Here’s the perfect Scream 4 jumping-on point courtesy of FearNet’s interview with the architect of the series himself, Kevin Williamson. It’s good to see the decade-plus interim has only served to sharpen his killer wit.
Exclusive: Kevin Williamson Talks ‘Scream 4′, ‘5’ and ‘6’
by Joseph McCabe
Wondering what’s in store for Sidney, Gale and Dewey when they return to face Ghostface in Scream 4, 5 and 6? Could one of them actually get killed? Could one of them become Ghostface? Could Jamie Kennedy possibly return? Get ready for some answers from Kevin Williamson. Hit the jump now for my conversation with the Scream creator and Vampire Diaries producer.
Since your central cast now numbers three, is it tough to maintain the element of danger in Scream 4, as opposed to the first three Screams? Because one would assume you won’t kill off one of those three characters, since they’re now so beloved.
Oh, really? [Laughs.] Now you tell me! [Laughs.] No, I agree with you. It is sort of… I love the characters. I didn’t even realize what I was missing until I sat down to write it and work it out. We’re going out of our way to be sort of respectful of that. But at the same time, Wes and I feel one-hundred percent that we’re gonna need to surprise the audience. If we don’t, there’s no reason to do it. And so we’re hoping that we’ll be able to balance that in a way that’s satisfying to everybody. But it’s like, you can’t confirm or deny. It’s a Scream movie. People have to die. And I’m no stranger to killing people. Even on The Vampire Diaries we’ll take regular characters and just kill ‘em. [Laughs.] I think that what we do know is we’ve got characters that people respond to and care about. And that’s the good news. Because I think the problem with a lot of horror films has always been, and the reason I wrote Scream in the very beginning, is you don’t really get a lot of characterizations of people you’re really emotionally invested in. I want to care about people when I watch a horror film, because that’s when you get involved. What we’re gonna try to do with Scream 4 is let people care about Sidney again, and let people care about Sidney and Gale and Dewey and all the new characters that are circling around them. And have some fun. I get my new characters, I get my old characters, I get to watch them all interact. It’s fun. I get to go back to Woodsboro. It’s exciting.
Any chance we’ll see some familiar faces besides those of David, Courtney and Neve?
No. We’re not that movie. We’re not that universe where you can bring people back from the dead. That would be just a cheat. It’s such a disservice. Everyone’s like, “When’s Randy coming back?” I’m like, “You know what? I would love nothing more than to have Jamie Kennedy in the film. However to have Randy in the film, it sort of just takes it… I mean Scream 2 was a lie, you know? It’s a false move. So I just won’t do it. I can’t do that. I just won’t do it.”
You’re contracted for 4 and 5. Can you say if 5 for you will end in a cliffhanger that leads into 6? Since you’re not yet contracted for 6, are you telling a story that you’d originally planned for three in two films now?
No, there’s three. I am contracted for 4, 5 and 6, but the deal for 6 is not done. I mean I pitched three films. The story is about returning to Woodsboro; and Scream 5 – knock on wood, if we actually get to it, because 4 has to be good in order for us to make a 5 – 5 will be a continuation of 4, but 4 is its own movie. It has a beginning, a middle and its own ending, which will be satisfying hopefully. It has a beginning, middle and end and 5 has a beginning, middle and end; it’s just a continuation of the lives of all the people that live in 4. I can’t start giving 5 away – that gives up too much of 4.
If 4 is successful, could 5 and 6 shoot back to back?
I think that would have to be monumentally successful, right? I don’t know when these decisions get made. Those are all business decisions, and who knows how successful 4 would have to be? I don’t know. That would be a lot of work. I hope not.
Were you always a horror fan?
Oh yeah. I love horror. I was a horror guy. I always watched horror movies. Halloween, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte… Anything dark, anything macabre, anything that was gonna scare you and goose you, I wanted to watch it. I love it.
Of all your characters, whom do you best relate to?
I feel a little piece of me in everything. You know? I have a little bit of Randy because I’m the horror movie geek. And I’m still Dawson, I’m still Joey. [Vampire Diaries’] Stephan and Damon are characters created by L. J. Smith, so they may not be so personal, but I find something personal in them. I’m very connected to the idea of the loner and the outcast, like Stephan.
Can you see a point where Sidney goes through so much that she becomes Ghostface?
You know, that’s a good question. It’s possible. I think Dewey, Gale or Sidney could become Ghostface.
In real life, what’s your greatest fear?
Divorce lawyers? [Laughs.] By the way, that’s Wes Craven’s answer. I stole it. But I’ve heard him say it several times. I don’t have a great answer… Spiders in the bedsheets.
When the Scream saga began, it was post-modern horror. Now that we’ve come fifteen years, is it tougher to do that type of horror? Have we become so “post” that we’re now back to being earnest and sincere? And if so, do you see a different tone for these sequels?
Well, I do think they’re on a different journey. Scream was sort of a response to where we were in 1996 with regard to horror. And so I’m hoping that this film is gonna have… That’s the challenge – how do you keep it current, fresh and relevant? At the same time I think a slight nostalgic factor would sort of be appreciated, or would hope to be. But at the same time you want to scare the audience, not just repeat yourself. So it’s a huge challenge. If we can even just get halfway there I’ll be really happy. But I do think we’ve got some really good pieces in play. I think the most important thing for me and Wes is to scare the audience, and whether we do it with a bunch of post-modern dialogue or we just do it through a lot of good old-fashioned scares, we’ll just do it, and see what happens. I just think the most important thing is Scream needs to be scary. If we make it scary, then I think we’ll have done our jobs, and it won’t matter whether it’s a post-post-modern revision/deconstruction. We don’t have to worry too much about that. I think most importantly — where we’ve moved in storytelling — I don’t know about the earnestness, but what I would like to see is a story with characters I care about and the fear that they may die. That’s the movie that would interest and excite me, and if I can do that then I’ll be happy.