A smalltown boy who grows up watching slashers like Halloween and turns to become the voice of a generation is a cinematographic storyline, right? Somewhere in the beginning, it necessarily has that transforming moment where he enters a new universe for the first time… and his life is forever changed.
So, picture screenwriter Kevin Williamson, back in 1996, in a Sonoma filming location with master Wes Craven and Drew Barrymore. The story of how SCREAM came to be is, per se, magical enough. Not only for him – but to us, fans.
This Vulture memoir, about that exact moment in time, is a delight. And here are a few excerpts:
“A big inspiration for me was the opening scene of When a Stranger Calls with Carol Kane. It was one of those relentless scenes with mood and atmosphere and a slow build. In my first pass of the scene, Casey Becker was actually babysitting. Once I’d written it, I realized it wasn’t necessary. Really, the scene was about Casey’s boyfriend, who was outside strapped to a chair. And it was about the game, and the premise, and the setup, and the conceit of the world we’d created. I wanted it to be just long enough that the audience thinks she might survive it.”
“Prior to the shooting, I went with him [Wes Craven] to the house and we walked it, and I went and rewrote the action scenes based on his blocking. It was my first experience of realizing that what I saw in my head was never what it actually is. That was a big learning experience, of learning how to let things go. But this is the process. It’s a group effort. It was mostly, “oh wow, this is not what I envisioned in my head — this is better.”
“SCREAM was just everything and more to me. And it still is.”
For even more in this story, read Williamson’s foreword on the SCREAM screenplay, published in 1997. SCREAM turns 25 years old this year and celebrations are planned and so is the release of the 4K UHD version.