Neve Campbell talks 'emotional' shoot for new Scream: 'It all came flooding back'
The new Scream movie may be the fifth entry in the horror franchise but shooting the film was no ordinary experience for series mainstays Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette. In addition to the production beginning after the start of the COVID outbreak, this latest Scream is the first not to be made by Wes Craven, with Ready or Not directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett taking over from the late Master of Horror, who passed away in 2015.
Campbell describes stepping on the set of the 2022 Scream as, "Emotional, to be honest. Because I certainly felt Wes's absence, and at the same time, I clearly felt his presence. Every time I walk on these movies I feel his presence, and his power, and his input, and his influence, and everything he did to make these movies amazing. Also, I don't think it's a giveaway to say that we do return to the original house, so to walk onto that set. It blew my mind because the set decorators did an incredible job; it's identical. It was petty surreal, at the time 24 years later, to walk into that house. I think Courteney, David, and I each individually had a good cry when we walked onto that set. I mean, these movies meant a lot. The very first experience was so much fun and meant so much to all of us in many ways. So, yeah, everything came flooding back."
Below, Campbell talks more about the making of the new Scream, where we find her character Sidney Prescott this time around, and the future of the franchise.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you finished Scream 4, did you think, "This is the last time I'll be playing Sidney Prescott?"
NEVE CAMPBELL: Yes and no. Yes, in the sense of, I don't know whether we'll do that again, I'm not sure audiences will be interested again, maybe that is the last one, but at the same time, we seem to keep making them! So you never know. [Laughs]
What did you think when you read the script for the new film (by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick)?
I thought it was really good. I thought it was tight. I thought it was funny again and scary again. I had wondered, but we had Kevin (Williamson, who wrote the first Scream) on board overseeing it as an exec, and he certainly had something to say about the script, and everyone was very open to the old cast giving our opinions and our thoughts on our characters because we've spent the most amount of time with them. It was a good process for all of us.
These films are whodunnits. No spoilers, but as you were reading the script, did you correctly guess who was indeed doing it this time around?
No. [Laughs] Which is always a good thing.
Do you keep in contact with Courteney and David in the time between Scream films? Are you on a WhatsApp group?
No. [Laughs] No, not all the time because we have our lives and our kids and our families. But we do check-in. And then, especially when we hear they're about to start [making a new Scream film], we start texting each other, and gabbing about the potential of it, and what that means and how we feel about it, and it's always lovely to get back in touch.
I don't want to compare playing Sidney to putting on a comfy pair of slippers, but is it easy for you to find the character at this point?
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I know Sidney. I've spent enough time with her and in her slippers [laughs] to know what her voice is, and who she is physically, and where she's at. And in this film, she's a mother, which is a whole other level for her of fierceness and purpose, so it was nice to see Sidney in a place where she is content in her life and not living in fear. And then, of course, chaos happens! [Laughs]
What was it like working with the new directors?
They were delightful. So excited, like giddy boys. I think it was Matt who said the first time I did a scene with them, "I was so excited to be watching another Scream movie, I actually forgot I was directing it." [Laughs] I guess he was watching Sidney and he was excited to see Sidney. You know, they had written to me prior to my signing on to the film to tell me that they are directors because of Wes Craven, and that they made Ready or Not because of the Scream films, and that they really wanted to honor Wes's legacy and do right by him, and that meant a great deal. I think they've done an incredible job, and I think they've elevated certain things in their own way as well. There's just no ego, which is lovely. They're such a pleasure to work with.
You were shooting after the start of the COVID outbreak but before vaccines were available, which now seems insane.
I know. That was a weird experience, I have to say. I, as an actor, tend to put my chair at the monitor with the directors and the writers because I really like that process. I like to see what we're about to shoot, and I like to see how things are being shot, and I like to see how tight we are, and what energy we need and have discussions [about] what they're going for. And because of COVID, I wasn't allowed to do that; I had to sit in another room. So that was disappointing in a sense because I wasn't able to be a part of it in that way. Also, I did an entire movie without seeing any of our crew's faces, and that's weird. And also, you rehearse with a mask on, and so when the cameras are rolling, it's actually the first time that you see what another actor's going to do. Which in a sense, is good because it's fresh, but it's just a different way of working.
What did you think when you saw the finished film?
I was really, really happy and really excited and relieved, to be honest. [Laughs] I had a sense that it was going to be good, and I knew how much the directors were excited to make it, and I know how good the script is, and I knew the actors were doing a good job, but you still never know, right? So I was very excited.
Do you think they'll keep on making Scream movies?
I think they'd like to. I think they would very much like to. I think that was the intent with this. So let's see how it does.
The cast of the new Scream also includes Marley Shelton, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Jack Quaid, and Melissa Barrera. The movie opens in cinemas Jan. 14.
Watch the trailer for Scream below.
Pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly's Ultimate Guide to Scream, available online or wherever magazines are sold.