[Exclusive Interview] Marley Shelton and David Arquette Talk SCREAM
Courtesy Paramount Pictures & Spyglass Media Group
Do you like scary movies? The thrilling trailer for SCREAM, scheduled to be released in theaters January 14, 2022, just dropped, and Nightmarish Conjurings is excited to share some exclusive interviews from a virtual press junket I attended with the cast of the new film! Written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick and directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not), also known as Radio Silence, SCREAM stars Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, with Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell.

Along with a few other online outlets, I had the pleasure of talking with Marley Shelton and David Arquette, over Zoom, about returning to their roles as Deputy Judy Hicks (Shelton) and Sheriff Dewey Riley (Arquette) for the new Scream!

First, we talked with Marley Shelton, who told us that Judy Hicks has been promoted! She’s now Sheriff Hicks and said, “There’s a lot that comes with that which I won’t give away. She also has a teenage son, who’s an amazing member of our cast.” Shelton also shared that Judy’s son is named Wes, in honor of the late Wes Craven.

Patrick Cavanaugh, Comicbook.com: For SCREAM, was this something that you’ve been hoping to come back for the past 10 years? Or was it later in the game that you’re excited to kind of get involved?

Marley Shelton: Honestly, it never even occurred to me that they would make another one after four. I just completely put it out of my mind. I’m not sure why in retrospect, but I was so delighted and surprised when they called me up. And now, it makes perfect sense. I think it’s fantastic. And what’s great about this, this relaunch is you’re gonna get all of the same kind of things that we love about Scream, which is like the self-referencing humor, the making fun of other horror tropes that really kind of amazing sort of snarky tone and yet, all while being really, really scary. I was so excited when I read the script. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they pulled it off. They did it again.’ Like they actually hit this, this incredible tone that’s like threading a needle. And I think Matt and Tyler as directors are also really the right guys to take this on and to helm this. I think Wes Craven would have approved of this choice. So, I’m excited and I think this is a great way to kind of relaunch the Scream world.

Michelle Swope: Deputy Judy Hicks has an iconic line from Scream 4, “Wear the vest, save your chest!” Does the new Sheriff have any cool lines in the new SCREAM that will stay with us?

Shelton: Yes, Judy’s always full of Judy-isms. So hopefully, we’ll have a few this go around. I know between that line and the lemon squares, it’s you know, Judy, has made her mark on the Zeitgeist [laughs].

Rihaana Stark, Geeks of Color: As a whole, what makes this one bigger and better than the others, and how does this one set it set itself apart from the others in the franchise?

Shelton: Well, I think, for one thing, there’s that much more backstory. That’s the cool thing with the Scream legacy is like you get more and more invested in these characters. Because each time everything’s connected to the predecessor and there’s this whole almost lore now surrounding it and I think that keeps us audience members invested because you’re tracking who’s related to who and how and remembering different origin stories and how they relate to the present. So, all of that is in this and yet it also is fresh and topical and modern and new characters I mean, I think that’s the other cool thing. We have a whole fresh young cast that is super talented. Also really cool that they’re diverse, that we’ve got major ethnic diversity this time which is cool. And I think that’s gonna be awesome for audiences to see it’s just a new host of talented actors along with the legacy cast, of course.

Michelle Swope: What’s your experience been like filming SCREAM during the pandemic? Has it been difficult?

Shelton: Well, so like every other business and industry, we’ve had to get creative and pivot and adapt. And it’s definitely a challenge. It’s not insurmountable but dealing with all the PPE and the masks and face shields, and all of that stuff in between takes is definitely something to get used to. I don’t think I saw my cast members’ full faces until they said, “action.” They roll in half. First day of shooting, which was so kind of jarring, we even rehearsed with full masks on. So, that was interesting. And I joked with Matt, and Tyler, but I still haven’t seen their faces. They’re my directors, and still, I’ve only seen their eyeballs. But like anything else, you get used to it. You know, it’s like the triumph of the human spirit. Like our crew. They’re such rockstars. They’re wearing all of this gear for 12 hours a day. And people are so respectful and caring of each other, and it’s a group effort, but in a weird way, it bonds you as well.

Michelle Swope: I know you probably can’t tell us, but how would you feel about Sheriff Judy Hicks not surviving SCREAM?

Shelton: I mean, that would be devastating. That would be absolutely devastating. But it’s interesting the way we’re approaching this. I don’t know if anyone else has talked about this yet. But the filmmakers are not revealing who the killer is. We’ve only been given up to page 77 of the movie. And the idea is that in a Scream movie, everyone is a suspect. Or a potential victim you just don’t know. And so, they’re really playing with this idea on set and it’s sort of helping our characters to not know whether we’re the killer or the victim until obviously, eventually when we shoot those scenes so yeah, so it could go any which way.

Marley Shelton stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

The virtual press junket continued with a fiercely passionate conversation with David Arquette about returning to SCREAM, which ended with Arquette and all the journalists, including myself, emotional and in tears.

LRM:  So, how is that suit fitting again, making the return?

David Arquette: [laughs] Oh, I love playing this character so, so sweet. It’s got such a close place in my heart. You know, there’s not a lot of films that spend 24 years but I’m a part of it. You know, I actually have a child as a result, the entire experience so it’s incredibly close to my heart. It’s really sad, you know, doing this and not having Wes here. It’s been an emotional experience. But it’s been really exciting to me, working with Tyler and Matt. Just been so respectful of Wes, you know, vision and learn so much and were inspired by him. They’re taking that into this new generation with these incredible actors. I’m so in awe of the talent that these young actors have and how quick-witted they are, what incredible people they are, they all have such big hearts and they’re really kind and they are really just so talented. I mean, Melissa [Barrera] and Jenna [Ortega]…I had the opportunity to work with Jenna before and I knew how amazing an actress she was. So, it’s been really exciting and really inspirational to see this new generation and know that they were inspired by the original and that they’re going to continue the stories and hopefully entertain the audience and stay true to what came before but also expand on it. There are so many horror films that have gone through an evolution with films, like Get Out and Midsommar, and all these sorts of wild films that keep pushing the envelope and expanding the genre. So, I think all of that comes into play as well as the Internet and society. All of this stuff. It’s gonna be an exciting film for people to watch.

Comicbook.com: I know how much you love Wes. And obviously signing on for this project. It’s one thing to know Wes will be there. But what was that really like when you stepped on set and saw the Ghostface costume or were working with Neve and Courtney like what was that like? What were those emotions like?

Arquette: Anytime you see Ghostface, it’s always something. As a horror film lover myself, there’s something just incredible about the whole being part of that, and just seeing the mask. I just love that he’s become such an iconic figure within the whole genre. It’s been an emotional experience for me, I’ve thought about Wes quite a bit. Really, sort of talk to him in my head, you know, say personal little prayers. Just feeling his energy around really. But it’s a new movie. It’s a new movie that honors the past films. But a lot has happened since even the last one. So, I think they incorporate all of that. I think they incorporate aspects of our world now. And what we all experienced and the evolution of the internet and the evolution of horror films, in general, I think it’s gonna be really exciting. A lot of it I think they just ramped up. They’ve learned from what came before and have expanded it in a really brilliant way.

Geeks of Color: So what’s it like getting back into a character like Dewey, who already has so much on his plate?

Arquette: I just love playing the character. I love being a part of the series. It has a personal sort of connection for me. I see my daughter who’s 16. Now, I see these actors are a couple of years older than her. It’s interesting, but I think like, fans in general and filmmakers, there’s been an evolution there too. In the technology in which they make films, and there’s been an evolution. So, I think they use all these new tools. And Matt and Tyler were inspired by Wes and have a love for the genre, and for what he had done in the past. So, I think they’re very aware of that. They have a great sensibility, for humor and for scares, and storytelling. I think it’s in really good hands. I think it’s definitely an understatement how crazy the world is right now. But it’s also pretty inspiring to watch this new generation of filmmakers, and this new generation of actors. They’re just really super talented, and really just impressed by, you know, I knew Jack Quaid when he was just a little kid, and to see him now, he has grown into this incredible actor who’s just so witty and he’s got such a big heart. It truly gives me hope, to be honest, gives me hope that everything’s gonna be alright.

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

Michelle Swope: I’m so glad that Dewey is coming back! But how the hell has he survived five movies? How has he done it?

Arquette: He’s got a big heart. I don’t know. It was Wes. I was supposed to die in the first one. But it’s just a fun character to play. I just slip into it really easily. It’s really kind of a sweet part of my heart that he lives in and I was just able to slip back into it pretty instantaneously. After you’ve been part of something for 24 years, it’s sort of ingrained in you. There are all these things that I did in the original one and listening to the music from the original time period and listening to music from moments throughout while we were filming these that have connected to me. But it’s been very emotional, very deep; it’s very real for me, It’s not just a film to me. I have a daughter because of it and it’s just something that’s personal and it’s emotional. That doesn’t play into it too much. But it does ground it and makes it a lot easier to sort of bring their reality to it. Even though you’re kind of having humorous lines or whatever.

LRM: Can you share how you got the news about SCREAM and when you got the news, and how that you’d be making the return?

Arquette: There was like little buzz about it, probably on the internet first. And then we heard there was a script. Then we read the script and then we made sure that certain people were behind it as far as Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven sort of groups, that they were supportive of it. But it was great; it’s a really great script. And it really honors the past films, but also gives birth to a whole new generation of incredible actors and filmmakers. And I’m just really excited for people to see how much talent…They just really did a great job casting, to really have the right people at the helm of this. The whole Radio Silence group is just incredible. The fact that it’s a Paramount film now really succeeding to have a proper studio behind it, I think it’s going to be something that really takes the fans into consideration; takes the history into consideration, but also uses all these tools from history to create something that builds on it all, even expands it, in a way.

Comicbook.com: If Nev and Courtney didn’t sign on for this, would you have still been just as excited, or do you think it’s important for Dewey to have Sidney and Gail in the movie along with him?

Arquette: Absolutely. I mean, Neve is this iconic, female badass, Ghostface killer [laughs], so she’s so important to it. But also, for Dewey and Gail in their whole history and just, for us, it’s even crazier, because I started to keep going back and there aren’t many films that you have a daughter because of it. I mean, Wes Craven was instrumental in sort of sitting me down after Scream 2 and saying, “David, I think Courtney really, really likes you and really wants you to work.” My mother was dying during Scream 2, so I was in a really sad place. And she was like, “I want you to get through this hard time to make it work with her. I think you guys would make a great couple.” And that was like a real fatherly moment of advice, and that just stuff like that [emotional] has a really deep meaning to me.

Being able to participate in the SCREAM virtual press junket was honestly a dream come true for me. Look for more interviews with the rest of the cast of SCREAM on Nightmarish Conjurings very soon!

SCREAM will be in theaters on January 14, 2022, from Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group!

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