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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 reunites 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 devastated 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 Schreiber 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 sore 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 thought 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."
"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