Original Scream Star On How Wes Craven Fought To Cast Them

Few horror movies are as defining as the original Scream. With its meta-humor and callbacks to the classics, it holds a lot of responsibility for the revitalization of the horror genre in the late 1990s. And its impact on cinema hasn’t decreased over time. Fans are currently eagerly awaiting the fifth film in the franchise, simply titled Scream, arriving in theaters in January. But none of it would’ve happened without master director Wes Craven.

In a new retrospective commemorating the 1996 film, The Hollywood Reporter speaks with various cast members, all of whom speak fondly of their time working with the Nightmare on Elm Street icon. Jamie Kennedy — who played horror nerd Randy Meeks — reveals that it was actually Craven who fought for his casting, as the studio wanted a bigger name for the character. He recalled:

“When I read the breakdown, it said Randy was a lanky, gangly, opinionated fifth wheel, who really has a love and passion for movies and begins to dismantle these murders and start piecing things together. I just read that and was like, “Oh, that’s me.” Wes had to fight, because the studio liked Jason Lee because he was on Mallrats. They liked Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, all the guys that I would always go up against, and they’re all great, but I was lucky. I’ll never forget this. Wes said, “Johnny Depp didn’t have any credits.” If he didn’t stick his neck out for me, you would not be talking to me today.”

Kennedy went on to admit how much of an impact the Scream shoot had on him, recalling how he burst into tears when filming wrapped and Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers) had to console him.

“Wes said to me, “When you’re making a horror movie, the experience doesn’t have to be horrific.” It’s one of the greatest quotes I ever heard. We made this crazy movie, but we drank wine at night and had these civilized dinners. Toward the end of the shoot, I was getting really sad that the movie was ending and I started to cry. Courteney was like, “Oh, honey. Don’t cry. This is the way it is. It’s summer camp.” I’m like, “But this is my life.” She goes, “No, honey. It’s only your life for three months, but we all have a bond that we’ll never forget.””

Despite being a fan-favorite, Randy would be killed off in 1997’s Scream 2. And though it clearly means the world to him to be a part of this franchise, Kennedy has stressed that he doesn’t think it would make sense for his character to make a grand return to the series in a future movie, labeling Randy as “deader than dead” in a previous interview.

Kennedy might not be back in 2022’s Scream, then, but Cox, David Arquette (Dewey Riley) and, of course, Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott all are, having starred in every single film to date. But will they all make it out of this one alive? Only a few more months to go until January 14 gets here and we can find out.