‘Scream VI’ Star Dermot Mulroney Reveals The Movie That Ruined His Childhood [Interview]

It’s official. Scream VI is a bonafide commercial and critical hit. Not only did the sixth entry in the long-running slasher franchise have a record-breaking opening weekend, but we here at Dread Central also happened to love the latest adventures of Ghostface.

Now we’re sitting down with the new detective in town, veteran actor Dermot Mulroney, to discuss what it’s like entering a legacy series like Scream. He also admits the one movie that ruined his childhood and shares which thriller from the 1980s he wished he’d have been cast in.

Check out our interview with Scream VI star Dermot Mulroney below:

Dread Central: How familiar were you with the Scream franchise before you signed on?

Dermot Mulroney: I was familiar just with the first film, and I remembered it as that turning point in movies where horror became funny, and it wasn’t a shame to be in the horror movie anymore. That was the turning point, like, “Oh, we can do horror movies now?” So I didn’t know any of the other movies. I watched them all leading up to working on Scream VI, though. And obviously, Scream V is the most related since it’s the carry-on story after Melissa and Jenna and Mason and Jasmine established the base center cast.

DC: Have you ever been in anything before where there was a fan base quite like this one?

DM: No, nothing of this sort. I’ve never been in a film that has this intense fan following, so I’ve had the good luck to join a successful TV show that already has a fan base and et cetera. But this is something else entirely, I think.

I’ve been telling people around town or where I encounter them over the counter or whatever, I say, “Hey, make sure you check out Scream VI.” And then I give them a really knowing look like, yeah, right? Scream VI, some kind of look like that, because then I’m hoping later on they’ll see it and then they’ll be like, “Oh, that guy at the hardware store, he gave me that look and it turns out.” So that’s what I’m hoping that I’ll just do it through personal contact.

But no, they have not revealed themselves to me yet. A little bit on social media where it’s just incredibly friendly to this movie. And the people that have come to Scream-related webpages and what have you are remarkable fans. But I do suspect that I’ve only scratched the surface.

DC: Are you good at guessing who the killer is when you’re watching a mystery yourself?

DM: I think I usually get fooled. I’m a very appreciative filmgoer. I guess maybe you know how they’re made, so you have to deliberately fall for stuff sometimes or just not overanalyze it because… So I think, I’ll usually fall for movies. As to being a good, what did you say, judge of people?

DC: How good are you at reading people?

DM: Yeah, that’s a nice question about how the part I play in this film comes across because I think, in his case, he’s very capable of reading people. Actors aren’t all that crazy, but it is part of the training that you just observe how people behave and how that’s based on their feelings and how it would be portrayed if you were to act that person. So I think like that.

DC: How do you feel about the trend of the True Crime documentary and the True Crime podcast, and why do you think people are so fascinated with this kind of thing?

DM: Gosh, the horror movies is one thing, but you’re asking about something else. Horror movies, we get it. It’s psychologically cleansing or something. You’re experiencing fear, but you’re comfortably seated. You don’t have to actually do the running. But then really getting down to the nitty gritty of crime scene forensics and actual photos of actual things, that seems like it’s maybe a different type of appetite. So whatever that is. I watch some of that stuff too, but definitely, there’s, well, same with films, there’s stuff that I don’t feel like trying to stomach. I don’t want to go there on some of the gore half the time.

DC: I’m curious, what was production like in terms of keeping the plot and spoilers under wraps?

DM: Yes, it was quite intense. Even they gave me the script in pieces. Even that has my name on the page, so if I were to print it and share it or PDF it across, they’d know who sent it. So it’s all secure. There’s a whole department that handles the script security. I was happy to see that, especially with our young stars. They were really careful around the set. They had great security at the hotel and on locations, so I appreciate that from the producers. And of course, nobody really came out of the woodwork, but I know that they know that this is that kind of movie that it plays in that arena.

So that being said, the physicality of making this movie was pretty intense, especially for young actors, et cetera. So everybody was up to that task. Incredible, athletic even in how they went about it. The final confrontation with Melissa, I was so impressed with how much Jenna gave physically, et cetera. Hayden too.

DC: How easy are you to scare and what’s your relationship with scary movies?

DM: I don’t know. I have a inner fear, scare level that’s hard to reach, but getting startled by something, I can be startled. And again, I say I’m a good audience member. So it helps to be just a little believing or even gullible for horror movies that you go that far in. So I’m a good audience for those movies. I must say, I don’t always go to the theater and seek them out that way. Well, the world changed a little bit, but my wife has a very low tolerance, so she’ll probably never even see Scream VI. So that limits sometimes what I see, especially for choosing a movie together or what have you.

DC: When you were younger, horror or otherwise, was there ever a movie that really traumatized you and stuck with you for life?

DM: I guess I was describing it, and I guess if you’re seeking deep trauma, this doesn’t really count, but Chitty Chitty Bang Bang hit me, must just must have been at a certain age, and you see it in the movie theater. I’ve since shown it to my kids. So I re-watched it as an adult, but at the time, it was exhibited with a literal cliffhanger. Now Scream comes around in the 90s and they’re making up the term cliffhanger, and that’s a thing now. But that car drove off of the cliff, and then the movie stopped and it said intermission. And they’re about 10 minutes between the reels and it’s a long movie, so you come back. So that I’ll never forget that breath-catching literal cliffhanger. And then they come back in the wings pop out of the car and they land on the beach. So that was amazing. But at the end of the movie, Dick Van Dyke plays about his fourth character, and he’s a dog catcher with a cage, and he puts the kids in a cage. So that to me was terrifying.

DC: There’s nothing scarier than that.

DM: Child-napping is still terrifying. There’s a whole genre of movies about it.

DC: Have you ever auditioned for another classic horror franchise?

DM: Not exactly, but I really wanted to get a part in Flatliners. Flatliners was about 1987. So I was just breaking in and it was that young cast thing and I wanted to be one of them for sure.

DC: Why do you think New York City is such a great setting for a slasher film? Why do you think it was so effective?

DM: I don’t know. I guess if you think about it they haven’t really done it that much, right? There hasn’t been a psycho killer on the loose in New York City. Of course, you’re claustrophobic in a crowd now, whereas before you were a little bit claustrophobic in a small town. And then also the list of suspects just becomes 6 million all of a sudden. Then you make it Halloween and then you put them on a subway. Forget about it. Everybody’s in a mask, the lights change and then they’re right in front of you. That shit is scary.

DC: What’s scarier to you? A crowded city or an isolated small town?

DM: For me, spookier is small town, middle of nowhere. I did have a real creeping up my spine fear not long ago, and I noted it because I thought that was actual core fear that I experienced. I was staying in an Airbnb when I was making a movie called Gone in the Night with Winona Rider, which is its own genre-style movie. I bet you’d enjoy if you haven’t seen it yet. We’re in the middle of nowhere in the Redwoods and I’m in an Airbnb that’s a cabin out in the middle of the woods, all alone at the end of a road. A beautiful place to stay in the day. And at night I step outside and I keep hearing cree, cree. And then I stand still and I don’t hear it, and I move a little more and I hear it some more and it’s right behind me. And it turns out it was the tiling stones on the patio that I was stepping on. So I was making an unusual creeping creaking sound, but the sound alone in the pitch dark, that’s all it takes sometimes to trigger that primal sensation. So that was my most recent actual wondering, is there someone here right behind me?

Have you seen Scream VI yet? If so, what did you think? Let us know on Twitter via @DreadCentral. We’re always around to chat about all things Scream!



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