Exclusive: Scream 2's Jerry O'Connell and Kevin Williamson Talk Leaked Scripts and Different Killers! - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Scream 2’s Jerry O’Connell and Kevin Williamson Talk Leaked Scripts and Different Killers!

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Twenty years ago, Wes Craven’s Scream 2 managed to break box office records, opening with a domestic total of $39.2 million. Despite heavy competition against Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies, the film went on to gross over $172 million worldwideDue to the runaway success of the original film, anticipation for its sequel was high and come December 12th, 1997, audiences flocked to the theatre to follow the continued exploits of traumatized survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell); Woodsboro’s sheepish deputy Dewey (David Arquette); and his media-obsessed flame Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).

While few would argue that any of the Scream sequels could top the original, Scream 2 comes pretty close; the series only consists of four films, so there’s not much room for competition (with each having their own strengths) — but Scream 2 has consistently rated as a fan favorite. The film takes the self-referential commentary to the next level with its dissection of horror sequels, as well as the introduction of the film-within-a-film Stab (based on the events of Scream).

Aside from its pop culture references, part of the appeal of the Scream franchise is that it isn’t your typical slasher series. Rather groundbreaking at the time, the films incorporate elements from all genres — horror, comedy, action, drama — all wrapped within an Agatha Christie-esque ‘whodunit?’ mystery thriller. The guessing game as to who is behind the Ghostface mask is what makes these films all the more enjoyable.

One of the more notorious killers of the series is Scream 2‘s Debbie Salt. Initially thought to be a pesky reporter looking to ride on Gale Weathers’ coattails… In a Friday the 13th-inspired(?) twist, it is revealed that Debbie Salt is none other than Mrs. Loomis — the mother of the previous film’s killer — seeking revenge on Sidney and Gale for the murder of her son. While Mrs. Loomis was always set to orchestrate the events at Windsor College… rather than “freaky Tarantino film student” Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), one particular draft implies the enraged mother was intended to have a different set of accomplices…

In response to the hype for Scream 2, major precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the film’s ending. Despite this, it is well known that a draft of the script was leaked onto the internet before production began. In the 2011 documentary Still Screaming, the late Wes Craven remarked, “[Writer] Kevin [Williamson] sent us, I think, something like thirty pages by email. We read it, it was fabulous — it was on the internet, in its entirety, that night.” 

“One of the endings was definitely posted on the internet,” added producer Marianne Magdalena. Indeed! There is an online version of the script which features none other than Sidney’s boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) as the killers.

On whether he was aware of this, Jerry O’Connell tells us, “I didn’t know about that until after — like years after. Somebody told me — I think at a comic con or something… because we never got the ending. When we first got the script, I got everything but the last twenty pages. I think they rewrote the ending — I’m not sure if it got leaked or what, but the script had a weird non-copyable pattern on it that you couldn’t make xerox copies of it.

It’s funny. Revisiting the film, I guess I could see that but Timothy Olyphant was so good in that — in that turn — it was sort of fun to see him do that.”

Initially believing this script to be real — with the change in killers an effort to combat the script’s leak — we caught up with writer Kevin Williamson to discuss this purported draft. As he revealed, this script (which has been circulating the web since 1997) isn’t real at all — but it’s not entirely fake either. “The Hallie and Derek ending was a dummy draft. At the time the script was written, the studio was determined to keep the plot details under wraps.

They were worried the killer’s identity would be leaked, so we wrote several endings. Three in all, if memory serves, and when actors and potential crew members asked to read the script, we would send the script with the dummy ending.”  

As it turns out, Mickey was always intended to be Mrs. Loomis’ accomplice… but one can’t help but ponder the idea of different killers. “There was even a fake ending where Dewey was the killer. They existed as a decoy and nothing more. Extreme measures, but we really wanted to keep the killer’s identity a secret!”

The details of this particular script are rather interesting — it reads fairly similar to the final film, but contains a few extra scenes and reversed character roles. As in the film, Sidney is taken into protective custody after Randy’s death — but in this version, Hallie does not accompany her; she and Joel had to Windsor’s film department to retrieve footage for her film class. After watching Mickey fall prey during an attack with Ghostface, Sidney heads for the campus theatre, closely followed by Gale — who has just survived her own encounter with the killer; Dewey, on the other hand, not so much…

Inside the theatre, Sidney finds the bodies of Joel, Hallie, and Dewey — all strung up in the same manner as Derek in the film. Terrified, she tries to escape but comes across Cotton Weary — his arms and legs bound by tape. She attempts to help before Derek enters, revealing himself to be the killer.

This would have been an odd choice to consider — the Derek we know in the film is a genuinely likable character. Considering her poor taste in previous boyfriends, Derek as an innocent adds warmth to Sidney’s story (she would carry his gifted fraternity letters in Scream 3). But in this script, he’s totally whacked in the head…

The revelation scene follows closely to the final version. Derek begins taunting Sidney as she contemplates whether or not to unbind Cotton. Knowing that her boyfriend couldn’t have acted alone, Sidney fears Cotton might be his accomplice… until one of the nearby bodies springs to life. Hallie emerges from behind, grabs Sidney, and cackles.

Personally, I would’ve loved to have seen Elise Neal as the Ghostface killer… In the final film, when Dewey considers this, he notes, “Serial killers are typically white males,” to which Randy retorts, “But that’s why it’s perfect! It’s sort of against the rules, but not really!”

According to this script, Derek and Hallie had met on a horror movie chat board. Both serial killer fanatics, the two had forged a relationship and initiated themselves into Sidney’s life. O’Connell’s response? “That’s hilarious. My own relationship with Elise is still great. It’s super fun to see her career — everyone’s career — do well after that. I’ve really stayed in touch with Elise over the years and that would’ve been a lot of fun. She’s a great actress.”

The motive isn’t particularly fleshed out. Like Mickey, neither were preoccupied with being apprehended for the crimes. The only goal was to reap the rewards(?) of a high-profile media trial. Soon after, Mrs. Loomis arrives with Gale at gunpoint. She proceeds to shoot her helpful but worthless sidekicks, revealing she intends to frame Cotton Weary for the murders — the same man who was erroneously charged with the murder of Sidney’s mother.

Unbeknownst to Mrs. Loomis, Cotton has managed to free himself from his ties and lunges at the crazed woman, knife in hand. He repeatedly stabs her until the madness ceases. But Cotton has truly considered Mrs. Loomis’ words; he stabs Gale and tosses her body into the theatre’s orchestra pit. And with that, we now have Scream 2‘s pseudo-fourth(!) killer…

If we were to consider this version, having Sidney’s boyfriend serve as the killer again might’ve proved repetitive… but in turn, might’ve also served as a greater red herring — one wouldn’t have expected Kevin Williamson to tread down that road again. McConnell is equally dismissive of the possibility:

“No, I mean, I love that final ending. It’s a little disturbing — spoiler alert, everybody — to see a hole get blown through my chest. It was thrilling, sort of like an iconic ending — and a lot of people argue that the sequel was just as good as the first one. So it’s sort of fun to be a part of that whole crucifixtion ending… It’s fun to be a part of an iconic death scene. Between that and Piranha, I’m doing pretty well in the horror world.

But yeah, I would’ve had fun playing the killer! But I’m not here to tell Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven what they should be doing with their stories… If they felt I was dying at the end, then that was it, I was dying at the end!”

In any case, had this draft come to fruition, it would’ve been notable for featuring not two… not three… but four(!) killers, as well as the first (and so far only) African-American killer. Diversity? I don’t know… but I still say Elise Neal would’ve killed in that role — literally.

In honor of the 20th anniversary, O’Connell also reminisced on the film’s success, saying, “I think it was the first film that really set the tone — so a lot of praise has to go to that first film — and it was a combination of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. Wes — God rest his soul — was just such a cool cat. And one of the most confident, kind, nice – one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. Literally, every time I walk on a set, I really say a small prayer for him because he was the best. The best. And I think it was just him and Williamson getting together – it just made for a great team.

Also, it was a really fun, young cast. We had a lot of fun off set, we had a lot of fun on set… Liev Schreiber (Cotton Weary) was there to goof around with everyone as well. It was just… everything fell into place.

Big props have to also go to a guy named Richard Potter, who’s sort of an unsung hero of it. He worked at Dimension at the time and he had a lot to do with the story — I believe he was the Dimension executive on the project. He had a lot to do with everything as well, so Richard Potter was a dude that was really elementary. And also Julie Plec [Wes Craven’s assistant].

I know Richard had a lot to do with Scream and the decisions — the first film, the second film, the third film — he and Julie Plec were the real sort of advocates for the whole Scream world.

I love Scream 2 and anytime anybody wants to talk about it? It’s a real favorite of mine. I’m really proud of the film.” 

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AfterShock Comics Announces New Series Brothers Dracul

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We’ve mentioned AfterShock Comics a few times around these parts, and now they’re about to release a new series that has Dread Central’s name all over it! Read on for the first word on Brothers Dracul from Cullen Bunn (X-Men) with art by Mirko Colak (The Punisher), who previously teamed up for AfterShock’s Unholy Grail.

Bunn and Colak are joined by colorist Maria Santaolalla and letterer Simon Bowland. Cover A is by Colak and Santaolalla while Francesco Francavilla provided Cover B.  Issue #1 hits stores on April 11th.

Bunn describes a bit of what the book is about and discusses working with the same creative team as AfterShock’s Unholy Grail“I’m thrilled to be working on BROTHERS DRACUL, a 15th century horror tale that explores the ‘true’ history of the infamous Vlad the Impaler. With this book, we’ve brought the entire creative team of Unholy Grail along. I’m working with artist Mirko Colak, colorist Maria Santaolalla, and letterer Simon Bowland once again. We had so much fun telling a horror story with King Arthur as its central figure, we had to get the gang back together for this story, featuring one of the most shocking icons of horrific history!”

Synopsis:
From writer Cullen Bunn and artist Mirko Colak comes a tale of brothers and blood that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

The legend of Vlad the Impaler is the stuff of nightmares. The inspiration for the most iconic of monsters—Dracula, Vlad tortured and murdered thousands of victims. But what turned him into such a depraved killer? The truth lies in his teenage years, when Vlad and his brother, Radu, were held hostage by the Ottoman Empire. During this time the brothers learned many things—archery, riding, the art of combat, matters of court… and how to stalk and slay vampires.

Cover A

Cover B

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Fight Chainsaw-wielding Psychos in Retro FPS Dusk

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Strongly inspired by hardcore ’90s shooters such as Doom and Quake, the brutal retro-style FPS Dusk has now made its way onto Steam Early Access, with a full release promised to be coming within the next several months.

Dusk was created by indie developer David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive, with the soundtrack composed by Rise of the Triad’s Andrew Hulshult. You play as a treasure hunter who travels to the mysterious town of Dusk, Pennsylvania, where he is captured by the locals and hung on a meat hook. After barely escaping with your life, you’re forced to arm yourself with whatever you can you can get your hands on in an effort to fight your way through both the insane locals and the dark supernatural forces which have also settled in the town. So if you’ve ever entertained fantasies of wielding a double-barrel shotgun and going up against chainsaw-wielding psychos wearing potato sacks over their heads, your dreams are about to come true.

Dusk Official Synopsis
DUSK reintroduces you to a world where butchery and bloodshed must be mastered if you’re to survive ’til dawn. Inspired by Quake, Blood, Heretic, Hexen, Half-Life, Redneck Rampage and all your ’90s favorites, and featuring a soundtrack by metal music mastermind Andrew Hulshult.

In THREE distinct campaign episodes hand-crafted from straight outta the ’90s, players battle through an onslaught of mystical backwater cultists, possessed militants and even darker forces and attempt to discover just what lurks beneath the Earth. Featuring a vast arsenal of badass weaponry including saw blades, dual-wielded shotguns from 1887 and an incredibly necessary grenade launcher, DUSK is unapologetic retro action from start to finish.

In addition to the main campaign, DUSK features an Endless Survival Mode, putting you front and center of wave after wave of enemies. For those looking for an extra challenge, DUSK also offers the chance to go head to head online to battle your friends in arena multiplayer, where darkness hosts the worst of humanity in surprising new ways.

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role

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I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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