A small indie release when it first premiered in 1996, Scream went on to become a major box office success, kicking off a franchise that saw three sequels — and a fourth one in the works — as well as an MTV TV series.
With the Wes Craven-directed cult classic still as popular as ever, writer Kevin Williamson and many members of the movie's original cast reunited virtually to raise money for three different charities, as they looked back on their own experiences shooting that first film, and discussed the legacy it's since left behind — as well as teased what they could from the upcoming Scream 5.
Among those in attendance were Neve Campbell (Sydney Prescott), David Arquette (Sheriff Dewey Riley), Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis), Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher), Jamie Kennedy (Randy Meeks), and Rose McGowan (Tatum Riley), with all proceeds raised going to help the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the "I Have a Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles, and the East Los Angeles Women's Center.
As they discussed memorable fan interactions they've had in the many years since the first film came out, Kennedy, who played horror film expert Randy Meeks in the first two films in the franchise, stated that a lot of people sometimes ask him about rules for modern horror films, a reference to a famous scene in the original movie.
Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries), who'd penned that script, as well as the ones for Scream 2 and Scream 4), offered a few updated suggestions.
"No deconstruction. No self-awareness," said Williamson, who serves as executive producer on the latest film. "Just do the opposite of what we did."
And while Williamson says he doesn't really run out of ideas for horror sequences, he does think about the longevity of the Scream movies.
"I do worry that the franchise kind of wears itself out with all the meta and the deconstruction and there’s only so many times you can [do this]," said the former Vampire Diaries executive producer. "So many people have since then done horror films like it, or in the vein of. So you kind of worry that it’s run its course."
However, he was also quick to state the upcoming film, which is set to come out in 2022, easily sidesteps this problem, thanks to screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, as well as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the duo behind 2019's horror favorite Ready or Not.
"What I love about the new Scream is that it does take a fresh approach," continued Williamson. "It’s this beautiful sort of fresh new movie, but it also has this nostalgic factor that runs through it. That to me was a perfect blend of how to do the next Scream. So that was what I was most excited about."
He also added, "I’m blown away by the directors, and I was really nervous because nobody is Wes Craven. I was really hesitant to even jump on board and be a part of it, and boy am I glad I did because I think it’s going to make Wes proud."
Neve Campbell, whose final survivor Sydney Prescott has been at the center of the past four films, and will return for this new one, agrees with his sentiments regarding the team assembled.
"I had been really apprehensive about doing one of these films without Wes,” said Campbell. “The directors actually sent me a letter when the offer was sent and said the reason they are directors is because of Wes. So they’re even so honoured to even be asked to make this film, and that they’re such huge fans of him and the films themselves, and of the cast, and that they really wanted to honour his voice, which I really, really believe they did."
She also thinks the new movie is "fresh" and said that it's their previous film that gave her the confidence that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett would do a good job with this new movie. "I’ve watched Ready or Not, which I thought was so good, so I thought 'They could do this.'"
David Arquette, who will once again reprise his role as Sheriff Dewey Riley, couldn't tease anything either, though he noted that he was already familiar with one member of the cast: Jack Quaid (The Boys)
"I knew him as a little kid and now he’s 24, or 25, the age I was when I did the first one. It’s such a mind warp," Arquette reminisced. "The group of actors that they got are really incredible and super talented. It felt like they bonded in the same way we did."
But Campbell and Arquette aren't the only original franchise actors returning. They'll also be joined by Courtney Cox and Marley Shelton, who will be stepping back into the shoes of Gale Weathers and Deputy Judy Hicks, respectively.
And these aren't the only familiar faces making an appearance in Scream 5, as Williamson confirmed that a mask worn by Ghostface from the original movie (in the photo above) will also be included in this one.
"I went to our prop guy and said ‘I want a mask,’ and he went into the prop room and got me one," said William recounting the story of how he came to be in possession of this particular piece of the film, having specifically wanted a mask worn onscreen and turned down one from the prop room. "[The prop guy] went into the garage when we were killing Tatum, and he ripped it off the stunt guy."
Also starring in the film are Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps) Jenna Ortega (The Babysitter: Killer Queen), Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Mason Gooding (Love, Victor), Kyle Gallner (Outsiders), Sonia Ammar, and Jasmin Savoy Brown (The Leftovers).
Scream 5 releases Jan. 14, 2022.