Scream (2022) is a shimmering Fabergé egg of self-referential horror homage. Utilizing the trappings and tools the franchise’s original masterminds, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, created, the fifth entry into the series delicately balances scares and meta-humor. That was always key to Radio Silence, the team behind the film (co-directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and producer Chad Villella). In light of the film’s release and successful box office opening, Nerdist sat down with the crew to dig deep into spoiler territory.
Scream (2022) brings back an original cast member that no one expected to see, but we’ll get to him in a moment. Before that we have the matter of another fan fave, Kirby Reed. Played by Hayden Panettiere in Scream 4, many fans had theorized that Kirby survived and Scream confirmed that was the case. For the creators, revealing Kirby’s fate was always the plan. “We wanted to answer the Kirby question in some way from the beginning,” Matt Bettinelli-Olpin explained. “We just didn’t really know what that would be. There was a period during the pre-production where we thought we might be able to even get her in this movie. We had a Zoom with her and she was lovely. And she was like, ‘I love Kirby, I’d love to be in it.'”
Alas, that didn’t work out. But thanks to one of the many brilliant Easter eggs in the film, we learn that, thanks to a smartly placed YouTube video, Kirby survived.
Stu (Maybe) Lives…. But Not in This Movie
That’s not the only Easter egg the crew slipped into that web page, though. It also has a hilarious nod to a popular fan theory that proliferated before the film’s release: Stu Macher lives! Another YouTube video on the page ponders whether or not Stu Macher lived through the original Woodsboro killings. “I feel like that specific Easter egg is really just a bit of a joke with one of our screenwriters, Guy Busick,” Bettinelli-Olpin laughed. “He is a staunch Stu Lives believer.”
While they never had any plans for Stu to return, the team did become close with Matthew Lillard, who played the iconic original killer. “He is one of the greatest human beings alive. We’re all Stu Lives believers now! Bring Stu Back!” Gillett added.
Bringing Back Billy Loomis
Though Stu may not have made a comeback in the new Scream, his one-time partner in crime Billy Loomis did. Though he died at the end of the 1996 movie, Skeet Ulrich returned to the role in a new ghostly fashion, as the dark passenger of his illegitimate daughter Sam Carpenter. Audiences were shocked during the reveal, as were team Radio Silence. “We were all in the same room at the same time reading a paper copy of the script,” Bettinelli-Olpin shared. “And you just saw each of our heads look up and we’re just staring at each other like, ‘Holy shit, they brought back Billy! This is amazing.'”
Connecting their Scream back to the original felt right to the creators, even though it was an unexpected twist. It also helped establish their new final girl, Sam. “She’s the polar opposite of Sidney,” Bettinelli-Olpin explained. “Somebody who’s coming from a damaged background with a damaged psyche and dealing with all these kinds of issues. It was a different kind of lead for a Scream movie, that’s how we knew it was the right choice.”
For Gillett there was another aspect that spoke to them too. “The thing that we were most blown away by in the script and we hope comes across in the movie was that there’s something heroic about Billy’s character,” the co-director told us.” He’s the part of her that allows her to do the thing at the end—this thing she’s running from. We get to have this big fun Hollywood moment of having him in the mirror pointing to the knife. Finding a way for this villain who was the start of everything, for him to have this sort of heroic arc in the movie, we were like, ‘F**k this is crazy.'”
Speaking of Sam, Who Is Her Mom?
Along with the reveal that Sam Carpenter is Billy’s daughter comes the mystery of her mother. The film left viewers with a lot of questions about who it could have been, but for now the creators’ lips remain sealed. “She was definitely in the script,” Bettinelli-Olpin teased. “But it just never made the cut. It felt like we were kind of opening the movie up too much and making it not as much about the sisters.” As for whether we’ll ever get answers, Bettinelli-Olpin is coy. “It’s hard to say, but it sounds like there’s an interesting story there…”
Rewriting the Rules and Introducing the Requel
The breakout character in Scream is Jasmin Savoy Brown‘s Mindy Meeks-Martin. The niece of Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), she’s the new horror hound who, in an unforgettable scene, lays out the new rules of the film. It’s a signature Scream moment and one the creators of the new film couldn’t wait to dig into. “It was something we were really excited about,” Bettinelli-Olpin said. “What other movies have characters sit around and describe the movie in real time? It feels like it’s talking to the audience but it’s also happening for a reason in the movie. It’s not winking at the camera. It’s a huge speech, a huge run, and Jasmine nailed it every time. It really sold the movie. It’s something you can go back and watch every time and discover new things.”
Randy Was Originally Going to be Played by Who?!
Speaking of Randy, one of the movie’s funniest Easter eggs—Randy’s Scream 2 prediction that he’d be played by a less famous actor in the Stab movies coming true—was actually a fluke. Because, as the crew revealed, he was originally going to be played by Seth Green, which is perfect casting. Alas, thanks to the pandemic it never happened. Instead, the wickedly funny Christopher Speed plays Randy in Stab.
Other Easter Eggs and Cameos You Might Have Missed
Before we wrapped, Gillett shared some of his favorite Easter eggs that fans might have missed. “Drew Barrymore (who plays Casey Becker in the original Scream) does the voice of the principal of the high school. Matt Lillard is in it both as Flamethrower Ghostface and he has a line at the party. We had a ton of cast come back to do the big toast at the end.” That toast was a dedication to original Scream director, Wes Craven. And as the teens say “For Wes” in memory of Wes Hicks, they’re also toasting Craven, which is why it made sense to bring back other old cast members including Jamie Kennedy, Henry Winkler, Adam Brody, as well as cast and crew.
And if the reveal that Matthew Lillard was in the movie after all as Flamethrower Ghostface gets you excited, then the team has some good news. “We sent him so many lines,” Bettinelli-Olpin laughed. “What’s the stupidest possible thing we can have this Ghostface say? And he gave them all to us… I really want to release the recording.”
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures