Scream writer Kevin Williamson offered more details about the proposed fourth installment he is writing, which he envisions as the beginning of a new trilogy of tongue-in-cheek horror films and which may feature original stars Courteney Cox and David Arquette.
"Oh, it's a new trilogy," Williamson said in a group interview today in Pasadena, Calif., where he was promoting his upcoming CW series The Vampire Diaries at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "It's 10 years later. It is Gale Weathers 10 years later."
Cox played Weathers, the local reporter who became a sensation for covering the killings in the 1996 original. Cox met her real-life husband, Arquette, on the films; he played Deputy Dewey, and Williamson accidentally suggested where Dewey would be in Scream 4.
"Sheriff Dewey, I'm sorry, Deputy Dewey, oops," Williamson backpedaled. "It's Dewey and Gale, and that's it [from the original cast]. They met on the set. We all watched it happen, so the idea that we got 'em back and that their relationship is sort of the emotional core of Scream 4 ... so it'll be a lot of fun."
It's been nearly a decade since the last movie, 2000's Scream 3, and horror movies have changed a lot in the post-Scream era—a fact Williamson acknowledged.
"Can you imagine what the Stab franchise must be like right now?" Williamson said, referring to the films within the Scream films that mimicked the events of the movies. "We're going to have a lot of fun with it."
Williamson also plans to bring back the "ghost face" mask that every killer wore in the Scream films. "Yes, it will be, but there may be another one," he said.
In the meantime, Williamson is gearing up The Vampire Diaries, and Cox has a new show, ABC's Cougar Town, debuting in the fall. The plan is to shoot in both hiatuses.
"Well, I'm going to finish the script in the next couple of months," Williamson said. "Then we'll just start the process. [Scream director] Wes [Craven] wants to read a script before he'll sign on, which makes sense. We've sort of chatted about it. I'm sure he would love to get back in the saddle. We're kind of a family. We're a Scream family that still exists, so the idea that we wouldn't have dad sitting at the head of the table doesn't make sense, so I'm going to try to. We're going to make that happen."
Craven's interest and schedule, as well as other factors, will also determine when Scream 4 goes before cameras. "It depends on the hiatus schedule," Williamson continued. "It will depend on timing. It'll depend on maybe when we get in serious talks with Wes, what his schedule's like. It'll depend on The Vampire Diaries, because I'm committed to this. I have another show at ABC that no one even knows about that's in first position. That could come in and just change everything. It's a show I was developing with Warner Brothers when this came along. This moved really, really fast, so it put the ABC show on hold. So I've got to go back to that soon."
Williamson had departed the Scream franchise after Scream 2, leaving Scream 3 to writer Ehren Kruger. What finally convinced him to write a new one?
"Oh, well, they've been bugging us," Williamson said. "Bob Weinstein has been bugging me for 100 billion years. 'Where's Scream 4? Let's do Scream 4! Let's just do it, Kevin, let's just do it.' Wes and I were like, 'No way, no way, no way.' Then, finally, I was taking some time off, and I was sitting around going, 'OK, what if I had to do Scream 4? If I had to do Scream 4, what would I [do]?' I wasn't interested, but a trilogy? Now I'd be interested. Can we do that? Can we pull that off? Could we actually develop a trilogy? Then I started thinking about the story, and I created three different chapters, I broke it out and I got really excited about it."