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Wes Craven Was ‘Really Miserable’ After Making ‘Scream’ Sequels, Says Matthew Lillard

Lillard said Craven felt "the pressure to produce an iconic film" with each "Scream" sequel.

"Scream"

“Scream” (1996)

Everett Collection

Wes Craven was already a horror icon by the time “Scream” made its 1996 theatrical debut thanks to efforts such as “The Last House on the Left” (1972) and “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977), but there was still a lack of pressure that came with creating an original non-franchise horror movie. So says Matthew Lillard in a new interview with Bloody Disgusting. Craven directed three “Scream” sequels, and the franchise also led to an MTV series and an upcoming fifth movie to be released in January 2022. The more “Scream” became a franchise, the more its creators have to deal with mounting fan pressure. Lillard said Craven grew to hate that part of the franchise.

“I don’t think anyone gave ‘Scream’ a lot of credence,” Lillard said of making the 1996 original. “I mean, I don’t think anyone gave us a chance because we were coming in with a director that wasn’t necessarily young and hot. And we were coming with two television actors. And I think that we had a version of [Craven] that was humbled and happy to be there. I think that the cast, we all had an experience within that. Because we were all young, and we were all cohesive. We were like this little family for two months.”

Lillard continued, “I think that [Craven] loved that. I believe that he enjoyed that. There was no pressure on that movie to be something special. It ended up being something iconic, but at the moment, there wasn’t the pressure. I think the other three movies, certainly four now, must’ve felt [pressure] during the production, which is interesting. Right? I mean, he went from sort of this carefree moment to, by the end, I think he was miserable. I don’t think it was a secret. He was really miserable by the time he did four, in terms of the pressure to produce an iconic film.”

Craven earned critical and commercial acclaim with “Scream,” but his three follow-ups never outgrossed the original’s $173 million worldwide box office haul. “Scream 2” got close with $172 million, but “Scream 3” dropped to $161 million, and “Scream 4” was the lowest earner with $97 million.

The franchise’s next installment is simply titled “Scream” and comes from “Ready or Not” filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

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