The Scream franchise has come a long way. In the 1996 film, if you blinked twice, you missed the ancillary Black people in the background. Yes, the main characters, especially Sidney Prescott, absolutely rule; however, it was indeed a very, very white film. Fast forward 20 plus years later and the four leading characters, now known as the Core Four, are not white. And, while Sidney had to endure a good portion of her trauma alone, this quartet is made of two sibling pairs who will do anything for each other. Fans absolutely adore Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin, the nephew and niece of Randy Meeks. In Scream VI, we get to know Chad and Mindy on a whole new level, so we chatted with Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding about their bond, Chad’s heroicness, the Chad/Tara romance, and Mindy’s wild moments with Ghostface.
Nerdist: In what ways have Chad and Mindy changed since the last Scream movie?
Jasmin Savoy Brown: It’s mostly Mindy’s hair. (laughs) A big chop. She’s looking real different! I think Mindy is excited to be stepping into her queerness in a new way, being in college, being exposed to new people, new places. She’s probably learning about Stonewall for the first time and she’s really taking all of that really far in her self-expression and is representing who she is head to toe.
Mason Gooding: And I guess Chad, after being turned into a human pin cushion, has probably learned to maybe work on his core in case he gets stabbed ever again. And then on top of that, I think he’s really willing to invest time in the people he loves and to make sure that they’re safe. Maybe he projects a lot of what happened to him onto the wellbeing of others to make sure that they don’t have to experience what he did.
Savoy Brown: He’s a softie.
Gooding: He’s a loving himbo.
Savoy Brown: A loving himbo.
Chad is indeed a loving and brave guy in this movie. I like the way he steps up and becomes this charming and action-ready hero. It’s kind of like Duane Jones in Night of the Living Dead with a touch of Scream’s Dewey Riley. What was it like to step into that leading man role this time around? How did you prepare for it?
Gooding: I want the best and [care about the] wellbeing of the women in my life, mainly Jasmin, Jenna (Ortega), and Melissa (Barerra). And I think I transfixed that desire for safety and security of the people I love onto Chad’s persona. And in a horror movie, especially one that’s as physical as Scream, that manifests as Chad being a protector a lot of times. I think Chad embodies a lot of what I like about modern interpretations of masculinity. He admits when he’s wrong. He listens to women when they talk about what is either wrong or what he should do and is also willing to put his body on the line to make sure that they’re okay.
I love that! And, for Mindy, she’s still got that trademark humor and is a standout character. But this film puts her in some really dire situations, like the ladder and subway scenes. What was it like filming those big moments?
Savoy Brown: I love filming both of those scenes. The subway scene I got to film with none other than Jack Champion, our little Avatar friend. He is just a delight… I would just really try to make him break by improving crazy things, which was really fun. And same with Devyn Nekoda. She is very talented and I’m glad that she has that whole sequence to really showcase her range. She gave her whole body in that scene and in my opinion, has one of the most epic fallings anyone’s ever had.
That moment was big for Mindy. It’s a hard trauma to lose your girlfriend right in front of your face. She tries to hide behind her pain with humor, but where do you think her head space is by the end of this film?
Savoy Brown: By the end she’s really just running on adrenaline and is a bit thrown off. I think anytime you go through a trauma like that, you just kind of coasting and a bit confused and really overdoing it with the humor, like you said. And it catches up later. Mindy will probably fall apart at some point but her brother is there to catch her.
Gooding: Chad and Mindy’s relationship is so endearing. They bicker at each other, but they really have each other’s backs and that never waivers at any point, even though they make fun of each other all the time.
They do! And you can feel the sibling chemistry between you two, both on and off camera. How did you become friends?
Savoy Brown: Well, he started it! He texted me when I booked the job and was like, “Can’t wait to meet you. I’m here if you need anything. Let me know. I got your back.”
Gooding: Listen, I’ll be candid. We were going to film in Wilmington, North Carolina and I just wanted…
Savoy Brown: He was like, you’re the only other… (mumbles and laughs)
Gooding: I just wanted to make sure Jasmine felt like she had someone who maybe had a similar background to her on set and a new cast of people.
Savoy Brown: Black people got to stick together.
Gooding: Straight up.
We always find each other!
Gooding: Exactly. I just wanted to let her know I’m here.
Savoy Brown: And I said thank you because I’m scared.
Gooding: And then she hit me with a bill of therapy. If I ever want to talk, it’s like $45 an hour, which is fair.
Savoy Brown: Minimum.
Oh, my God.
Savoy Brown: My rates have gone up since.
I love you two. So, outside of this sibling relationship, Chad gets a romantic one with Tara. Can you talk about why it makes sense for them to be an item?
Gooding: I think there’s something life altering about having such a traumatic experience for Chad that it only makes sense that certain dynamics and friendships and relationships in his life would shift dramatically. Maybe he has a new outlook, a lease on life, that would draw him to follow through on feelings that maybe he didn’t even know were available for him.
Moreover, I think there’s something so electric and magnetic about Tara’s independence and how she wants so badly to live her life the way she wants to, that I think Chad, in being such a helper and protector, wants to see her succeed and to have a life of safety and comfort. And I think whatever way that he can support her in that, he’s willing to follow through it.
That’s so lovely. Last question for you both. What were your thoughts when you read the script and discovered the killer twist?
Savoy Brown: The end was like boom, boom, bop. I saw the first boom coming, but not the other boom and the bop. The bop really shocked me.
Gooding: When I read the script once, I must have missed it because I remember they asked, “Did you guys see the killers coming?” And I was like, “I just listed two.” And they were like, “You didn’t read carefully enough, maybe go back and try again.” And I got the whole picture after that and I was like, wow, y’all really did that! You really went and changed the game up.
Chad is a total boss here who survives two Ghostfaces stabbing him at the same time. An iconic moment.
Gooding: And then still walks away! So that’s the real secret to being a leading man. Chad is actually a superhero. And he has immortality. There it is, guys. Spoiled.