Scream 4 Script Controversy: The Final Word? (Updated)


From Twitter texts to explanatory interviews, Kevin Williamson’s name once again become newsworthy after a long silence — and those behind the scenes of Scream 4 want us all to know just how involved the writer was in the writing process.

The brouhaha started this week when our intrepid, never-miss-a-detail board members pointed out a few carefully tweeted tweets between director Wes Craven and the Scream scribe, revealing the duo has been in contact and that the busy writer hasn’t abandoned the series.

From Williamson: “Fun chatting with you @wescraven . It was great catching up. Seeya soon.”

A response, from Craven: “Same to you @kevwilliamson. Nice talking to you too. Thank you for the great script. #SCREAM4″

Twitter is a funny animal. It is sometimes a very public display of personal interactions, but these two guys had obviously talked prior to these tweets, when they would have said what was tweeted as a matter of conversation/etiquette. The fact it was broadcast in such a way seems — in this writer’s mind — to be an attempt to remind fans how involved he was with the project and that there is no bad blood. Which doesn’t make it any less true, if it is.

And as ShockTillYouDrop.com’s latest interview with Craven shows, the director says Williamson’s distance from the project was caused by his contractual obligations with The Vampire Diaries and not some hissy fit due to changes, as had been rumored.

“I talked to Kevin last night. I think he was trying to figure out what to say about the film to the press because there are rumors that something horrible has happened. He has not seen the movie. He’s been completely immersed in Vampire Diaries. That was part of the reason he stopped being a writer on the film, but he did have a complete script. He had everything laid out for us. When Ehren Kruger came in, it was because Kevin had to contractually put his efforts into Vampires Diaries.”

Wes elaborated on the nature of the changes made by Ehren Kruger and himself, echoing previous comments by Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts (who described the script edits as “nothing too crazy” and not related to plot so much as dialog): “Ehren did some great secondary work and some additional scenes that needed fleshing out,” Craven clarifies. “And I did some writing, too, but this was Kevin’s baby.”

Craven mentioned that, unlike Scream 3 — an entry that was mired in rewrites and writing scenes the day of shooting — they entered Scream 4 production with too much script:

“The script was never bound to a lean and mean page count. It was always high,” Craven said. “We shot a script that was a 138 pages or something like that, so we had a lot of scenes that had to go on the cutting room floor. Some were kind of redundant. Sometimes we were pointing too much at a character as a red herring.”

But don’t fret. You’ll be able to get all the missing goodies on the DVD: “There are seven or eight scenes that will be on the DVD,” Craven adds. “All the really good stuff was in the final film.”

So what do you think? Is this all a PR stun to cover the truth, or did the online fandom truly take Williamson’s silence and lack of involvement and turn it into something much bigger than is really was?

Update: additional Craven quotes via interview with Bloody-Disgusting:

“I kind of feel like those questions are kind of fishing for turmoil,” Craven told us. “I frankly – and I say this in absolute honesty – have never heard Kevin say [he was upset]. So whether he said something to somebody else in an interview I don’t know, but Ehren came in after Kevin had done the majority of the work, and he certainly…the whole idea, all the characters, all the basic situations and scenes, were [written] by Kevin before he left. A large part of the reason that he eventually had to leave the production was that his ‘Vampire Diaries’ show was starting back up, and the…network literally threatened to sue him if he didn’t turn his full attention back to that.

“But at that time, we had all of the script that was really, really important, and it was a matter of massaging things based on the actual locations we were able to find and things like that. So Ehren Kruger came in and did a lot of very interesting work, but it’s very much about Kevin Williamson’s script…stuff [added during rewrites] related to…the action and certain other things that [were] changed because of locations and things like that. So you know, it’s Kevin. It’s Kevin’s writing and his imagination that is on display there. And I’m sure…actually I’m speculating, but it must have been painful for Kevin not to be able to stay with the film. But the process of writing…had just gone too close to the beginning of Kevin’s show, and at a certain point said he could not be there anymore.”

[BD: Though I do believe Craven , it would still be interesting to hear Williamson’s side of the story, especially considering the fact that he’s been conspicuously silent on the upcoming sequel for quite some time now. As for the likelihood that either or both of them will return to the franchise for the next planned installment, Craven remained noncommittal.]

“You know, it’s so far in the future. It’s gonna be a year [before production would even start on ‘Scream 5′] at least, I would think, because even though Kevin sketched out the general notion for ‘5’ and ‘6’, it was not like he had a…ten-page beat sheet. So it’s gonna be a matter of if Kevin is of the mind to write again in this franchise, and when will we write? My approach to [‘Scream 4′] in general…[was] I love[d] the element of Kevin, I love[d] the element of Courtney Cox and David and Neve…I knew everybody had pretty much signed up, but until I saw a substantial amount of the script I didn’t say yes. So that’s my approach: ‘let’s see the script, let’s see what they come up with, and then I will or I won’t.'”

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31 Responses to “ Scream 4 Script Controversy: The Final Word? (Updated) ”


Reader Advisory: Comments may contain SCREAM 4 SPOILERS
  1. Good news.

  2. KW not saying a peep about S4 all during filming is the main thing that makes me nervous. But in all honesty…this new info really gives us a glimmer of hope. I think what everyone is worried about is Williamson won’t write 5 & 6. I feel he will.

  3. i guess kevin waited to watch the final cut of scream 4, now that he’s relieved the movie is fine with the changes, he can talk about it again.

  4. I think that this is good news…however I also feel that Kevin keeping quiet didn’t do himself any favors…if he doesn’t want to be hated by the fans don’t give fans reasons to speculate or hate and maybe put more time into the movies than the tv shows…his shows never last long anyway (except dawson)…this is the first one since then with any success and only because of the post-buffy/twilight vamp phase…I think he should stay more loyal to the scream franchise….It helped make him who he is today

  5. I almost feel that it is commonplace for fans, etc to believe the controversy for controversy’s sake. Neve has debunked spoilers but most people have continued to believe the faceless post by an internet user than a person involved in the film herself. From the beginning several news sites such a shocktilyoudrop and bloody-disgusting – and HAYDEN HERSELF – said the script issues were blown way up from day one by one blogger on Zap2it. Shock even posted a story from their production contact giving the exact details of what was going down. But what did everyone do – they took the word from said blogger and ran with it. And she laughed all the way with the attention because she never followed up on any of it. She stirred the pot. And people let it get away from them.

    I for one believe that this story is 100% accurate. That Kevin was legally tied down to The Vampire Diaries. Did anyone ever stop and think that with this legality involving the CW that all public speaking had to be in promotion of the show and he wasn’t allowed to talk about other projects as part of the legality he faced???

    At the end of the day, there are many people who are void of a thought brought on by their own mind and will just run with anything someone feeds them. And it seems most people who frequent these boards etc just like to hear themselves bitch bitch bitch.

    Scream 4 will be great and the only way people will be disappointed will be because of their own self-sabotage.

  6. “contractually” so if the movie sucks we all know who to blame: The CW!

  7. Nice comment MT….interesting points!

  8. Jeez! I had no idea the network (i’m guessing the cw) threatened to “Sue” Williamson if he didn’t devote all attention to Vampire Diaries. Perhaps all the silence on his part wasn’t really his choice?

    http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/24018

  9. Thanks for proving all my points dee123 when it comes to internet attitudes. You definitely have a glass half-empty thing going on.

  10. It actually makes sense….i mean i can’t imagine a network actually telling a writer not to mention a project he just finished working on. But, it would explain the sudden awkard silence on williamson’s behalf. If all this turns out to be someone blowing smoke….i’m gonna be really pissed at that frakkin zap2it reporter.

  11. Thanks JRT

  12. Well I’m happy thing is fine. But the fans put this one on themselves(for the MOST part). Taking what one reporter said and running with it and not believing the cast and crew. People will always want to hear negativity over anything positive. I expected more from the Scream fanbase.

    HOWEVER, after a while I started wondering why Kevin was so silent and ect. So I don’t blame people for thinking something went down. Anyway, I think it’s time we move on and put this past us. I guess this means Kevin will be at the premiere!

  13. *every

  14. @Khy Disagree somewhat. Not everyone seeks Negative over positive. While i will agree the majority of people run with gossip and enjoy it, there are genuine fans and people who are concerned with things like this that can affect the final product. And as far as any cast and crew reassuring us over the coarse of production? Don’t think so. They never gave us any “Facts” about KW’s silence. They were just very curtious and mostly bland in their comments. This interview by Craven is really the first semi official/official comment on KW that anyone has had.

  15. And as far as the “Scream Fan Base” goes…we’re no different than any other fan base. I expect the same from any loyal fan base. I guarantee you….you tell the Christopher Nolan “Fan Base” that someone else is coming in to re-write Dark Knight Rises and there would be a fury like you’ve never seen. That’s normal….fans hear disturbing rumors/news….fans get nervous. That’s perfectly normal when people think something they care about could be botched.

  16. don’t you see that Ehren Krueger is one of the executive producers of Scream 4… Wes and Kevin are only producers. This guy is a pain in the ass.

    I don’t wanna see Scream 5 or 6 if Ehren Krueger is the writer. It’s like Nightmare on Elm Street, I love the first one, the third and the 7th movie.. because all three movies were written by Wes Craven.

  17. @MT: & who are you? Dawn Ostroff?

  18. On a cooler note…i just saw that theater times are posted on fandangos website (for my area). That just makes it feel so real…actually seeing theater time slots for S4.

  19. If it was never seriously bad from the start, then why was he silent? He surely could’ve been pissed at something. And why did he take off the Scream 4 writer thing? If he’s still the main writer, then why? Gah. I feel like there’s stuff they’re not telling us.

  20. I need that damn poster. When is going to go up on sale?

  21. I believe that what Wes said is true, but this doesn’t justify Kevin’s total silence. He could at least tell the fans what was going on because this time we only hear speculation.

    I think he should stay more loyal to the scream franchise.It helped make him who he is today. [2]

  22. Great news, but why not reveal this MONTHS ago? I wouldn’t have nearly given myself an ulcer worrying about it if they had!

  23. Thanks you JRT for the article. Best news I’ve heard about this in awhile I am ridiculously pumped for Scream 4 now, Knowing that Williamson and Craven are back!

  24. Please Kevin, come back for Scream 5&6!!!!

  25. Fabricio, I don’t think Ehren Kruger being listed as an executive producer means as much as you think. Cathy Konrad is also listed as an executive producer, but do you really think she had much input, given that she recently sued the Weinsteins for cutting her out of Scream 4? I bet the only reason her name is there is for legal reasons. Ehren is probably listed as EP because his writing wasn’t substantial enough to warrant a co-writing credit under the standards of the Writers Guild but he still contributed significantly by working on the script on set. And maybe he did chip in for other things, too, but seriously….there are multiple producers on this thing – I don’t think Ehren’s involvement, which is miniscule this time compared to Scream 3 – which, as we tend to forget, disappointed for reasons other than Ehren’s writing – will affect the movie much. And as we’ve heard, there has been great reaction from the media thus far. This same media weren’t so nice when S3 was out, so this is a positive sign.

    Wes and Kevin probably aren’t executive producers because they’ve already got two major roles – director and writer.

  26. There is a possibility that this story is just PR, but maybe Kevin’s over the whole thing, ready to move forward and just maybe, ready to embrace the idea of a Scream 5, particularly if he sees the movie and realises his vision has been kept in tact.

  27. For those wondering about Kevin’s silence I wold like to reiterate what I wrote earlier:

    I for one believe that this story is 100% accurate. That Kevin was legally tied down to The Vampire Diaries. Did anyone ever stop and think that with this legality involving the CW that all public speaking had to be in promotion of the show and he wasn’t allowed to talk about other projects as part of the legality he faced???

    And no Dee I am not Dawn Ostroff. Are you the boy who cried wolf?

  28. scream will be amazing and i think Ehren,Wes,or,Kevin will write an excellent movie!

  29. Thank you Tom.. and believe me, I love Ehren Krueger’s Arligton Road script. But Scream saga always will be Kevin and Wes’s Baby.

  30. What I’m guessing has happened is Kevin was pissed and suffered from ‘writers pride’ when he heard someone else was “rewriting” his script, now that hes seen the movie and realised it is pretty much all his, they’re doing damage control so he can slide back in to write Scream 5…..at least this is what I’m hoping, there is no point of a Scream movie without Kevin writing it.

  31. To add to the above, I can understand a network stopping a contracted writer from working on another project when it was suppost to be finished and he’s supposed to be working on their show, but i doubt they would stop him from tweeting a message killing all of the Scream 4/5 rumours.

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