Scream 3

The most terrifying scream is always the last.

Scream 3 brought Wes Craven's outrageously successful suspense trilogy to a fever-pitched climax. The first two Screams not only reinvented a genre but also introduced a new generation to the thrills of suspense -- with a healthy dose of cutting-edge humor. Bigger and more complex than its predecessors, Scream's final chapter brings it all home by adhering to one simple principle: When it comes to a trilogy, ALL bets are off!

"The piece is a real mind twister," said director Wes Craven. "It takes the audience deep into the reality behind the reality. Nothing is as it seems. From the onset, this project was conceived as a trilogy," Craven continued. "A third movie was already sketched when we started the first. What we reveal about the back-story of the first Scream will close the whole loop and answer all unsolved questions. Scream 3 is definitely not a Readers Digest condensation of its predecessors."

The trilogy's third chapter reunites Craven with David Arquette, Neve Campbell, and Courteney Cox Arquette, as well as Liev Schreiber. In addition to his Scream veterans, Craven's cast includes Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henrickson, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Parker Posey, Deon Richmond, Kelly Rutherford, and Patrick Warburton.

Scream 3 takes place in Hollywood during the production of "Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro," a thriller which raises troubling questions about the events that terrified the town of Woodsboro -- and continue to haunt Sidney Prescott (NEVE CAMPBELL). Three and a half years after leaving Windsor College, Sidney has settled into a life of quiet seclusion in Northern California. But the uneasy peace is shattered when terror erupts on the set of "Stab 3."

Hotshot TV personality Gale Weathers (COURTENEY COX ARQUETTE) rushes to the crime scene at the invitation of the LAPD as the ultimate expert on Woodsboro. Naturally, Gale is more than ready to jump on the "Stab 3" story. But she's not prepared to find old flame Dewey Riley (DAVID ARQUETTE), now a technical advisor on "Stab 3," in a cozy relationship with actress Jennifer Jolie (PARKER POSEY). Method-actress Jennifer, who has played Gale in all three "Stab" movies, believes "her" Gale knows best when the going gets rough on-set.

Dewey and Sidney also find themselves dealing with actor versions of themselves. Hollywood pretty-boy Tom Prinze (MATT KEESLAR) has been cast as Deputy Dewey, while Angelina Tyler (EMILY MORTIMER), a wide-eyed ingenue plucked from thousands of hopefuls at an open call, plays Sidney.

At the helm of "Stab 3" is Roman Bridger (SCOTT FOLEY), a music video director making the leap to feature films. His cast also includes Sarah Darling (JENNY McCARTHY), a world-weary starlet who has had it with bimbo roles, and Tyson Fox (DEON RICHMOND), who strives for dignity in his portrayal of a video store geek. Veteran producer John Milton (LANCE HENRICKSON) is the mastermind behind the entire "Stab" franchise.

LAPD Detective Mark Kincaid (PATRICK DEMPSEY) heads the "Stab 3" investigation. Jittery Jennifer Jolie hires her own protection, celebrity security expert Steve Stone (PATRICK WARBURTON). Cotton Weary (LIEV SCHREIBER), the former prison inmate once accused of murder, has found fame and fortune in Hollywood with a talk show "100% Cotton." Among his many fans is his live-in girlfriend Christine (KELLY RUTHERFORD).

Cathy Konrad and Marianne Maddalena, the producers of Scream and Scream 2, produced Scream 3. Kevin Williamson, who launched the trilogy with the first Scream script and then wrote its witty sequel, is also a producer of Scream 3. Ehren Kruger wrote the Scream 3 screenplay. The project was always planned as a trilogy, so it was very important to keep the thrills fresh. There was only a year between the first second films, and two years between the second and third.

In casting Scream 3, the filmmakers had to find actors who could capture the essence of the characters created by David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox Arquette in the earlier films. Parker Posey found Cox Arquette's wit and energy, Matt Keeslar had David Arquette's sexiness and added a languid movie star quality, and Emily Mortimer focused on the core of honesty that is Campbell.

Campbell, who stars as the no-nonsense heroine in all three films, enjoyed the movie-within-a-movie concept and the opportunities it provided for humor and irony. "These movies are a lot of fun because they don't take themselves too seriously. They poke fun at the genre, the actors and sometimes even the audience."

Still, Scream's principal characters have endured ordeals that would destroy lesser beings. "Sidney has a lot of gumption," mused Campbell. "Over the years, she has developed into a very strong young woman. Most importantly, she has made the decision not to become a victim."

Craven offers a thoughtful perspective on the potential impact and importance of genre films. "The Scream movies confirm my belief that thrillers are great character pieces. They get deep under the skin of human psychology. Kids today have very real and generation-specific fears and they need a way to process these terrors in a positive and funny manner."

Producer Marianne Maddalena has worked with Craven since 1987. "Wes is an extremely complex guy," she explained. "He's a true intellectual who has a unique take on life that often translates into knowing what scares the human soul. He's really good at it."

Like its predecessors, Scream 3 was filmed under a heavy blanket of security. "There has always been a degree of secrecy on my films," said Craven. "But we really had to lighten it up after as-yet unfilmed portions of the Scream 2 script appeared on the Internet in the spring of 1997."

Patrick Dempsey was surprised by the hush-hush atmosphere. "I wouldn't know what was going to happen until I showed up at work and got the script pages for that day. But it's a very scary movie, and full of surprises. Even I won't know who the killer is (or killers are?) until I see the movie!"
Having done it in a unique three-picture way, we can now say we've been there and done that. This is it. We knew we weren't keeping the door open for a Scream 4 or Scream 5.
-Bob Weinstein 
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