What seemed like a swift, cut and dry process has become a sloppy heap of dropouts, replacements and script changes. As an avid franchise fan, there's little that can dash my high hopes for Scream 4, but it's hard to look at the recent developments and not be a little concerned. The latest development is the most troublesome of all: Kevin Williamson's departure. As we reported earlier, word on the net is that Williamson is out and the script now belongs to Ehren Kruger, the guy who gave us the series' weakest installment, Scream 3.
I can go on and on about my disapproval of Kruger's involvement, but if the news is true, that's how it is and we'll all just have to keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, let's breakdown all of this casting news to get a better picture of exactly what the story entails. I'm going to run down the roster according to this casting call posted back in April.
1. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - JILL KESSLER. Pretty in an ingenue way. Smart, strong. A little goofy, but she makes it sexy. Full of contradictions, but instantly likeable. Not a mean bone in her body. They're not close, but Jill is Sidney's cousin;
This one's simple. Ashley Greene was originally offered the role, but then it wound up belonging to Emma Roberts. This is Scream 4's leading lady and she'll likely carry us through the next two films.
2. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - KIRBY REED. Cute and quirky, was a tomboy until a year ago, now she's alternative, cool and sexy. Jill's best friend. She's a pop culture and horror aficionado;
Hayden Panettiere was the lucky young actress offered this role and she accepted. However, now there's buzz that due to rewrites her role is no longer "really sharp" and has been "dumbed down significantly" and Panettiere is "beyond frustrated." Will she be the next to call it quits?
3. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - OLIVIA MORRIS. Sexy and hot. A fun girl who knows how to be bitchy without being a bitch. She finds a way to make every situation about her, but somehow does it in a charming way. Part of the Jill, Kirby, Charlie, Trevor friend group;
IMDB gives this role to model/actress Marielle Jaffe, but nowhere in the initial announcement does it mention Jaffe's specific character. As a matter of fact, I originally pictured Jaffe in one of the film's more mature roles, namely Sidney's personal assistant, Bette.
4. MALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - TREVOR SHELDON. Handsome high school jock, but quiet and intense, as though a secret hangs over his head;
Nico Tortorella is in a similar position with this role. His official spot was never revealed, but, from day one, by process of elimination, it's been assumed he's playing Trevor.
5. MALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - CHARLIE WALKER. Messy cute. Friends with Jill, Trevor, Kirby, and Olivia. A little cocky, he likens himself to 'Randy' from Scream 1 without the nerd part. No such luck, he's definitely a nerd. May or may not have a crush on Jill. He'd never admit it if he does;
So far, so good with this role. The very first casting announcement revealed Rory Culkin was offered the spot, soon thereafter he accepted and that's that. No early exits, no swaps, no script drama – or at least Culkin's just not expressing his opinion on the matter.
6. FEMALE (30s; any ethnicity) - DEPUTY JUDY HICKS. A police officer, decidedly sexy but a bit off, she knew Sidney from high school. Didn't make a big enough impression for Sidney to remember her. Likes her boss, Dewey, perhaps a little too much. NAME CAMEOS PREFERRED;
Here's where more drama comes in. So, along with Roberts, Panettiere and Culkin, Lake Bell was included in that very first casting announcement. Now we find out, just a few days before filming began, that Bell is out. She tweeted that her is exit is due to "scheduling conflicts with my current gig," but with news of Panettiere's disapproval of the rewrites, it's being reported that Bell "dodged a bullet." Well, there's someone who has no problem taking that bullet for Bell, because Marley Shelton has assumed the role.
7. MALE (30s-40s; any ethnicity) - DETECTIVE HOSS. New school cop. College graduate raised on the CSI TV series. NAME CAMEOS PREFERRED;
Just the other day word got out that this role went to Adam Brody. The end.
8. MALE (30s-40s; any ethnicity) - DETECTIVE PERKINS. Old school cop. Cocky, bigoted, and snarky. NAME CAMEOS PREFERRED;
With news of Jaffe's casting came the announcement that Anthony Anderson was also added to the roster. Like with Jaffe, Anderson's role wasn't revealed, but it was easy to assume he'd take one of the two cop roles. Now that Brody has been officially confirmed as Hoss, it's safe to assume that Anderson is Perkins.
9. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - PATTY. A bouncy teenage girl with a fountainhead of pop culture that is impressive. Like all teenagers who live in Woodsboro, she is obsessed with the Woodsboro murders and with the STAB films;
This role has yet to be cast.
10. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - MARNIE. Friend of Patty's. Funny and mischievous; loves practical jokes. Sometimes pushes too far. Bored with Woodsboro's obsessions with murders that happened when she and her friends were toddlers;
No word on this one yet either.
11. FEMALE (20s; any ethnicity) - BETTE. Sidney's personal assistant. Type A who gets the job done. Secretly yearns for Sidney's fame and fortune;
Here's where things get confusing. So, THR just announced that Alison Brie was on board to play Sidney's assistant. The problem is, they refer to the character as Rebecca, not Bette. I'd be eager to assume this was part of the script change and perhaps the character of Rebecca was completely axed and Bette just underwent a name swap, but IMDB lists Erica Hubbard for the role of Bette. Now the question is: Where did Hubbard come from anyway? I can't find a single article that mentions her casting except for a small few that simply refer to her name being listed on IMDB, which is certainly not convincing enough.
12. FEMALE (17-18; any ethnicity) - REBECCA. Cute, vain, over-achieving student at Woodsboro High School. Editor in Chief of the high school newspaper. She's a future Gale Weathers.
Refer to previous section.
That's all for the casting call roles, but we're still left with a few actors that have been chosen, but didn't make that list.
1. Mary McDonnell
McDonnell is the latest to join Scream 4, but word of her casting came with no character description. Could she replace the recently departed Lauren Graham as Jill's mother? That's certainly possible, but if the role was reduced so much that it fell below Graham's standards, why would McDonnell go for it? Plus, isn't she busy filming Margin Call at the moment?
2. Erik Knudsen
THR describes Knudsen's role as being "similar to the one played by Jamie Kennedy in the first two installments, a character who is familiar with horror movie conventions and a provider of comic relief." Doesn't that seem like Randy overkill? Kirby is already the film's horror guru and Charlie likens himself to Randy as well, so do we really need a third? Perhaps this is where the thinning of Panettiere's role comes in. She could still be the tomboy turned cool girl, but now has to lose the horror aficionado status to make room for Knudsen's character.
Hopefully this breakdown gives you a better picture of where everyone stands, but there's still no denying that Scream 4 is officially drowning in uncertainty. I'm not looking for Wes Craven to give away the entire story, but at this point, the fans do deserve some sort of official overview or at least a statement addressing the current shakeup. And no, a tweet saying "I have not been given control of the script" doesn't count.