Scream VI’s Melissa Barrera On Forming An ‘Easy’ Sisterly Connection With Jenna Ortega

The horror genre is known for long-running franchises, but there are few quite as beloved as Scream. That’s why audiences were so psyched when the property returned to theaters in 2022, with a fifth sequel helmed by Ready or Not filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The movie was such a huge success that another sequel was ordered, with Scream VI catching us up with the two sets of surviving siblings from the last movie. That includes Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega as Sam and Tara Carpenter respectively. And Barrera recently spoke to CinemaBlend about forming an “easy” sisterly connection with her onscreen sibling.

Jenna Ortega is everywhere lately, thanks to her performance in projects like Netflix’s You, horror flick X, and (of course) Netflix’s Wednesday series. She filmed her role in the 2022 Scream movie before becoming such a big star, and she’s back in Scream VI alongside Melissa Barrera. As you can see in the video above, I had the privilege of speaking with the cast ahead of the movie’s release. I asked Barrera about what it was like forming that sisterly bond, and she told me:

It’s so funny because from the moment we met it just felt so easy and it felt so natural. We met on Zoom for the first time and it was just there. And I think that’s why Matt and Tyler were like ‘These are the girls.’ Because it had just felt like we had known each other for forever. I am a very protective older sister, I have three younger sisters myself in real life. So the idea of this older sister doing anything and going above and beyond to protect her younger sister was something that felt very natural to me.

How sweet is that? It looks like the close relationship shared between Sam and Tara in the last two Scream movies is real both on and off camera. Because as Melissa Barrera put it, she feels strong big sister vibes for Jenna Ortega. And it seems their connection was pretty immediate, despite the two meeting over Zoom.

The 2022 Scream movie was filmed at the height of Covid, with extremely strict protocols in place for the cast and crew. As such, meetings happened over Zoom, before they actually all assembled on the set. Regardless, the Carpenter sisters were able to instantly vibe, which really shone through in their performances.

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega during Scream VI's bodega sequence.

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Of course, the four surviving siblings from the last Scream are going to be different going into their return in Scream VI. They’ve obviously been changed since surviving their own run-ins with Ghostface, prompting them to move from Woodsboro to New York City. Later in my same conversation with Melissa Barrera, she spoke about how the newest slasher changes up the dynamics between Sam and Tara. In her words:

I love that you get to spend so much time with them in this next movie, and you get to see more colors to their relationship. Because in the fifth one it’s pretty much the younger sister’s getting attacked and the older sister’s trying to protect her and like that’s it. In this one you get to see the frustration that comes with spending so much time together. That’s so common of a sibling relationship when you’re living together. So you get to see friction, and you get to see laughter, and you get to see now the younger sister being protective of the older one. So it’s just a beautiful thing to get to play out with someone that I love as much as Jenna.

Some serious points were made. While Jenna Ortega’s Tara made history as the first Scream character to survive the opening attack scene, her injuries prevented her from sharing too many scenes with Melissa Barrera’s Sam. Indeed, Tara was attacked at home and in the hospital within the first half of the 2022 movie. But that’s not going to be the case with Scream VI, which should further flesh out the two sisters’ relationship, and how their trauma from the last movie has impacted them. 

Luckily for fans, the wait for Scream is just about over. The movie is hitting theaters this weekend, and the reviews have been pretty glowing. While Neve Campbell’s Sideny Prescott will be noticeably missing, this shift has seemingly made more time for Sam and Tara’s relationship to take center stage. And in doing so, the Ghostface attacks feel surprisingly emotional.

Scream VI hits theaters November 10th. In the meantime check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.