Either way, we’ve just confirmed that Sidney Prescott herself, Neve Campbell, could be returning to the series – and is looking forward to it. And – just in – David Arquette, a.k.a. Dewey Riley – is returning to the franchise.
Deadline reports that Courteney Cox will reprise her role as news reporter Gale Weathers in Scream 5, which will mark her fifth time playing the fan favorite character. Cox shared an Instagram post today which confirmed the news.
Directing duro Radio silence – more on them in a bit – said in a statement: “We can’t imagine Scream without the iconic Gale Weathers and are so incredibly thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to work with Courteney. We’re absolute mega fans of her work and we’re so excited to join her in the next chapter of the Scream saga!”
The Hollywood Reporter also recently reported that David Arquette – who met, fell in love with, married, and ultimately separated from Cox during their time working on the series – is returning to the series as Dewey Riley, the Woodboro Sheriff who has taken a beating – and more than a few stabbings – throughout the franchise. “I am thrilled to be playing Dewey again and to reunite with my Scream family, old and new,” Areuqtte told THR. “Scream has been such a big part of my life, and for both the fans and myself, I look forward to honoring Wes Craven’s legacy.”
In addition, things are looking promising for the return of Sidney Prescott.
In a Five Favorite Films interview with Rotten Tomatoes tied to her newest project, Canadian drama Castle in the Ground – which we will publish next week – Neve Campbell revealed she is in discussions about the new film.
“We’re having conversations – I have been approached about it,” she told Rotten Tomatoes. “The timing’s a bit challenging because of COVID. You know, we only started the conversation maybe a month and a half ago, so it’s going to take some time to figure out how it’s all going to work out…. We’re negotiating, so we’ll see.”
“The two directors wrote me a very touching letter about Wes Craven and how he was such an inspiration to them and how they really want to honor him, and that meant a great, great deal to me. So we’ll see. Hopefully we can all see eye to eye on the project and find a way to make it.”
Campbell added: “I’m so grateful for these films… I love Sidney Prescott. It’s always fun for me to step back in her shoes, and it’s always fun for me to see the cast come back and make one of these films again and try to make another good one.”
The feverish anticipation for the new Scream movie is a whole different story than the level of buzz – or lack thereof – that surrounded the original film almost 20 years ago.
When Dimension Films announced its intention to release the original Scream in December 1996, critics declared the movie D.O.A. After all, who releases a horror movie during Christmas? But Dimension knew there were a lot of angsty teens looking for something – anything – to serve as an antidote to mistletoe and carols, and the simple question “Do you like scary movies?” ended up receiving a resounding “Yes!” Ever since it stalled out with 2011’s Scream 4, there have been rumors of the cult franchise’s return.
It finally seems to be coming to fruition, so here’s what we know about the potential return of Ghostface.
Horror icon Craven directed all four of the original Scream films, but sadly the legendary creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The People Under the Stairs passed away in 2015. It’s been announced, however, that the Scream baton is being handed to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the co-directors of 2019’s Ready or Not. That movie was inventive, brutal, and satirically razor-sharp – in other words, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett seem like a pretty solid pick to breathe new life into this franchise.
The duo, known as Radio Silence, released a statement saying: “It’s impossible to fully express how much Wes Craven’s work and the Scream movies in particular mean to us as fans and have influenced us as storytellers. Kevin Williamson’s incredible stories have entertained and inspired us for decades and we’re insanely honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the cinematic world Wes and Kevin so brilliantly created together. Jamie and Guy’s amazing script does that legacy justice and we’re so excited to bring the next chapter of Scream to life.”
The “Jamie and Guy” they’re referring to are writers James Vanderbilt (Murder Mystery, Zodiac) and Guy Busick, who co-wrote Ready Or Not. If you’re wondering whether original Scream scribe Kevin Williamson is involved in the project… scroll down.
It’s still unclear whether or not this new film is a brand new Scream, or Scream 5 – but at the very least we can assume there will be no retconning. With Campbell in conversations, and Arquette on board, we’re thinking this could be more of a Scream 4 situation, with the old gang getting back together, joined by a new crop of youngsters for Ghostface to torment.
While promoting Scream 4 in 2011, both Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson confirmed that they had 5 and 6 waiting in the wings, should the latest one be another hit. No plot details for either of them were ever revealed, but it was hinted that they would be the start of a new trilogy based around the survivors of part 4. After 4 did middling business at the box office (it only grossed $38.2 million in the U.S.), the enthusiasm for another film died out.
Although he is not listed as writer on the new project as of now, Kevin Williamson has been confirmed to be back onboard at least in an executive producer role. That may turn out to be an honorary credit based on his having written all of the other Scream films and having been – alongside Craven – the driving creative force behind them, but it could also mean he’ll have a more hands-on role. It’s still unclear, but we’re pretty sure Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s Ready or Not writers Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy would love a stab (sorry) at writing it.
The rights to the Scream franchise rest with the newly reminted Spyglass Media Group, which is itself a comeback story. Originally founded as Spyglass Entertainment in 1998, the production firm came out swinging with its first film – the pop culture phenomenon The Sixth Sense. It bounced between distribution deals with several studios before fizzling out in 2010, when founders Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum became co-chairmen and CEOs of MGM Holdings. The company reformed in 2019 and announced that its first project would be a remake of the horror classic Hellraiser. They clearly have a “type” and aren’t afraid to retool fan favorites, which gives credence to the idea that the new Scream may be a fresh start.
The recent Hollywood Reporter article gave us our first indication of timing for the project, with Spyglass apparently looking to start principal photography in late 2020 on Wilmington, North Carolina, once the industry gets back to work following COVID-19. That could place Scream 5 in a Halloween 2021 window.
Although the last film was released in 2011, the Scream legacy actually continued on in the form of an anthology TV series produced by Dimension Television and MTV. Taking place in the fictional town of Lakewood (not the films’ primary setting, which was the fictional town of Woodsboro), the series featured all new characters and aired on MTV and VH1 from 2015 until 2019. There was also a web series called Scream: If I Die that was released in 2016 and featured video confessionals from some of the characters from the series. If the new movie does continue the franchise directly, it’s unclear (but doubtful) that elements from the TV series would come into play.
By the time the original Scream came out, horror films of the late ’80s and early ’90s were mired in a loop of increasingly ridiculous cheeseball sequels featuring predictably unstoppable killers and blood-soaked Z-list actors. Scream breathed new life into horror by being self-referential and self-aware. It cleverly mocked horror movie clichés while also indulging in them. Whether it’s a remake or a reboot, the new Scream enters a world in which horror occupies a much different place than it did in 1996. With big time talents like Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us), Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse, The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook, The Nightingale), Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary), and Julia Docournau (Raw) bringing horror into art houses and the Oscars, it’s a much more difficult target for satire than Jason Takes Manhattan. The rules have changed, and it’ll be interesting to see if Scream can adapt or if it will once again try and revisit the slasher.
Thumbnail image: Gemma La Mana/©Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection