Back in 1996, Drew Barrymore was given the lead role in a horror movie that would later spawn a $300 million franchise: Scream.
Instead, Barrymore fought to be the character who dies in the first 12 minutes of the meta masterpiece.
“In the horror film genre, my biggest pet peeve was that I always knew the main character was going to be slugging through at the end, but was going to creak by and make it,” the actress told Hot Ones host Sean Evans. And that’s nearly what happens in the opening moments of Scream, Bbt Barrymore and horror maverick Wes Craven had another idea. The actress considered her opening scene to be an opportunity to show that rules need not apply.
“What I wanted to do is to take that comfort zone away,” she said. “I asked if I could be Casey Becker so we would establish this rule does not apply in this film.”
Scream centers around a group of high school teens, including eventual series star Neve Campbell, who know as much about scary movies as we do. Even the killer is a scary-movie geek, so much so that he makes it his calling card (i.e. his “What’s your favorite scary movie?” line). The film serves as a horror movie for horror fans.
Barrymore explained her decision to play Casey for only five days on set in more detail back in 2011 as part of an ETI oral history. “I just read the script one night at my house and I just said, ‘Oh my God, there hasn’t been anything like this for so long.’ I loved that it actually got tongue and cheeky but it was still scary and it was this great game that sort of described genres and revived them at the same time and redefined them all in one script. I went bananas,” she said.
The choice may have sparked Scream‘s overall success with critics and audiences, as it successfully pulls the rug out from under you and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. “We’ve seen this bit before, but Craven gooses the tension with lurid finesse, and he throws in a wild card: The killer discombobulates Drew by forcing her to answer trivia questions about… teen horror films.”
Scream would be followed by three sequels and even a TV series on VH1. In May, it was announced that Campbell is in negotiations to star in Scream 5.
Barrymore is currently promoting both her series Santa Clarita Diet and her upcoming daytime gig The Drew Barrymore Show on CBS. Catch more of Barrymore’s interview with Evans above.
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