Craven Talks

Last week Miramax announced that it will push back the release of ''Scream 3'' from December to February 2000, a move that doesn't exactly please the franchise's director, horror maestro Wes Craven. ''I wanted to end the 20th century with my last genre film,'' says Craven, who will move into the mainstream with this month's ''Music of the Heart,'' starring Meryl Streep. Craven adds that the ''Scream'' cast and crew had met a nearly impossible schedule to get the final sequel ready for Christmas, but Dimension's sales team decided the holiday season was already too packed with competing films: ''I would prefer to have it out and done with, but they're the marketing wizards.'' Although the ''Scream 3'' plot is stored in an impenetrable Hollywood vault, Craven hinted that the final chapter will bring back all of the surviving characters -- Neve Campbell's Sidney, Liev Schreiber's Cotton Weary, and newlyweds David and Courteney Cox Arquette's Deputy Dewey and Gale Weathers -- to answer questions left over from the first two films. ''What we reveal about the back story to 'Scream' will close the whole loop,'' Craven says.

And if you worry that the ''Scream 3'' screenplay, written by 27-year-old ''Arlington Road'' scripter Ehren Kruger (no relation to Freddie), may be inferior to creator Kevin Williamson's first two installments, you're not alone. Craven confesses that his creative team had a difficult task: ''It was a struggle to keep the tone and the nature of Kevin's writing, but [I think] we pulled it off.'' And what if the ''Scream'' series proves enduring enough to prompt a ''Halloween H20''-like a reunion in 2015? ''If I'm around in 15 years,'' says the 60-year-old director, ''I'll be celebrating everything.'' -Entertainment Weekly Online.
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