The stars of Scream — David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Neve Campbell — had a good reason to get back together for EW’s Reunions photo shoot on July 20: They were already together in Ann Arbor, Mich., filming the highly anticipated fourth film in the hit slasher franchise. Scream 4, due in theaters April 15 (see below), finds sheriff Dewey (Arquette), former tabloid newshound Gale (Cox), and newly published author Sidney (Campbell) once again targeted by the knife-wielding Ghostface. ”For years now, it’s always been ‘When are you guys gonna do another one?”’ says Campbell, 37. ”And I’d say, ‘No, no.’ And here we are!” Adds director Wes Craven, ”There’s a lot of friendships made and a marriage or two — and probably even a divorce or two — so it’s kind of a homecoming.” Craven’s words proved especially bittersweet months later when, on Oct. 11, Arquette and Cox — who met on the first film — announced their separation after 11 years of marriage. The pair said in a statement, ”We remain best friends and responsible parents to our daughter and we still love each other deeply.”
Their unexpected split is the latest surprise in the storied saga of the Scream franchise. The original movie opened to just $6.4 million when it hit theaters in December 1996, but it became a word-of-mouth sensation that ended up with a $103 million haul at the box office. Scream 2 and 3 were released in 1997 and 2000, and helped push the trilogy to almost $300 million domestically and achieve a cultlike status with horror enthusiasts. Cox, 46, best known at the time of the first film’s release for playing good girl Monica on Friends, relished getting a role with a bit more bite. ”I think Scream showed people a different side of me,” she says. ”I remember [director] Wes Craven thinking I couldn’t be mean enough. I was like, ‘Dude, I’m not actually that nice. I can be mean!”’ Still, she’s a real softy when it comes to her relationship with Campbell. ”For some reason I feel closer to her during this movie than the first one,” says Cox. ”We’re older and we have more in common, maybe. I don’t know what it is. But I’ve fallen in love with her.” Arquette, 39, says that good vibes have been pretty universal on set. ”We’ve kind of grown up together in a way. A lot of the crew have been on the whole run.”
Enough of all this touchy-feely stuff — this is a horror franchise, after all. Ghostface fans want to know: What are the actors’ favorite Scream death scenes? Says Arquette, ”I was supposed to die in the first one, and Wes kept me alive. So that was my favorite death scene: me coming back to life.” For Campbell, it’s the second film’s opening sequence, in which moviegoer Jada Pinkett Smith is dispatched among an audience of cheering horror fans. ”It’s really chilling that people think it’s fun that she’s dying,” Campbell says. ”And just for gross fun, Tatum [Rose McGowan] in the garage [in the first Scream].” But there’s only one thing in the series that terrifies Cox: her bangs in the third film. ”That will haunt me the rest of my life,” she says. ”It was the most ridiculous look. I wasn’t at a place in my life where I was like, ‘Guys, I gotta have another pair of bangs or I’m not shooting.’ Ten years later I would do that.”
Scream 4 In theaters April 15
In Scream 4, Sidney — now the author of a self-help book — returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with sheriff Dewey and his wife, Gale, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately, Sidney’s reappearance also instigates more Ghostface killings and puts Jill’s high school friends in danger.