Scream 4 - Erik Knudsen, Rory Culkin, Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell and Nico Tortorella
Scream 4 - Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudsen), Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin), Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox), Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and Trevor Sheldon (Nico Tortorella) © 2011 Weinstein Company

Fifteen years after Scream opened, director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson are back with the sharp and irreverent Scream 4.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is now a best–selling writer who is on a book tour, with her home town of Woodsboro as her final stop. Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is married to Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), a novelist experiencing a huge writer’s block, but who is happy to congratulate and welcome Sidney home. But Sidney’s reappearance in Woodsboro brings about the return of Ghostface and nobody in town is safe.

At the press day for the movie, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell spoke about returning to the franchise that launched their careers.

Neve, after playing Sidney in the original, who has all the rules explained to her, how did you feel about playing her as a returning veteran, teaching the young kids a thing or two?

Scream 4 - David Arquette and Courteney Cox
Dwight ‘Dewey’ Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox) © 2011 Weinstein Company

Neve Campbell: It was great fun. I had fun playing this character and doing this film, as always. It was lovely to have the new cast come in. They were great. They came in with great enthusiasm and were excited to be a part of it, and as actors, I don’t think that we needed to teach them the ropes in any way. They’re all professionals in their own right and did a great job

You’ve been a part of this franchise for so long now. What’s it like reconvening after eleven years which is when the last one was made?

David Arquette: I just love working with all these amazing people and we’ve developed this family, and not only fellow actors and directors, but all of this crew. We’ve shared fifteen years together. It has been ten years since we worked together, but there’s a real family feeling and it really grounds it.

When I see Sidney’s character in the movie there’s a history there and you don’t really have that opportunity in a lot of roles. And Courteney, and being married and having a kid, just everything. It exemplifies the reality and the honesty and that’s really my favorite part of acting, when you can tap into stuff like that.

You don’t get this experience that often in this business. You’re working with people that you’ve worked with for sixteen years. It’s something special. I was supposed to die in Scream. Wes said, ‘Let’s do a take where we roll Dewy out and he’s still alive.’ And that changed the rest of my life.

Scream 4 - Courteney Cox
Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox) © 2011 Weinstein Company

Courteney Cox: It just felt very natural. First of all, we’ve had ten more years of experience of acting and so I was that much more confident. I’m now a mom and I’m just a different person; a different person feeling different things, but coming back to your family. You just know each other and you feel like you can get right back into it and feel like you can be better than you were last time.

Wes was instrumental in us being together. He’s kind of our mentor in relationships and in growing up and to come back and do it again is really fun. I became closer with Neve than I did in the first three and I just adore that girl.

Neve: Yeah. It was really nice to get to know each other better. It was lovely.

Courteney: People always talk about bringing things back, but this was one that I was hoping would come back one day because we had such a great time making the first three.

What characteristics do you share with your character, Gale, and which do you not share?

Courteney: I definitely have that tough side. Gale is just very campy and I love her relationship with Dewey and the fact that they’re together is so funny. He’s so earnest and she’s so out to get ahead. It’s just a very odd pairing and so were we. Although we’re not really, but we kind of are. I love playing Gale. She’s probably the most fun because it’s a real character.

Have you seen Wes grow as a director since the first film?

Scream 4 - David Arquette, Adam Brody and Marley Shelton
Dwight ‘Dewey’ Riley (David Arquette), Detective Hoss (Adam Brody) and Deputy Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton) © 2011 Weinstein Company

David: Wes is incredible. As much as a master as he is at it he’s still a student. He’s also a student of nature and human behavior. So it’s been a great experience really growing with each other and going through life’s changes. It brings a real humanness to these movies and another layer because there are films within films, but then there’s real life. They all really kind of intertwine.

Neve, can you talk about how important it is that the core of each Scream film centers around Sidney?

Neve: Oh, gosh. I think what’s been fun for me in playing Sidney is that she’s the eyes of the audience in a sense, in that the audience is taken with her because they need one core character to really feel for in order for the horror and for the humor to work.

So for me it’s just been about being really straight and honest with her circumstances and being true to them and playing to it in that way and letting everyone else sort of buzz around me and do a really fantastic job.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.