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Scream’s Marley Shelton On ‘Awkward’ Process Of Filming During The Pandemic

Marley Shelton in Scream 4
(Image credit: Dimension Films)

The horror genre has been in renaissance mode for years, and a number of beloved properties have returned to the big screen as a result. Case in point: the new Scream movie, which will arrive in theaters in January. Marley Shelton will be back playing Judy Hicks, and described the “awkward” process of filming in the midst of the pandemic.

The new Scream began principal photography back in September of 2020, with filming taking place over a few months. I had the privilege of speaking with some of the cast members during a virtual set visit last October, where Marley Shelton described the unique challenges that came with filming in the midst of Covid. She spoke to the process of filming with David Arquette, saying:

I don’t think I’ve seen David since we did Scream 4. And we worked together last week and it was so fantastic to see him. Albeit strange because literally you don’t get to see the person’s full face until they say ‘action.’ So even when you’re rehearsing you have a mask on and all the PPE. So it’s not until they roll camera and say ‘action’ that you get to see your fellow castmates.

That’s certainly a new way of working. Film sets have adapted new health measures to keep the cast and crew safe, which includes the use of social distancing and masks. And as a result, Scream’s cast wasn’t able to truly see the entirety of their co-stars’ faces until the moment that shooting began. 

Marley Shelton’s comments help to show how the film industry has adapted in order to continue the work. Sets around the set were shut down when COVID-19 started spreading, and the entire business came to a screeching halt. And since the new Scream movie was filming last fall, things were perhaps even more serious than they are now.

After Marley Shelton mentioned not being able to see the faces of her Scream co-stars like David Arquette, I followed up with another inquiry for the Grindhouse actress. I asked if this moment of finally seeing each other energized scenes, but she maintained it did not. In Shelton’s own words:

Honestly on the day it’s just a little bit awkward. Because what you realize what you use the rehearsal process for is to iron out the kinks. So when they say ‘action’ you can let it rip in the scene. But I will say it’s easier and easier. The first day was definitely, for me, the most awkward. And then, like everything else, you adapt. It’s incredible the human spirit, and the ability we all have to adapt to these circumstances that the pandemic has brought on.

She’s not wrong. The film industry is only one type of business that changed its norms in order to adapt during an unprecedented time. Marley Shelton admits to being awkward on that first day of filming Scream, but eventually was able to get into the rhythm of shooting with new health protocols. And just like that Judy Hicks came back to life, something the fandom is thrilled about.

Aside from the OG heroes (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette), Marley Shelton is seemingly the only other returning character appearing in the new Scream. Unfortunately she only appears very briefly in the first trailer. But she’ll presumably be a major player in the new slasher, especially with actor Dylan Minnette playing her son Wes.

Footage from the new Scream is currently limited, and the movie’s directors have already confirmed that the trailer contains misdirects for the audience. Hopefully another trailer comes sooner rather than later, featuring more of Marley Shelton’s Judy Hicks. Hopefully she’s still baking those lemon squares.

Scream is currently expected to arrive in theaters on January 14th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

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 CinemaBend. 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 famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.