Yesterday, it was confirmed that the newest installment in the Scream franchise has wrapped filming and the new movie is set to be released by Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group on January 14, 2022! As you know, the first four films were written by Kevin Williamson and directed by the late Wes Craven. The newest film is written by Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt, based on characters created by Kevin Williamson, and the filmmakers behind the recent hit film Ready or Not, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, are directing. Today on Instagram Williamson shared photos from his time on set and revealed that the title of the fifth film in the franchise is Scream.
Dread Central was excited to be involved in a recent interview with the team known as Radio Silence, comprised of filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and executive producer Chad Villella, as well as producer William Sherak (Project X). Read on to find out what we learned about Scream (2022)!
In response to a question about their plans to pay tribute to Wes Craven, Radio Silence said, “Wes Craven’s entire body of work is so important to us as filmmakers and his fans. Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street are two of the most influential movies to us in our lives, and it’s almost impossible to separate that from any of our work, so we’re of course bringing that into Scream, because that’s a dream come true.”
When asked about the identity of the killer in the new film, Radio Silence confirms that, with Kevin Williamson’s support, multiple drafts of the script have been leaked to the public, much like Williamson did with the original Scream. The cast has also been given different versions of the script.
Regarding the current state of horror, Tyler Gillet said, “When Kevin and Wes created the first Scream, horror movies were kind of a fringe genre. It wasn’t like a wildly mainstream style of storytelling and for the last decade, horror films have really been on the rise. There’s certainly a bit of that conversation in this story. One of the things that’s naturally baked into the Scream movies is that it’s about what’s happening right now. So, there is a large conversation in this film that addresses the conversations that we’re all having in our lives about entertainment and media, and the genre specifically.”
As far as recent horror movie influences on the new film, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin said, “We talk about Jordan Peele’s body or work a lot. What he’s doing is the closest thing to what we love and what we hope to do tonally, where it’s fun and it’s about something and it’s exciting and it’s not just one thing. We talked about the visual style of Us a lot when were were talking about this, just because it captured something very honest and organic, while also feeling like a big, fun movie. To be able to do those two things simultaneously and have an indie vibe when it’s a big, fun popcorn movie is to us what Wes Craven kind of mastered with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, where he’s able to walk that line. That’s the newest thing in that lineage for us.”
Producer William Sherak added, “It’s also what Radio Silence has been doing and their ability to bring humor to things that are really scary. What they did in Ready or Not, that tone is not easy, and addressing real horror and adding some fun to it is not easy to do, and they do it brilliantly, so I would be remiss to not bring up their films as well.”
When we asked Radio Silence how they feel about being part of a slasher resurgence, alongside movies like Candyman (2021) and Halloween Kills (2021), Matt Bettinelli-Olpin said, “We’re very excited! We were all eighties kids and that’s what it was when we were kids. Kind of like what William said earlier, it’s hard to speak about ourselves alongside movies like Candyman. These were the biggest movies in the world to us when we were younger, and still are. To be a part of that is incredible, but just as fans it’s incredible. To know that we’re getting a new Candyman and a new Halloween from these really talented filmmakers who are doing their own thing with it, while also respecting what came before them, and having that lineage pushed forward is just incredible right now for horror fans. To be a part of it is a dream come true.”
Chad Villella said, “It’s a resurgence for the mainstream, but for us it never left our DNA, just the excitement that comes with it. Our first time walking into the costume department and seeing Ghostface and hearing a squeal like little kids. We didn’t know that our stunt guy was in the wardrobe, so he jumped out at us, and it was actually quite terrifying to see Ghostface lunging at us. The excitement is there and it’s a dream come true.”
Tyler Gillett added, “It feels like slashers is a subgenre that has a huge following and a large fandom, but it’s kind of been this historically maligned subgenre where people think that there’s not a lot happening under the surface and it’s just kind of gore porn chasing dumb kids through the woods. The thing that we’re so incredibly honored to be a part of is to show people that there is a lot happening in that subgenre under the hood. That’s what we’re seeing with this resurgence with Halloween and Candyman, is that a lot of it is approach and a lot of it is story, but it’s really peeling back these superficial layers that people have used to define and over-simplify that subgenre and to kind of say, ‘No, there’s real shit happening in these stories!’ And the villains who are these iconic, iconic killers, they’re about something and they say something about who we are and the state of the world. To get to be a part of that and maybe shed a little nuance on a genre that maybe hasn’t really gotten it’s due, is a really amazing opportunity.”
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin explained, “Like what you were saying, in the past it was so easily shit on and put to the side because people were so uncomfortable with their own reaction to it. One of our biggest pet peeves is ‘elevated horror’ as a term, because it’s nonsense and doesn’t mean anything. When this new resurgence of slashers comes out, and we’re now as a culture so aware that horror is about more than just stabbing kids in the woods, it’s going to be really interesting to see the mainstream have to grapple with how they feel about a slasher that they can no longer malign. It’s so interesting as far as where we are as a culture right now, that we’re going to have to face some of these demons and deal with that.”
Tyler Gillett said, “And that’s what Wes was all about was forcing that friction and making the audience run to the darkest parts of themselves. That’s what’s so great about horror. It will be interesting to see how we handle this resurgence culturally [laughs].”
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin joked, “We could talk about this all day [laughs]!”
When asked how the returning cast members like David Arquette, Courtney Cox, and Neve Campbell reacted to the new script, producer William Sherak responded, “When Gary Barber at Spyglass said it was time to redo Scream and we all started playing with the idea again, the first thing he did is say that we had to go get Kevin Williamson’s blessing and bring him into the process to make sure that we were handling it correctly. One for Wes, but two, making sure you continue the story properly. Having him as part of the development process, I think gave us color into any of the legacy cast we wanted to have involved, gave us color into, not just as fans, but from the development process, who they should be in the movie and how they can interact. From there, it gave us the jumping off point to develop the characters as they play them in the movie and then when we went to them, Radio Silence reached out to explain specifically their involvement and how we wanted to do it. I’ll let them share the response they got, but as you can tell in the movie, it was positive.”
Tyler Gillett added, “This is their world and we’re the new guys and we were very conscious of that and wanted to make sure everybody knew that. We were like, ‘Here’s this script that we love, and these are characters that you guys have built over the last 25 years. All input is not only welcome, it is encouraged.’ Everybody had really good thoughts to help guide their characters’ stories and in a lot of cases, the story overall. It was truly invaluable getting the feedback from them because they know these characters better than anyone and they really help guide that in a lot of ways.”
And Matt Bettinelli-Olpin said “For all of that feedback, I think the thing that was evident every single time we reached out to any of the legacy cast with the script with the script, all of them said separately how surprised they were by how great the script was. Which is a testament to Guy and Jamie and the care and consideration they took in writing those characters and writing them in a way that feels so much a part of Wes and Kevin’s vision, but also so contemporary and makes so much sense for what it has to be to push the franchise forward and give us the things we want. The fact that they were all so excited to be a part of it is really, like kudos to Guy and Jamie for handling it with such care.”
In response to a question asking how fans who have never seen Scream, and are new to the horror genre, would react to this film, William Sherak said, “Our goal was that if you’ve seen the previous movies and you love them, this version of the movie should fulfill everything you’re looking for, which is why Radio Silence were the right guys to do this. From a new fanbase that hasn’t seen the movies, the idea being that it is first and foremost a horror movie, and if we deliver that with some fun, it shouldn’t matter, and they can live this movie the same way the group of us lived the first one 26 years ago. Which was something brand new that you went, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe they just did that!’ And our goal was that it should straddle that line perfectly. That’s what we set out to do and I hope we will accomplish it. Our goal was to create something for the fanbase and create something with enough of a nod, to be unbelievably respectful of what we grew up on and deliver what the first one delivered for a new audience.”
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin added, “I’m not sure I had seen some of the movies referenced in the first Scream when it came out, but Scream is the movie that made me go watch Prom Night and watch some of the movies that it was talking about in a way that I might not have before seeing it. If we can do that too and just create a new level of love for the genre, even for a couple of people, fantastic.”
William Sherak explained, “I think that the fun of it is a really great gateway into horror. The fun of the Scream franchise is a really good entrance point to be really scared. I remember when I watched the first one, the fun made it accessible. That’s our hope for new audiences.”
Finally, when asked if there is an iconic opening scene in the new film, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin said, “I don’t know. That’s a good question.”