Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far.
"This is not the classic case of going, 'Wow, we made a lotta money, can we make another one quick?' We always saw this as a trilogy of movies. It's like George Lucas' plan for Star Wars, only here we're dealing with a knife-wielding killer in a mask." -Bob Weinstein to Entertainment Weekly
Plot Summary: Two years after the murders in Woodsboro, Sidney Prescott as enrolled in a small Midwestern college. But when the movie based on her life story is about hit theaters, a copycat killer begins a real life sequel.
The story behind Scream 2: With its cutting one-liners and to-die-for cast, last year's SCREAM spoofed its way to the top of the teen horror movie list. Its $103 million box office take puts it right up there with THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and THE EXORCIST. So Miramax decided to put SCREAM 2 on more than 3,000 movie screens Dec. 12. Spending $15-20 million on promotion alone -- roughly the entire budget of the original -- the studio knew that a traditionally fickle teen audience would again part with their allowance simply to be terrified.
The sequel takes place two years after that wacko in a ghost mask pulled an Edward Scissorhands on the made-up town of Woodsboro. Some of the survivors are enrolled in Windsor College, a fictitious Midwestern university where this generation of all-star coeds -- including Party of Five's Campbell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Gellar, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR's Jada Pinkett, JERRY MAGUIRE's Jerry O'Connell and BOOGIE NIGHTS' Heather Graham -- are majoring, it seems, in Having Great Agents and Looking Really Cute.
And this, we're afraid, is about all Miramax wants you to know about that matter of national security -- the plot of SCREAM 2. In an age when early script drafts surface on the Internet almost as soon as they hit the desks of studio executives, the studio has left nothing to chance. "When I first got the script," says O'Connell, 23, who plays Campbell's devoted boyfriend, "two men with Uzis delivered it and stayed with me until I was done reading it."
In most cases, pumping out a horror sequel less than 12 months after the release of the original is a recipe for bloody disaster. But as any chain-saw-bearing ghoul will tell you, SCREAM, with its sly self-referential style (remember the line from the original, summing up horror movies? "Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act, who's always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door. It's insulting.") is nothing like other horror franchises.
"SCREAM crosses every boundary," boasts Miramax co-chairman Bob Weinstein, who two years ago bought Kevin Williamson's original spec script along with a five-page outline for SCREAM 2 and SCREAM 3. "It's not just scary, it's not just fun, it's not just clever, it's not just a whodunit. It's all that and it's something more. Like THE CRYING GAME or PULP FICTION, the SCREAM saga's a whole new approach to movies. It kills off all the old formulas."
The SCREAM secret is to pack 110 minutes with sexual tension, hip pop-culture references, and lots and lots and lots of blood. After all, this isn't Captain Kangaroo. "I was in the movie and I still can't watch SCREAM all the way through," says Courteney Cox, 33, who returns as TV reporter/viper Gale Weathers. "I think that's what made it such a success." The timing was right, too. "There just hadn't been any good scary movies in a long time until these came along," says Campbell.
SCREAM 2, and for that matter, SCREAM 3, were part of the plan from the beginning. Says Weinstein: "This is not the classic case of going, 'Wow, we made a lotta money, can we make another one quick?' We always saw this as a trilogy of movies. It's like George Lucas' plan for STAR WARS, only here we're dealing with a knife-wielding killer in a mask."
Having the idea for a sequel, however, is a lot different from having the script, especially with Miramax pushing to get it out so quickly. And with SCREAM's raging success, Williamson was suddenly on everybody's hot list ("The last time we saw anyone like him," Weinstein says, "it was Quentin Tarantino"). Virtually every project Williamson had ever considered was suddenly getting greenlighted: I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, Williamson's pilot for the series Dawson's Creek got picked up by The WB network, and Miramax scooped up his early dark-comedy screenplay KILLING MRS. TINGLE from turnaround. With nearly $20 million worth of new writing assignments, three weeks -- the writing window Miramax gave Williamson -- seemed too short a time for him to turn around a SCREAM sequel. "The Miramax mafia basically came down to North Carolina where we were shooting Dawson's Creek," he says. "They came to harass me, and to make sure I wasn't going to eat, sleep, or breathe anything other than the plot of SCREAM 2."
To maintain the suspense, every cast and crew member had to sign confidentiality agreements; scripts were printed on dark brown paper with red lines through the text so they couldn't be photocopied, and scenes were distributed in installments and filmed out of order. Even that wasn't good enough. "As soon as Kevin's first 40 pages came in," Craven says, "they went out almost immediately onto the Internet. So all that was blown and we had to go into rewrites."
"After the success of the first one," Craven says, "we could get any young actor we wanted. They were breaking down doors to get into the sequel. The idea that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a relatively minor role shows you how big this thing is."
"I so desperately wanted to be a part of this movie," says Gellar, 20, whose Buffy slayings have made her the femme fatale of the HOME ALONE generation. "I called my agent and I was like, 'Please, please, please, please get me in this movie.' It just had a cool feeling about it."
Adds Pinkett, 26, who "may or may not" get killed in the first 10 minutes of the film, "I have a very, very small part, but I thought it was the movie to do. It didn't really matter that it wasn't a huge role. It's a memorable one."
One of the strongest draws was Craven, whose professional demeanor (he holds a master's degree in writing and philosophy Johns Hopkins University) belies his bloodthirsty screen legacy. Despite killing off dozens of B-movie stars in creep-fests like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SHOCKER, he can do no wrong in the eyes of his young cast.
"Most of us [in SCREAM 2] were around 14 when NIGHTMARE came out," says Pinkett. "That makes Wes, like, a total hero." Adds Timothy Olyphant, who plays the opinionated film student Mickey, "Even though there's that feeling you're making a movie with your grandfather, Wes still manages to seem like a young, hip guy."
"The genre was dying and SCREAM saved it," says hirsute director George Romero (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), who is quietly observing the action with his daughter on this late-night SCREAM 2 shoot. "It's great for all us horror guys. Even my phone is starting to ring again."
Taken from Entertainment Weekly
Chapter two bends the rules...
Scream 2 director Wes Craven's bold sequel to his 1996 suspense thriller raises the stakes for the survivors of the original Scream -- and the new cast members. "The basic plan was to take it to a higher level," said Craven. "It's a continuation and an escalation," promised screenwriter Kevin Williamson.
The sequel has also given Craven another opportunity to collaborate with key members of the original Scream's creative team, including Williamson, Producers Cathy Konrad and Marianne Maddalena. Director of Photography Peter Deming, Editor Patrick Lussier and Composer Marco Beltrami. New to this production are Co-Producer Daniel Lupi, Production Designer Bob Ziembicki and Costume Designer Kathleen Detoro.
Dimension Films released Scream 2 in theaters December 12, 1997.
Scream 2 reuinites the Scream survivors at Windsor College, a small Midwestern university, two years after the first movie ends. Heroine Sidney Prescott (NEVE CAMPBELL) has grown tougher, smarter and more mature since the murders that devistated her hometown.
David Arquette, who played Woodsboro deputy Dewey Riley, is also back, along with Jamie Kennedy, as Randy Meeks who is now a college student. Liev Shreiber reprises his role as Cotton, a man wrongly convicted of murder. New cast members: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jada Pinkett, Jerry O'Connell, Timothy Olyphant, Elise Neal, Heather Graham, Duane Martin, Omar Epps, Rebecca Gayheart, Portia DeRossi and Laurie Metcalf.
Windsor College offers students a picturesque haven for higher learning -- just what Sidney Prescott (NEVE CAMPBELL) needs. It's spring-time, two years after the murders in Woodsboro, California, and a satisfying freshman year is coming to an end.
Sid has a great roommate (ELISE NEAL), a devoted boyfriend (JERRY O'CONNELL) and the lead in the school play. The snobbiest sorority on campus wants her to pledge. Smart-mouthed Randy (JAMIE KENNEDY), her old pal who also survived the Woodsboro killers, is enrolled in Windsor's film school. And he's fine now, just like Sid.
But the past never really goes away. In fact, it reaches out kills someone on campus when a movie called "Stab" opens around the country. "Stab," based on the best-selling book by tabloid tease Gale Weathers, depicts the real-life account of the Woodsboro killings. the best-selling book not only topped the charts, but helped free Cotton Weary, the man Sidney accused of killing her mother. And now, the movie has unleashed a new killer at Windsor.
The new murders draw a swarm of reporters to the campus and plunge Sidney into a sickening state of deja vu. Gale Weathers storms into town as is she owns this story, with a jittery new cameraman (DUANE MARTIN) at her side. These days, Gale not only covers the news, she is the news. Old news, if you ask Sidney.
Dewey Riley (DAVID ARQUETTE), on the other hand, is a sight for soar eyes, especially when Sidney becomes the killer's prime target. Suddenly, she hardly knows who to trust. Dewey has a bad limp now, and no longer wears a badge, but he's here to protect Sid -- and is suspicious of everyone in her new world.
Dewey is leery of Gale for different reasons. Once upon a time, he though they had something going -- before she dissed him in her book. But that's Gale. The story always comes first. Of course, stories can change, and sometimes people do, too. If you apply enough pressure. And as the body count climbs at Windsor, the pressure becomes unbearable. Anything could happen, and everyone's suspect.
Like its predecessor, Scream 2 is a suspense thriller that blends the classic elements of the suspense genre with a bold contemporary sense of humor.
Director Wes Craven knew his mission from the start. "The goal was to make a sequel worthy of, equal to, and, if possible, better than the first." Not a simple task, according to Producer Marianne Maddalena. "Scream had so much going on -- all the pop culture references, the humor, the beautifully written dialogue. The script, the director, the actors -- everything fell into place."
Craven felt the odds were with him, especially with so much of the original production team involved. He was confident of the material and looked forward to getting re-involved with the characters returning from the first film.
Williamson had actually written a five-page treatment for Scream 2 before the first script was even sold. "I realized the story was not over yet." He completed the script after Scream was released, and after having been on-set for much of the filming. "When I sat down to write, I knew how those actors would deliver the lines. It was great to write for their specific voices."
Preserving the plot's secrecy was a major concern throughout production. All cast and crew signed confidentiality agreements. In fact, much of the casting was done with pages from the first movie. "I've never done a film with so much secrecy," said Craven. "Not even the actors knew which of them was the killer until the final scenes were filmed."
The Scream veterans meshed well with the new guys. "It's a strong ensemble," said Neve Campbell. "That's what was so great about the first film. Everyone really clicked and worked well together, and it's happened again."
David Arquette almost didn't make it, though. "Dewey (David's character) was supposed to die in Scream 1." Craven chuckled, "but at the last second, I said let's do a shot of him alive, just in case. We cut it in and it stayed."
Neve Campbell's character changed in Scream 2. In the first film, she was the girl-next-door, but not anymore. This time she's edgier, not so innocent and sweet.
Gale Weathers has changed, too. "She's bitchier, she's more successful and she has money now," said Cox. "So she tries to dress the part -- even if she doesn't get it right."
Most of the crew had worked together on the first Scream. Craven appreciated having a seasoned team for a technically demanding shoot. "The Steadicam work alone called for a bravura performance," he said. "A lot of the dolly moves were very demanding and very fast, and the focus pulling was very difficult because a lot of it was shot in the low light with people moving radically.
"There's a shot where Dewey runs into a projection booth and turns 360 degrees. Three guys are in there with him but you never see any of them despite the camera whipping around very fast. There were a lot of situations like that where I said I know this tough, but this is what I want. And they gave it to me."
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
Top Box Office Films (Winner)
Worst New Star: Tori Spelling (Nominated)
Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA
Best Sound Editing - Music (Nominated)
1998 MTV Movie Awards
Best Female Performance: Neve Campbell (Winner)
International Horror Guild
Best Movie (Nominated)
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Favorite Horror Actor: David Arquette (Winner)
Favorite Horror Actress: Neve Campbell (Winner)
Favorite Horror Actress: Courteney Cox (Nominated)
Favorite Horror Supporting Actor: Jame Kennedy (Winner)
Favorite Horror Supporting Actress: Jada Pinkett (Nominated)
December 12, 1997
April 24, 1998
$124.77 Million (w/inflation)
$40.62 Million (w/inflation)
SCREAM 2 CLOSE-UP
Neve Campbell and Jerry O'Connell -- who plays Sidney's boyfriend Derek in Scream 2 -- originally met years before while working on a TV show in Toronto entitled My Secret Identity.
BEHIND THE SCREAMS
Director Wes Craven reinvented the youth horror genre once before with the classic A Nightmare On Elm Street, a film he wrote and directed in 1984.
R.I.P. CAST MEMBERS
-Mrs. Loomis/Debbie Salt