“Scream,” the fifth film in the eponymous horror series, has dominated the box office this January. But while fans have enjoyed the return of the biggest original cast members, it was not always an easy sell for the stars themselves. While endless sequels are par for the course in the slasher genre, this was the first “Scream” film without the involvement of franchise creator Wes Craven, who died in 2015. Neve Campbell, who has appeared as Sydney Prescott in all five films, said she was originally hesitant about making a “Scream” movie without Craven. But while directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin won her over with their enthusiasm for the franchise, Campbell says she still has doubts about the film’s most controversial twist.
Speaking to Variety about the movie, Campbell still credits Craven for the film’s popularity. “Wes was brilliant and the reason this is such a successful franchise,” she said. “I really didn’t know whether anyone would be able to pull this off, get the tone right, get the humor, get the cleverness.” However, she received a letter from Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin that expressed their reverence for Craven’s work on the franchise. Their passion apparently came through, because she decided to give them a chance. “I think if they hadn’t written that letter, I wouldn’t have done it,” she told Variety.
But while she is glad that she reprised her role for a fifth time, she still has conflicting feelings about the death of one of the franchise’s most iconic characters.
[Editor’s Note: The following portion of the article contains spoilers for “Scream” (2022).]
“I was devastated,” she said of the decision to kill Dewey (played by David Arquette). “I still have trouble wrapping my head around it. I still question whether it was the right choice, because from what I’m hearing, there are a lot of fans who are really upset.”
Campbell was not alone in her concerns, as co-star Courtney Cox tried to convince the directors to shoot the scene twice, once with Dewey dying and again with him surviving, just in case they changed their minds down the road.
Arquette, for his part, has said that his “heart sank” when he first read the script, but went on to make peace with his character’s fate. “You know, I’m an actor. It’s their film,” he said. “The writers and the directors, that’s their new concept. So I respect that and we honor that.”