Interview: Scream 4's Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin And Anthony Anderson

It’s pretty crazy to think that Wes Craven’s Scream came on the scene 15 years ago. In that time, a lot of things have changed and that goes for the franchise’s cast as well. While Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox are all back for Scream 4, they’re joined by the next generation of stars, including Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin and Anthony Anderson.

A few weeks back (yes, I’ve known who the killer is for nearly a month now), the franchise’s newest stars gathered together for a press conference, where they talked about the experience working on the film, from working with the surprisingly funny Wes Craven, to their relationship with the original movies and scaring each other on set. Check it out below, and be sure to check out Perri’s exclusive interview with Craven that we posted last week.

Have you watched the whole series? What did you think when you were offered this?

Anthony Anderson: Well I did, I grew up watching this franchise, and you have a trivia question now, or it will be. I actually spoofed this movie in Scary Movie 3 and 4, and now I’m a part of the franchise that I spoofed. So I think it’s Scary Movie 5 that I will be a part of now. But, the genre, the franchise itself was fun to be a part of and to watch growing up. The way that Wes Craven tells his stories and intertwines the horror with humor, I think that’s what really separates this franchise of horror movies from the others. What do you guys think?

Emma Roberts: For me, I was obviously too young to ever see it when it came out in theaters, but it was one of those movies that I saw when I was a teenager and all my friends were obsessed with wanting to watch scary movies and this was one of the first few I saw. And I remember thinking, it was probably the scariest, just because, out of all of the horror movies of my generation, I think this was the most real kind of? You know, it’s the most plausible. And that’s why it’s so freaky, you know, like when a phone rings, you’re kind of freaked out. And when you see those big glass windows, you know what I’m talking about, it’s scary. So it was definitely creepy.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were with some friends at night and then somebody gets a mysterious phone call, or you’re watching a scary movie?

Emma Roberts: You know, my friends keep calling me and doing the voice and saying, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” and as much as I know it’s a joke I still can’t help like looking over my shoulder a little bit, because it’s creepy!

Rory Culkin: Yeah, I saw the first one when I was like eight years old, around. I was scarred for a little while. And then, after I got this part I went back and watched all three. Pretty solid. Not really dated, but it says a lot about its time.

Anthony Anderson: I just want to say that, I just found out who the real killer is in this movie. I did. I don’t know if they couldn’t trust me with the script, but they never gave me a script with the ending. I really just found out who the killers were.

Emma Roberts: Did you really? [laughs]

Anthony Anderson: Like fifteen, twenty…And I haven’t seen the movie yet! So I really don’t know who the killers are. Fifteen minutes ago I found out who the killers were! I mean of course they know because they saw it but dammit! I just found out. That it was the black guy! New decade, new room baby. The black guy doesn’t die first anymore.

This movie had a battle with the Internet, so how did you guys, how crazy was the lockdown on set?

Emma Roberts: I mean for me, when I read the script, before I signed on to do the movie, I had to go to Wes Craven’s house and sit down and read it. And when we got our scripts, we were all, I think all of us were scared because they were all watermarked, and so if you lost it, you knew who lost it, it would say “Emma Roberts” across the script. So we were all just, I was scared because I was just gonna be embarrassed if mine got lost and it’s on the internet with my name on it, so there were a couple times when I just was like, do I shred them? What do I do? Because there were times when I almost lost it.

Anthony Anderson: Well I did lose mine. And that’s why, I think, they never gave me the real script. What else has happened? I never thought I really had the real script because every time I would go home and study these lines, I’d show up on set, they’d give me a completely new set of sides for the day. And I was like, “This is just not the shit that you told me to study for yesterday!” So that’s how I knew they were pulling tricks on me, at least.

Emma Roberts: It was just him, for the record. [To Anthony] Just you.

How easy or hard to scare are you guys, either watching scary movies or in your real life? Is it hard to scare you or very easy to scare you?

Emma Roberts: I’m very easily scared. I was covering my eyes through most of Scream 4, and I was in the movie! [laughs] I saw it with my mom and she was like, “Honey I love you but I have to step out for a moment, I’m too scared,” and I was like, “You’re too scared? It’s me,” and she was like, “It’s just scary.” So we were all horrified. I was sitting next to a bunch of people and we were all in our seats with our knees up.

So you experience a lot of action in this movie, a lot of physical stuff, did it empower you at all to do a more physical role?

Emma Roberts: I’d love to do more action roles. I’m not very athletic, I have to say. I always played, like, “girl sports,” I was never really a big sport person. So this was definitely, for me, as far as the physical aspect of it, difficult. I’ve never been able to really run convincingly so I had to learn how to do that in this movie.

Anthony Anderson: She’s pigeon toed, knock-kneed and bowlegged. That makes it difficult to run in a straight line.

Rory, how much of a cinephile or a moviephile...

Anthony Anderson: Hold on! Rory is not a pedophile! [laughs]

How was it working with the originals?

Emma Roberts: It was fun, I mean it was cool! We all had a good time, I think everyone, we were in Michigan for three months so we all got to kind of bond and hang out. We would spend a lot of time together when we weren’t flying home.

[Hayden Panettiere, who is arriving late to the press conference, sneaks in]

Anthony Anderson: [interrupting] Ladies and gentleman, Ladies and Gentleman! Hayden is here!

So, working with the originals?

Rory Culkin: Yeah, it was cool. They were sort of in our position ten, fifteen years earlier.

Emma Roberts: Fifteen.

Rory Culkin: So they understood where we were coming from and it was pretty cool.

Anthony Anderson: They’re all fossilized. They’re old. We’re the new generation of the Scream franchise. I mean you know they’re just tired and old and bitter. It was great, working with the, you know, David Arquette and Courtney Cox and I have been friends for thirteen, fourteen years now. David and I have worked together in the past. So it was great to finally work a gig with him in a franchise that I grew up watching and spoofed and parodied, and one that I enjoyed. And we bonded, we’d rent out a lake house and be out there for three, four days at a time just having water balloon fights and barbeques and lovemaking and all kinds of things.

Hayden Panettiere: Oh, I know how their barbeques went.

Anthony Anderson: You should have been there.

Hayden Panettiere: It was more like, flames. [miming huge flames with her hands]

Anthony Anderson: You need fire! You need fire to cook red meat! [laughs]

Emma Roberts: I saw those flames

Anthony Anderson: Like David Arquette threw gasoline on the gasoline on the fire pit...

Hayden Panettiere: But then they were doing a photo shoot!

Anthony Anderson: You don’t use gasoline at home when you’re cooking ribs!

Hayden Panettiere: You did not look too disturbed by it, you were like, “I’m a man! I make fire!”

Anthony Anderson: And you ate our meat!

Hayden Panettiere: I did eat the meat, I did.

Hayden, you haven’t said what it was like working with the original cast in this movie and if you had seen the original movie, what you thought of it? Because we asked them all that before you came here.

Hayden Panettiere: Well I was seven when it came out, so I waited until a little bit later in life to experience Scream, and it was something that I was a big fan of. You know it’s got that aspect, that Halloween aspect with the masked person but at the same time it’s got that very realistic aspect of somebody, the fear of somebody breaking into your house, and that’s a terrifying thing. But it was a great experience. You know, it’s always a little bit nerve wracking when you come into a family. It was something that was already established, the family that was already established, they had been through so much together, they had been through these films together, and you really have to tread lightly on that and have respect for that and find your way into that that group, that family, and where you fit in. But they were always great with that. They really had an interest in knowing us and including us and really made that effort, and it made it just a great experience.

Anthony Anderson: God, you’re beautiful [laughs]. I will fight your man for you.

Hayden Panettiere: You might have to quit acting for that afterward.

Anthony Anderson: I don’t fight fair. I’m telling you that right now, you will never see it coming.

Hayden Panettiere: I know, I know. My dad’s a fireman from Brooklyn, he always told me in a fight there are no rules.

Anthony Anderson: None, whatsoever.

Hayden Panettiere: You just swing. That’s it.

Your character is very spunky and she’s very fearless. How similar are you to her?

Hayden Panettiere: Well I’d like to think of myself as those things, but...It goes both ways. I was drawn to her because she’s not like anyone I’ve ever played before. She’s very, she tries, she’s sarcastic, she’s got that tomboy aspect to her, which I can relate to. But she’s a horror movie buff, under it all, which is not what you expect from her. And then it’s a really cool element to her personality that’s unexpected and kind of clever. I can’t say that I’m the same in that way, but it’s a fun character to play.

There’s a difference between seeing ghostface on screen, and then working with the guy, working with Dane Farewell in makeup and full costume. What was it like growing up with an iconic character and then having him fucking chasing you down? And seeing the scene?

Emma Roberts: It was scary, I mean I would get, even though we knew who it was, I would get freaked out. Running away would get scary. There was a scene where I had to run up some stairs and he was really treading me down and I really almost just completely ate it and fell down because I was just getting really nervous. Yeah, it’s scary.

Hayden Panettiere: You were also in stilettos.

Emma Roberts: I was also in eight inch heels because apparently, I was too short.

Hayden Panettiere: And lifts.

Emma Roberts: Yeah. I’m like 5’2” on a good day and I think I was probably 5’7” or 5’9” in the movie because I had shoes this big [motions with hands] that were not ideal for running away from a serial killer.

Hayden Panettiere: It’s scary. You know, you’ve got the horror mask nowadays and a lot of them are very gruesome and they’ve got blood and scabs and this and that, but there is something just so scary about that mask. It’s so simple. And even the painting that it’s based off, you know, that, it’s just eerie. It just gets you in a way that only the simplistic, unexaggerated way that it’s done can really make you scared. I don’t like knives, either.

Hayden, Wes Craven tweeted that he had Ghostface scare you off camera.

Hayden Panettiere: Yes, he did.

So can you tell us about your experience, was anybody else pranked on set?

Hayden Panettiere: Well we were doing a scene in the bedroom and it’s this whole, “Dun dun DUN” scene, and you think he might be in the closet, and you open the closet, he’s not there. And then all of a sudden, he was there! And he wasn’t supposed to be there! It was JB, our prop guy, and he scared me half to death, and he disappeared. And I didn’t see him until the next day, I was looking around for him, and I didn’t see him until the next day and he was like, “Dude, I wanted to come back but I was, I felt so bad, you were so scared!” and so he definitely got me. You know you try to front like you’re all tough and them something jumps out of the closet and “AAH!” That was the end of the story.

It sounds like it was a very lively, fun set. Especially with Wes pulling pranks on you guys and everything like that. Can you tell me, just, more about working with Wes?

Hayden Panettiere: He’s a mastermind.

Anthony Anderson: I wouldn’t go that far, Hayden. He just does what he does, I’m not gonna say he’s a mastermind. [laughs] He’s good at what he does. I’m like the biggest and the baddest one on set, the loudest and...

Hayden Panettiere: Hey! Hey! Slow down I wouldn’t say that.

Anthony Anderson: Okay, you’re a close second, Hayden. And so, not unlike Hayden, Wes did the same thing to me in the exact same scene. I had no idea that that’s what he did to her, but I’m upstairs in the bedroom of the house, I’m going through the closet, and you know, nobody is supposed to be in there and I opened up the door, and I didn’t know the prop guy’s name and he jumped out wearing the mask, with a knife, and he scared me shitless to the point where I soiled myself [laughs].

Hayden Panettiere: It wreaked in the house for days.

Anthony Anderson: And then, that’s when I found out, you know, Wes really has a sense of humor and really cool to work with and for. And I didn’t know what to expect from Wes, given some of his earlier works. I grew up watching The Last House on the Left and some crazy stuff that Wes Craven did, and then you know, to get the opportunity to work with him, it’s like, “Okay, how is this guy, how is he really gonna be on set?” I was expecting this weirdo, this creep and all that. And I got a weirdo and a creep, but in a great way. Wes is the uncle, the grandfather that you want reading bedtime stories to your kids. It was just fun and interesting to see him that way and to work with him in that capacity and to be a part of a franchise like this and for it to be as successful as it is. As successful as we hope it continues to be.

Hayden Panettiere: It’s kind of like what you would expect Stephen King to be. You kind of expect him to be...

Anthony Anderson: No, he’s crazy [laughs].

Hayden Panettiere: But you expect them all to be weird. You expect them all to have that creepy aspect to them and be just kind of an odd duck. It was very interesting because Wes is very, he’s kind of shy, he’s very quiet, and then he comes out with these, all of a sudden, you get to know his sense of humor. He comes out with these amazing one liners where you’re like, “Dude that was really funny. That was really really really funny.” Because you don’t really know how to take him in the beginning, and then he comes out with these clever ones and he’s got this kind of, “Ha ha ha!” smirk on his face. But he makes you feel very at home. He makes you feel very comfortable to try different things and throws different things at you. And when you’re coming into something that’s so established like a Scream franchise, it’s sometimes the stuff outside the box you get a little bit nervous to try your own thing. You’re kind of waiting for somebody to escort you down this path and tell you exactly how it’s done. And what’s amazing, too, is the little nuances that go into making a horror movie, things that you don’t even think about doing. Like, Wes would come up and go, “Add a little jump there. Just add a little jump.” And it doesn’t feel right to you then, it feels odd and out of place, but you know that when it’s all pieced together that it’s just such a big part of having the audience come with you on this journey and really feeling that fear that the characters are feeling.

Have any of you successfully scared the living shit out of someone else?

Hayden Panettiere: I have a little brother, that’s a given. And vice versa, I got it back as he got taller than me.

Rory Culkin: Yeah, when I was younger I actually had a ghostface mask, and I stood in my sister’s room in the corner for like half an hour until she saw in the reflection, me behind her, and she freaked out and started slapping me. That’s the only story I got.

Hayden Panettiere: It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to scare someone, you never know, like you see with those Americas Funniest Home Videos, this guy pops up on the porch and the guy punches him in the face. And he’s apologizing afterward, but it’s never a good idea to scare people.

Emma Roberts: I’m not good at scaring other people but I get scared so easily, I got scared on set. My sister is ten and she scares me with stupid things like fake spiders in my bed, so I’m really used to.

Hayden Panettiere: Well you’d be the person who would go, “AH!” and the person screams and you’d go “Aaahhh!”

Emma Roberts: Yeah, yeah, that’s me.

Anthony Anderson: None for me, I grew up in an area where if you screamed, scared someone, you got your ass whooped. You know, just reflex. So you didn’t play those games.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.