EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Scream (2022) Director's Assistant, Christian Obando

I was so thrilled to hear my friend and member of the Scream & Ghostface Collectors group, Christian Obando, had gotten a job on the new Scream film shortly after it was announced. Like everyone who worked on the film, Christian wasn't able to talk about his experiences until after the film was released and after a long wait I finally was able to talk in depth about what it was like working as a production assistant of the now hit sequel. Christian has also provided some amazing, exclusive, behind the scenes photos that I'm very excited to share. I'm so glad there was a fan like Christian on the set and judging from our conversation, he was a great asset to the production team!

I just want to say thanks so much for doing this. It was so cool to know that there was a true, hardcore fan like you on set, closely working with the directors.
Absolutely!! It’s so nice to finally chat with you about my experience working on the film. It’s been a long time coming!!!

How did you get the job on Scream (2022) and what was your role in the production? What were you responsible for?
When the film was first green lit, I was working on Grey’s Anatomy. I asked every producer/coworker that I knew to find out if anyone had connections with Spyglass - that was a bust. I ended up using my resources and doing my own digging every day until I found some sort of contact. This was just before COVID shut everything down and the film was, to my memory, slated to start shooting in Spring of 2020. I ended up getting a response, but was informed that only NC locals were being hired. Bummer. COVID shut everything down and the industry went radio silent (literally) for a while. I ended up returning to Grey’s some time in July, and I noticed Scream popped back up on my radar with another contact listed this time. I secured an interview and flew out to NC the following day. Thankfully, my bosses at Grey’s were nothing but thrilled for me and let me leave on such short notice (they knew how long I’d been tracking this down LOL). I started off on Scream as a PA but shortly before principal photography began, I was brought on as Assistant to the Producers & Directors. I was the Assistant to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella, William Sherak, and Kevin Williamson (still pinching myself). My job was essentially to keep them + the cast happy, fed, hydrated, organized and caffeinated. I worked closely with the Lauren, our Line Producer’s Assistant. in keeping our rec room (that room you saw the cast hanging out in all the time) fully stocked with snacks, drinks, PPE, etc. That rec room was their lair during the production since we couldn’t really go out and do things outside of the set/hotel (damn Rona). Lauren and I also worked together in setting up hotel rooms and welcoming the cast as they started to arrive in Wilmington.
How early you piece together or figure out what the basic story was for Scream? Did you get to the read the script before or during production or just pages at a time?
I first read the full script when I started as a PA, and I read the real one (although I obviously thought I could have possibly had a dummy). I never read any of the dummy scripts, so I don’t know what exactly those entailed. I remember taking a deep breath before flipping to the first page and being so happy with what I read. A real page turner. Little to no changes were made to the script throughout production. 

What was it like filming during COVID? How did that play out and affect the production?

It was an adjustment for sure. Just the masks and getting tested 3x a week was enough to instill some discomfort. Then add on the awkward “can we hug? can we shake hands? Is that allowed?” HAHA. So, while an adjustment, it was something that we all took very seriously and it was a smooth production because of that. We also had an amazing COVID team. They were ON IT!

It’s been very clear from early on in the development of Scream that directors, Matt and Tyler, really are true fans of the films. What were they like to work with? What impressed you as a fan about certain decisions or details they made on set?
Where do I even begin? These guys are the greatest people I’ve ever worked with. Seriously. They are down to earth, friendly, approachable, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and talented as F#%K. When they first arrived to Wilmington and I witnessed their work during prep, that’s when I happily realized that this film was not a cash grab by any means. They cared so much about the movie and the franchise’s legacy. Everyone did, honestly. Every department! I’ve worked many shows, and, a lot of the time people are just there to do a job. On this production, everyone was so excited to be a part of it and everyone brought their A-game! That made the experience so much more special and unique. The directors even had a small TV in their office and every time I went in there, the original Scream was playing.

The first photo that came out from the set of Neve Campbell was a photo of you sitting right next to her. What was it like to get a chance to work and hang out with her? What point did she come to set and how long was she there?
I remember waiting until Neve was out of hair/MU/wardrobe and outside of a set before taking a photo. Paramount had a very strict social media policy in place when it came to Scream. There were several people you had to reach out to in order to get approval to post anything relative to the production. I think I was the only one that actually did it… hahahaha. Anyways, the pic blew up and I remember everyone on set looking at me like I might have been in trouble, BUT I GOT THE APPROVAL! I HAD THE RECEIPTS! Lol. Neve is an absolute angel, even in a professional setting. I still can’t believe she remembered meeting me at Spooky Empire in 2015! Neve was with us for a couple of weeks and worked every day while she was in town. Same with Court.

During the filming, I remember seeing the cast posting on Instagram how David Arquette did some Bob Ross painting lessons for them. What was it like having him there? How long was he there and any memories that stand out?
David is also an absolute angel. I could sense that when he first arrived he was a bit emotional. I feel like Wes was on his mind a lot, but he was very excited to be there and he got along famously with everyone. My best memory would have to be from his final day. We wrapped his death scene and he was exhausted, and rightfully so! He did all of his own stunts! Later that night, we all had plans for dinner and drinks at the rec room, (a weekly occurrence). I was gathering orders and he decided to sit that one out. By the time I got back with everyone’s food, they all surprised me for my birthday. David was down there with everyone. He came down just for my birthday celebration. He took some selfies with me and texted them to me later that night. It was the sweetest gesture.
How about Courteney Cox? At what point did she arrive and how long was she there? What was she like on set?
Courteney arrived only a couple of days before Neve. They wrapped at the same time. Working with Court was incredible. She is such an icon, even outside of the Scream universe. Seeing Gale Weathers in the flesh (especially in that red getup) had me gagged! She knows her character and I love that she introduced a more tender side to Gale this time around. It was very refreshing to witness the chemistry that her and David share together on-screen. They got very emotional during their first take together and I remember crying while watching the monitors. Once they cut the cameras I looked around at everyone thinking “I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE CRYING, RIGHT?!”. She is also bat shit hilarious. I’m sure there will be many bits of her in the gag reel.
Being such a huge fan and even getting a Ghostface tattoo while you were there, did anyone ask you for any special input for the type of things only a superfan would know?
During prep I spoke a lot with Emily (Costume Designer) about the robe. I was curious but never wanted to overstep. She did her research! She was in close contact with Nate Ragon, so I knew the robe design was in good hands! I know she wanted to stay true to the original design, but not entirely mimic what was done before. I personally loved the withered look that she incorporated. The costume department actually had me ship out my @Screamrobes S2 robe to NC so that the seamstress could study the way the robe was sewn together. Apparently that was a big help!
Now, something many Scream collectors are excited to hear about in depth is what exact mask types were used and what was sent to set, used and how were they altered for use in the film? Obviously, EUs were used, but maybe you can help to really define exactly which types. We heard that leftover dwarf shroud EUs originally made for MTV Scream season 3 were sent as well as prototypes of the 25th-anniversary masks. Were any standard shroud EUs sent or any other types at all?
There were many masks sent to the set. There were boxes of ultra whites, S4 tagged, some dwarf shroud EUs from MTV, a few chromes, and a few 25th-anniversary masks (with no tag artwork). I know at least a couple of the dwarf shroud MTV EUs were modified and used on screen. All of the shrouds of every mask used were replaced with tailor-made shrouds to fit tightly on the stuntman’s head. They also incorporated the bottom half of the ultra whites by attaching it to the inside of the masks to help keep them from warping. I presume the goal was for the mask to be very sturdy and solid.
One of the Easter Unlimited stamped Ghostface masks seen on screen. The shroud it originally came with was replaced with a custom shroud made by production.

One of the mask types sent to the set was leftover from the production of the 3rd season of the MTV Scream series. These Easter Unlimited stamped masks were from a special batch Fun World had made and weren't sold in stores. The soft pvc material is quite a lot thicker than the retail EU stamp masks and they feature a specific patterned "Dwarf" style hood shroud.

The masks left over from season 3 of the MTV series were marked by Fun World with a Sharpie.

Among the various types of Easter Unlimited stamp mold Ghostface masks sent to set were Scream 4 tagged EUs, which were made from 2011-2017.

Many copies of the cheaper "Ultrawhite" plastic version were sent to the set and thankfully unused.

Any idea why the hard plastic version of the mask was used for the Stab 1 scene in the film?
I never asked but I suppose it was only so there could be a visual differentiation between the Stab and Scream universe.
This screen-used hard plastic Ghostface mask had a custom shroud added by the production and was used for the new scenes from Stab 1 seen in the film.

We also see the chrome Ghostface mask in the Stab 8 scenes. Did this mask just happen to be sent to the set along with the others? Any other masks sent but not used?
The boys loved that mask so much they really wanted to include it somehow. What better way than to plug it into Stab 8?!
Early on during a live video chat with Kevin Williamson and some actors from Scream (1996), Kevin revealed that he owns a screen-used “hero” mask from the original film used during Tatum’s death scene. It also sounded like he was trying to say it would be used in the new film, but unfortunately, he was annoyingly interrupted by Rose McGowan. Was there any attempt to use Kevin’s mask in the film? It’s been speculated that it may have been used for unused crime scene photo recreations of Billy Loomis.
I don’t recall seeing Kevin with a mask… BUT I was also very busy organizing wrap gift distro while Kevin was in town, so I wasn’t physically on set as much as I was before. I’m not sure about that one!

What can you tell us about the newly redesigned Ghostface costume in the film?

Echoing what I said before, Emily wanted to stay true to the original design of the robe while incorporating her own style. In the Scream universe, the robe that is sold in every “five and dime” was bound to have gone through some minor changes… I presume that was the mindset going into updating the robe. The major big change to the robe is the distressed look and the detached gloves. Since day one Emily was very aware of what die-hards adored about the original design. 

I understand you have a very cool, small cameo in the film. Can you tell us a bit about how that came to be and where we can see you?

Ohhh lord. So that day was a Stab-heavy day. We started with a clip of Ghostface chasing the Radio Silence boys as the sun was setting, then we moved to set up for the flamethrower bit. I recall that taking a while to set up. We got a bunch of takes with the flamethrower, and then a few of the boys getting chased again (but by Chromeface). As we were about to wrap, they called me over and told me to “get in there.” I was so tired that I didn’t understand they meant to get in front of the camera HAHA. In my scene, I was getting chased by a pitchfork-wielding Chromeface. Only my shoulder made the cut, but iconic nonetheless!!!!!!

 What are some of your best memories working on the film? 

My birthday and Halloween night, for sure. Lauren and I set up a screening of Scream outside of our Macher House set. We set up a projector, speakers, dinner, drinks, snacks… I came dressed as Casey Becker LOL. Lauren even made these cute little drink koozies that said “What’s your favorite scary movie?”. Incredible. It was so much fun. We all collectively started cheering as soon as the Macher House made its appearance on screen. Some of Paramount’s marketing crew were also there. This was the night I got into my Screamrobes robe + your Gen 1. We shot some fun marketing material for Paramount while I was in the robe which might make it to the DVD release? We shall see haha. 
Kevin Williamson takes a photo of directors, Matt and Tyler with Courteney Cox.

Behind the screams...

Christian, wearing a @Screamrobes replica robe and 1st generation mask (which was a gift from me) with Jack Quaid at the wrap party.

Sidney on the monitor.

Christian with Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis.

Ryan Hills

Ryan Hills is a contributor and writer for Scream-Thrillogy as well as administrator for the largest online Scream collecting group, Scream & Ghostface Collectors on Facebook.instagram

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