'Scream 4' writer Kevin Williamson discusses the latest installment in the horror franchise and his 'massive fight' with Bob Weinstein -- EXCLUSIVE

For nearly a year now, there have been rumors surrounding the production of Scream 4, the latest installment in the blockbuster horror franchise, mostly involving screenwriter Kevin Williamson’s involvement. Last summer, there were reports that Williamson was no longer participating in the production of the film and had been replaced by Scream 3 screenwriter Ehren Kruger. (Director Wes Craven, and stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette also all returned for film.) Now, with Scream 4 hitting theaters on April 15, Williamson talks to EW about what really went down, and the future of the Scream series. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you remember coming up with the premise for Scream 4 and the new trilogy?
KEVIN WILLIAMSON:
One day I’m just sitting around and I go, “Oh wait — I think — oh my God, I think I have it.” And then I started thinking about Scream 4. And I kinda worked it all out and what the story was and who generates the plot. I had written this treatment for Scream 3 that was not what they filmed. It was a return to Woodsboro. Scream 3 was supposed to take place in Woodsboro. You know how they’re making a movie in Hollywood? I had an entire film crew going to Woodsboro. So then I always wanted to go back to Woodsboro. Once I figured out where Sidney was today, who dies and who doesn’t, I said, “Okay maybe now I can have a conversation with Bob [Weinstein, producer and co-chairman of Dimension Films].” I called him up and I pitched him. Of course, he just heard Scream 4. [Laughs] Literally, after I pitched the first scene, I think he just stopped listening and was just like, “Write it, write it, write it.”

Obviously there were some bumps in the road.
There might have been a few. [Laughs]

There were all these rumors that you were fired from Scream 4. What happened?
Oh, I got in a big fight with Bob. God love him. I’ve worked with the man for 16 years out of my 16-year career. We get in some fights. We’re a very dysfunctional family over there at the Weinstein Co. We got into a massive fight creatively and we hugged it out and then we moved on.

Can you allude to what the struggle was about?
Oh just, you know — I felt strongly about this and he felt strongly about that and then I did this and that wasn’t right. Everyone was second-guessing everything because everyone wanted it to be so perfect. That’s exactly what happened. The one thing that Bob and I connect on very basically, why we’ve worked successfully together for 16 years, is we’re passionate. And no one is more passionate than Bob Weinstein. And it is that passion that allows you to make a movie where he will believe in you and trust in you and it’s also that passion that can cause fights and cause struggle. For 16 years, he’s kept me gainfully employed. I love him. Yes, we got into the fight, but then the big clincher came: Contractually, I had signed on to do The Vampire Diaries [Williamson’s series for The CW]. You know, the little thing called first and second position? I was in first position to do Vamprie Diaries and second position to do Scream 4. So guess what? It was a contractual thing. Warner Bros called up and they said, “Dude where are you? You have a show that’s on the air — where are you?” I did double duty as much as I could but The Vampire Diaries was also very important to me.

So it was basically a contractual parting of ways?
Yeah, but then one blog got a hold of it. It’s fine. What are you going to say? Yeah we got into a massive fight, but at the same time the fight ended and we hugged it out and we continued forward and we tried to make the best movie possible. But it was also very raw and sensitive.

When did you and Bob reconcile?
Oh, I haven’t talked to him yet.

How do you know if he’s over it?
Oh please! Oh come on, it’s Bob. It’s fine!

I think the Scream fans felt like Kevin Williamson had disowned or disavowed Scream 4. That doesn’t seem to be the case?
Scream
is so special to me I’m never going to disavow it.

So you’re on board with Scream 4 despite not having seen it yet?
I’m very supportive of the film and I hope everybody likes it. Not for a second would I dare do that to Wes and Neve and Courteney and David and Bob Weinstein, who made my career. The reality is I did I worked very hard on the film. I did my darndnest to try and make a really good movie. I gave it my all. I wrote everything I thought I could write. Then they had to film it and I had to get back to The Vampire Diaires. So I think I really contributed. I hope it all turns out! My fingers are crossed!

Would you want to do a Scream 5?
Let’s just get through Scream 4! If people really respond to the film, then yes, there are more twists and turns.

For more on the battle over Scream 4 plus a look back at the original Scream with memories from Arquette, Cox, Campbell and Drew Barrymore, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.

Comments (62 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Hoping for the best, fearing the worst. Sounds like too many cooks spoiling the broth.

    • Altec Lansing

      I do not look forward to this movie at all! And I don’t know many people who are excited to see it.
      If they want people to see it and realize that this movie is not the same as before but is taking risks and has balls, then they should kill Sidney in like the first 15 minutes. Seriously, I would see it if thats what happens because it shows that they’re taking risks and rejuvenating the franchise.
      Otherwise, it would be the same-old, same-old, and thats not exciting.

      • B-

        You know nothing about slasher films. Whenever the heroine of the previous film returns for the sequel. She dies. It happened to “Nancy” in ANOES3. It happened to “Alice” in F132. It happened to “Clear” in FD2. It always happens, so that is the “cliche” and expected thing to do. Leaving “Sydney” alive for so long IS breaking conventions. And if she makes it past 4 I think it’s time for her character to be able to live off far away in a killer free zone. But killing her or making her the killer is the expected thing to do.

      • Meso Soup

        Always best to make a decision about a movie after you have seen it. Just sayin’

      • Becky Anne Leaman

        You know nothing about the proper use of quotation marks. “Who the f— is Alice?” Would be a correct use of quotation marks since I’m quoting from the song ‘Who the f— is Alice’ by Smokie. So, who is Alice? I see that Claire is from Final Destination and Nancy is from Nightmare On Elm Street, but F132… ? F132? Bueller? So confused, it’s like a DaVinci code, I can’t unlock the secret behind F132.

      • Jason Voorhies

        @Becky Anne

        F132 = Friday the 13th part 2. Alice is the girl from the first one that chops Mrs. Voorhies’head off. Returns for beginning of 2nd one just to be killed off within first 5 minutes

      • Michael

        All three of the previous Screams were fun and scary and enjoyable, so I for one am looking forward to this one too. And no they shouldn’t kill Sidney right away; that’s a terrible idea.

      • D’s Advocate

        @B-
        “You know nothing about slasher films. Whenever the heroine of the previous film returns for the sequel. She dies.”

        Laurie Strode would like a word with you.

      • radiowarsx

        Ahem D’s Advocate, they did kill Laurie in both Halloween Resurrection and in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (the directors version). She can’t have a word with her because she’s dead.

      • D’s Advocate

        You are of course correct radio, but note the quote: “Whenever the heroine of the previous film returns for the sequel. She dies.” My point is that this is incorrect. Laurie Strode, the heroine of Halloween (1978), returned for the immediate sequel, and survived.

      • radiowarsx

        Fair enough. I am, however, inclined to point out that B- was not referring to just immediate sequels, for she made mention of Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and this whole thread is about Scream 4. Overall, the basic point is that killing off a heroine, while something that some might deem risky and unexpected, is actually a pretty standard cliche, no matter when it occurs in the series. So basically I want to help her reaffirm that Altec Lansing is out to lunch. On that note, if he/she thinks there is no one excited for this movie, they should check out the Scream 4 facebook page. Speak for yourself, Altec.

      • D’s Advocate

        Certainly agree on the cliche part. The specific wording of B-‘s post was where my issue laid, but absolutely, it’s not exactly revolutionary if Scream 4 were to kill off Sydney.

      • Heather

        F132 is Friday the 13th part 2

  • lebeau

    I liked Scream. The sequels, not so much. I have low expectations of Scream 4.

    • Thom

      Yup. The first was good, the rest not so much.

      And I’ve heard nothing but poisonous word about this one from the press junket, but who knows.

      But seriously, after My Soul To Take, Cursed and Scream 3, did anybody think Wes Craven would ever knock it out of the park again?

    • Steve

      You can tell that Hollywood has completely run out of original ideas.

  • ZRob

    Scream 3 was pretty awful, I thought. but if the reviews and word of mouth are positive for this installment, I’ll see it out of sheer curiosity.

    • Jose

      Scream 3 was pretty bad compared to its legacy. I loved Scream 2 and 1. Scream 3 was not that bad though when you compare it to what the average is. I’d gladly rent a Scream 3 quality sequel on Netflix. The cinemas? Probably not.

    • jay

      I liked Scream 3 better than Scream 2. It was a lot more fun and creative. The first is the best, but reall, I liked all of them. I’ll be there on Friday for sure.

  • Andrew

    Neve Campbell is still so hot.

    • Brett

      I’d drink her soup anyday.

      • Harry Q. Hammer

        LOL

      • Mike

        I want her can-can’s.

    • Your Queen

      Meh, no boobs at all. That threesome scene with Denise Richards and Matt Dillon was just like watching two dudes tag team Denise.

      • Harry Q. Hammer

        ARGH!
        Friggin’ double (triple?) post!
        Bloody annoying!

  • Mike

    I want her can-can.

    • SaggyBoobs

      Not so crazy about her boobs though. Anyone see her nude scene as a waitress in that one movie? Meh mamories.

    • Drew

      Who’s, Neve? She has nice can-cans.

  • Kevin

    I want this to be good but for a while now it seems like things where going out of control. I even read a articile with Wes Craven where he said he doesn’t consider Scream 4 a “Wes Craven” film because there was so much outside involvement. I hope for the best though..

  • Edivar

    Great interview. Kevin is an amazing writer. Very talented.

  • Adam

    I have high hopes but expecting anything.

  • K. Butler

    yea he really discussed the “massive fight”

    • V

      True – once again, a misleading tagline. Hey, gotta get that ad revenue somehow…

  • V

    I wish people would quit all the negativity about this movie and enjoy it for what it is: a fun, slasher/thriller movie.

    • V

      by the way – these are 2 different V’s! (I was the first)

  • Zombie Jesus

    I’m about as excited for another Scream movie as I am for my next prostate exam.

  • DFSF

    Guess I’ll wait for the reviews before risking money on this. It sure is sounding more and more like a turkey.

    • Michael

      It sounds like a turkey to you because drama sells, even drama that is WAY overblown by one blogger (shows you that accuracy is thrown aside for speed these days as no one vetted the story they just wanted to be the first out of the gate or the first copycat to get readers/viewers). Also this headline is VERY MISLEADING. EW only posts positive headlines when it has to do with their beloved Glee. If I was Kevin I would ask for a retraction. By the way, DFSF, early buzz on this film has been FANTASTIC. Screenings are full of POSITIVE reviews saying it is the best of the sequels.

      • Michael

        and that loser blogger was from a site worse than EW (I always thought that would be impossible)…Zap2it.

  • Dave

    I’ve really been hoping that Scream 4 would be as good as the first two movies. I’m a little apprehensive though, especially when I hear Wes Craven saying things about how they were receiving script pages the night before or even the day of filming particular scenes. Often, issues like that don’t bode well for movies. I’m really hoping they worked it out though.

  • Mikey M

    Why do these studios always have to ruin a film by putting too many fingers in the pot???

  • Clay Aiken

    All the Scream movies were terrible, poorly written trash. Kevin Williamson is a hack and Wes Craven has lost all credibility as a top notch horror director.

    • @Ckay Aiken

      Keep on trollin’, keep on trollin’…

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