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Scream Actress Melissa Barrera Talks Franchise Adding Diversity And One Thing She Always Forgave The OG Movies For

Melissa Barrera in Scream
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Scream has returned for the first time since 2011’s fourth installment and, this time, the movie is packed with fresh faces. In addition to many of the actors from the original cast returning to the franchise, the horror movie includes a diverse new array of actors including Melissa Barrera, Dylan Minnette, Mason Gooding, Sonia Ammar and Jasmin Savoy Brown. While speaking about the movie’s representation, Barrera got blunt about the franchise's history. 

Melissa Barrera, who leads the latest Scream movie as Sam Carpenter, shared her thoughts on being a Latina lead in a horror franchise not historically known for its diversity and inclusion. In her words: 

It’s so funny because yes, it was such a white franchise at the beginning, and then you actually forgive it because it would comment on that. The characters would talk about how, ‘Oh, the token black character that’s going to die.’ They would talk about it and so you forgave it for not having diversity.

Scream has always been a franchise that comments on horror tropes, given that Ghostface is always a huge movie watcher of all the classics. Melissa Barrera admitted that she’d often “forgive” the series for not being diverse because it was so self aware. Barrera continued explaining to The Wrap with these words: 

I’m also very grateful that this fifth movie is the most diverse cast that we’ve ever seen in the saga, and it looks more like the world does today so I think it’s beautiful to be more reflective of that, not just in skin tones and ethnicities and nationalities, but also in, now there’s queer characters and we’ve never seen that, so that’s good.

While it’s easy to look back at a franchise like this and judge it for its lack of diversity, the new film did the right thing by improving things for the better and including a broad spectrum of cast members with different skin tones, backgrounds and sexual preferences. Jasmin Savoy Brown’s Mindy, for instance, is the first LGBTQ+ character in the franchise. During CinemaBlend’s interviews with the Scream cast, Brown shared that it was an “affirming” experience as a queer woman herself to get to bring the character to the horror franchise. 

Not only is the new film incredibly diverse, it’s also been warmly received by fans of the franchise. As soon as the movie screened, critics were raving about it. ReelBlend co-host Kevin McCarthy said it was the “closest” he’s felt to the “brilliance, excitement & horror” of Wes Craven’s original film for example. In CinemaBlend’s review of the film, Eric Eisenberg gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and called it a “truly successful sequel.”  

The movie has also been successful commercially as well. Ahead of its third weekend in theaters, the movie has made $88 million worldwide against a $24 million production budget. Scream is a well-known franchise, and the fact that 2022’s first big hit is led by Latina women in Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega’s Carpenter is a great win for diversity. And now that the movie has been released, we here at CinemaBlend will keep you in the know when it comes upcoming horror movies

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.