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Scream VI Creative Team Talks Rebooting the Classic Franchise

Apr 29, 2023


What’s your favorite scary movie? Ever since Drew Barrymore answered the phone at the beginning of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s OG meta-slasher film, Scream has been a franchise that just cannot be stopped. Last year’s reboot was a smash hit, as was Scream VI, which is now available for home streaming.

Following the latest Ghostface killings from the previous film, the four survivors leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in this latest “requel.” Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, and Jenna Ortega lead the way as college students, with Hayden Panettiere and Courteney Cox reprising their memorable roles from past installments. Collectively, the ensemble is just terrific in Scream VI, a unique ultra-meta slasher that leaves us wanting more.
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We recently caught up with James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, the writers of the last two Scream films, as well as producer William Sherak in a group interview. They dished on working alongside the iconic Kevin Williamson and why it’s a particularly great time to continue the franchise. Read our exclusive interview below.

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MW: Between last year’s film and Scream VI, what inspired you to reboot the franchise at this point in time?

William Sherak: Part of it is opportunistic, and part of it is a moment in time, which is Gary Barber, who we’ve known for a very long time, had just acquired the Weinstein library in bankruptcy. And when he was starting the new company, we knew Scream was in that library, and we jumped up and down.

Sherak: We’re massive fans of it. So it was the opportunistic side of fanboys grabbing something when they could. And then on top of that, to separate the producing side of grabbing a title, two amazing writers on your [interview] right here then figured out how to make it so relevant, where it was the right moment in time to do it. And I think that’s the magic sauce. The optimistic side is being in the right moment, in the right place, the right time to grab it. And Gary letting us grab it and trusting us to do it, and then having extremely talented writers that can sit back once you have it and you get over that excitement, and you go, “OK, now how do we not f**k this up?”

Related: Exclusive: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett Take Scream VI to New York City

Guy Busick: Yeah, we were fans first, and we hadn’t had a Scream movie in 10 years. And we were like, “Well, as fans, what would we want to see in what could be the final Scream movie, if we get one more? What do we want to see?” And we were also very protective of the franchise as fans, because it was like, if anyone’s going to do this and screw up, I hope it’s someone who loves it.

Busick: We knew we loved it, and we knew if we were going to screw it up, at least we were coming from a pure place of just being in love with the franchise for 25 years and putting Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson on a pedestal, which they deserve to be. They did something really special, and they did something that really meant a lot to me, in my life as a moviegoer. So much of my voice as a writer kind of comes out of that first movie. You could draw a direct line between the first Scream and Ready or Not, just the idea that horror movies can be fun and funny and meta, and all of these wonderful things that have characters you actually care about, as opposed to just machete fodder. It was sort of life changing.

Busick: So it was like, “Alright, we think we can do this. And we know we’re coming at it from a good place. Let’s see another Scream movie, it’s been too long.” And then as William said, the “why” of it was very important to us. And we felt like we had two things to comment on with the fifth one, which was “requels,” because that was sort of a big deal at the time, The Force Awakens and other legacy sequels had been happening.

Busick: And the toxic fandom element was like, “We have an opinion about this. This is something that’s happening in pop culture right now in movies, and this is the perfect vehicle to talk about it.” So it all just really fell into place. And we’re like, “Yes, this is the right time for a Scream movie. We have a reason to do it. It’s not just a soulless cash grab. We love this thing, and we’re going to do our best to make it good.”

James Vanderbilt on Outdoing Scream 2022 with Scream VI

Paramount Pictures

MW: Scream 5 was already super clever, especially with the opening scene and how the character actually survives. Was it challenging to outdo yourselves with Scream VI?

James Vanderbilt: We came to the idea of it really early. Guy and I, what we do is we kind of make notes separately, and then we get together for our first story meeting and go, “I was thinking this way,” and sort of just compare. Guy sort of pitched this opening [of Scream VI] where we meet this girl, and then she gets killed, and then the mask comes off. And the way he tells it, my face was doing something, and he was like, “Oh no, he hates it.” And I just picked up my notepad and showed him, and I had written “Ghostface takes mask off in first 10 minutes.”

Vanderbilt: So we both kind of love the idea of a handoff scenario and surprise because it is one of those things where we are such fans of it. We know there are people who are watching the movie who’ve never seen a Scream movie before. But we also know the people who have seen every Scream movie and know some of them by heart. And so we love the idea of taking your knowledge and maybe weaponizing it a little bit against you as a fan, to sort of surprise you or do different things with it. That became a real sort of focal point of, how can we sort of do this? So it was super exciting, but we came to it relatively early.

Related: Scream VI: Why the Revenge Story Worked So Well

Working with Kevin Williamson on Scream

Paramount Pictures

MW: What was it like having [original Scream writer] Kevin Williamson on board as an executive producer and part of the creative process?

Sherak: Anytime you can have a North Star be the guy that created this awesome thing, you thank everybody every day. And getting to not only work with him, but become friends with him has just been one of those sort of bucket list moments in our careers. It’s not easy to create anything from scratch, let alone a franchise that can live on for the amount of time this has lived on. That is not an easy thing to do. He’s in rarefied air in that way. And so getting him back into the franchise and be part of it is kind of a Hollywood dream.

Vanderbilt: He’s also just awesome. He’s really good at this thing. And he’s really great at this. He’s got a great story, and he’s a great human. So it’s one of those things where it’s just such a pleasure to watch this through his eyes. And it has been really sort of fun to see how excited he is that people are finding the movies and connecting to them in a way even if they haven’t seen the first three that came out. So he’s the best.

MW: Are you interested in doing a seventh installment?

Sherak: Yeah, I think that the answer to that is, if they let us do it, we’ll keep doing it. But other people get to make those decisions.

Scream VI is now available on Digital platforms and Paramount+ and arrives on 4K Ultra HD SteelBook, on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on July 11.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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