didn’t work for hyperventilating. I would still have to run around a lot.
What was that like shooting such an intense moment?
That’s exactly the challenge I wanted. I just thought, “How could I make it real?” I’m sure it’s everybody’s worst f—ing nightmare. I loved getting the opportunity to work with [Wes] and I trusted him. I wanted to do like a unique acting challenge and I just thought it was such a fun, different script.
Were you a fan of horror movies?
I love Halloween and love Freddy [Krueger]. The ones now I can’t handle. But I love the old slasher films, and I just thought this one headed off into a new direction. I did love horror films from the ’70s and ’80s. That was my sweet spot.
Why do you think people love the Scream franchise so much?
I have no idea cause I know they terrify the ever-loving crap out of me. I’m actually genuinely scared, but I think people need to be thrilled in life. And if you can pack that into an hour and a half, I think that’s time efficient and money well-spent. I also think the romantic in me is gonna believe that date night never dies. And date night is great at a horror film. I also think that just from the filmmaker side of me, that there is an incredible art to scary film, whether its like Korean cinema or a Wes Craven movie or old-school [like] Evil Dead.
Did you like working with Wes?
He’s such a sweetheart. He’s just the coolest. He really did make me feel incredibly safe and I really gravitated toward him — I tend to do that with directors. I’m not really good at yukking it up with everyone and I kinda wanna stay in that concentrated, focused zone. So I love being able to go to a great, male director and sort of stay there in the shade of their tree and their safety. And Wes is completely that guy.
‘Scream 4′ star Neve Campbell on the film’s difficult production: ‘It wasn’t an easy shoot’