The Making of 'Scream': Matthew Lillard looks back on filming the horror classic

Lillard

Image Credit: Krista Kennell/Sipa Press

In honor of the release of Scream 4 this Friday, EW is looking back at the original 1996 film and talking to cast members about their best production memories. Matthew Lillard played Stu Macher, who was ultimately revealed to be one of the film’s two killers, along with best bud Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). “It’s weird now that so much time has elapsed and we all know that it’s become iconic, like a piece of film history,” says the actor. EW talked to Lillard about reading the original script for the first time, filming the movie’s intense climax, and if he’s sad that his character didn’t make it to any of the sequels. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you remember reading the Scream script for the first time?
MATTHEW LILLARD:
Yeah, you know I was staying at this house, a little kind of deserted, tiny, like one room shack, like a wood-slotted shack and read the opening sequence where Drew’s character gets murdered. It was so terrifying, like When a Stranger Calls. I distinctly remember going I don’t want to read this, it’s freaking me out. It had that kind of visceral impact on the first read. I remember closing the book and reading it the next day. I totally closed it and re-read it the next day.

Did you always wanna play Stu?
No, I originally went in for Billy. And so later on the same day I auditioned, they brought me back for Stu — that was the producer session with Wes [Craven].  I think from that point on it was kind of my part.

What are your most vivid memories of filming?
I guess my best memories were that last sequence in the house. It was three weeks and it was like it was every night, covered in blood, you’re running for your life. And that kind of adrenaline, it’s just so exhausting. I distinctly remember at some point, like Neve [Campbell] and Skeet and I were sitting in the same room and nobody would really talk. I remember the three of us with blood on your hands and it’s all tacky, it’s all paste. You get tacky and sticky and you sit there and you just start playing with the blood as if you’re in this weird trance.

The other thing about that movie which I think made it a really great experience for everyone is that no one really had the expectation or the normal trappings of Hollywood. We were all innocent, young, there for the right reasons, even Courteney [Cox] and her success. The energy of that, all of us, was really lovely. We went out to dinner almost every night, or every weekend we would hang out. There was something just really lovely about the experience because there were no expectations, there was no pressure. The way that Wes leads, he’s such a noble man.

Why does Scream have such loyal fans?
I think it’s legitimately scary. The opening sequence, where you’re killing Drew Barrymore, who is a huge star, that sets the bar and you don’t know what the hell is gonna happen next. It’s a pretty fantastic combination of things, that was well crafted but like, the master of horror.

Were you bummed at all that you got killed off now that it’s become this huge franchise?
I mean, not really. I like being the OG killer.

Read more:
The Making of ‘Scream’: Jamie Kennedy looks back on filming the horror classic
‘Scream 4′ writer Kevin Williamson discusses the latest installment in the horror franchise and his ‘massive fight’ with Bob Weinstein

Comments (24 total) Add your comment
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  • Nerdista

    Stu was my favorite! I still remember lines! “Ow, you hit me with the phone d**k!” So funny!

    • julia

      “my mom and dad are gonna be so mad at me!!”

      • Marianne

        “Im feeling a little woozy”

      • StewyFan

        “… and plan the sequel, cuz THESE DAYS, you gotta have the sequel.” As the spit and drool are pouring out of his mouth. Classic.

  • Becky Anne Leaman

    Alright, does anyone remember when MTV’s ‘TRL’ went to Big Bear Mountain in California? It was the week ‘Scream 2′ came out and they really hyped the film up. I SWEAR Mathew Lillard was interviewed and admitted that he had filmed a scene for ‘Scream 2′… THEN THEY SHOWED IT! It isn’t in the final film, but I’m wondering if it’s on the DVD somewhere? Mathew has bleached hair and glasses on based on my memory… does anyone know about this scene?

    • theBigE

      As I recall he is in a group scene at a college party in Scream 2. It got filmed – I don’t recall if it’s in the final cut.

    • chelsea brandemuehl

      he was an extra in scream 2, I think he said that you can see him, but your not really supposed to as he died in the first one.

  • Junebug

    Am I the only person that found this article infuriating? Is Mr. Lillard that ineloquent or are there that many typos?

    • Katie

      Seems like they’ve just cut and pasted lines from an audio transcript and haven’t tidied it up.

    • chelsea brandemuehl

      what do you mean?

  • Katie

    What does OG mean? Original Ghostface?

    • b

      Original gangsta, possibly.

    • StewyFan

      For their purposes, I’m sure it’s Original Ghostface. lol

  • Who Craig?

    I would still get on all fours for that man

  • JoeC

    I liked the ‘Scream’ series, but classic?!?! I think not. ‘Cape Fear’ was a classic; ‘Scream’ was entertaining….

    • dexx

      It is considered a classic because prior to it characters in horror movies were not self aware, the two killer concept was a big thing, the fact that the horror genre was considered dead and it brought it back, etc. I think that a legit case can be made for the term classic. I understand why you disagree.

  • matt

    I think any movie that basically revives and completely changes a genre in one shot is legitimately labeled a “classic”…. Maybe not in the sense that it will endure for 50 years, but then again, not many movies made from 1990 forward will. What it means is that the movie, like it or not, made a massive impact on pop culture and all movies of it’s genre to follow it, just like Halloween had done in the 70s. Scream re-wrote the rules and whether people liked it or not, it’s impact won’t go away.

    None of the movies that came out after it have had the same level of bad-assery, hilarity, self-awareness, and over-arching storylines that it’s had, which is why I’m so psyched about S4. After 10 years of sub-par BS, I’m “dying” to see Ghost Face back in action, along with the original cast members. Never thought I’d see the day

  • Alex

    why didnt he mention Rose McGowan :[

  • StewyFan

    I think the definition of “classic” is unforgettable and timeless. Scream is definitely that. It may not be the standard of The Exorcist or the original Halloween, but it did something new and fresh with the horror genre and set the bar for many others to come and mimic what they were doing. It was a self aware formula that worked, mixing humor and terror. It’s classic movie making.

  • kremzeek!

    i consider scream a classic in terms of the impact it had on the genre and audiences,but parts 2 and especially 3 were just blah for me.part 4 i’ll probably skip even though anna paquin’s in it.i’d sell all of your souls for that woman.

  • Jebuska Sarrington

    Horror classic? Classic? Give me a break! I’ve seen books written by children that are more entertaining and frightening than any of the “Scream” movies. Come on!

  • jj

    The original killers, Billy and Stu were the best.

    • chelsea brandemuehl

      Yeah, they were.

      Also, the first movie was the best too. I wish they’d have just let it stand alone because it was strong enough to stand alone. but, it was also capable of making tons of money so I understand why they chose to capitalize on it.

  • viviennewestwood

    Great article. I cant wait to hear more about your research tool. If it is as good as your other products, then you will have another winner. Your article pretty much summed up what I have been seeing too. Great to see some hard data.

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