For nearly a year now, there have been rumors surrounding the production of Scream 4, the latest installment in the blockbuster horror franchise, mostly involving screenwriter Kevin Williamson’s involvement. Last summer, there were reports that Williamson was no longer participating in the production of the film and had been replaced by Scream 3 screenwriter Ehren Kruger. (Director Wes Craven, and stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette also all returned for film.) Now, with Scream 4 hitting theaters on April 15, Williamson talks to EW about what really went down, and the future of the Scream series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you remember coming up with the premise for Scream 4 and the new trilogy?
KEVIN WILLIAMSON: One day I’m just sitting around and I go, “Oh wait – I think – oh my God, I think I have it.” And then I started thinking about Scream 4. And I kinda worked it all out and what the story was and who generates the plot. I had written this treatment for Scream 3 that was not what they filmed. It was a return to Woodsboro. Scream 3 was supposed to take place in Woodsboro. You know how they’re making a movie in Hollywood? I had an entire film crew going to Woodsboro. So then I always wanted to go back to Woodsboro. Once I figured out where Sidney was today, who dies and who doesn’t, I said, “Okay maybe now I can have a conversation with Bob [Weinstein, producer and co-chairman of Dimension Films].” I called him up and I pitched him. Of course, he just heard Scream 4. [Laughs] Literally, after I pitched the first scene, I think he just stopped listening and was just like, “Write it, write it, write it.”
Obviously there were some bumps in the road.
There might have been a few. [Laughs]
There were all these rumors that you were fired from Scream 4. What happened?
Oh, I got in a big fight with Bob. God love him. I’ve worked with the man for 16 years out of my 16-year career. We get in some fights. We’re a very dysfunctional family over there at the Weinstein Co. We got into a massive fight creatively and we hugged it out and then we moved on.
Can you allude to what the struggle was about?
Oh just, you know – I felt strongly about this and he felt strongly about that and then I did this and that wasn’t right. Everyone was second-guessing everything because everyone wanted it to be so perfect. That’s exactly what happened. The one thing that Bob and I connect on very basically, why we’ve worked successfully together for 16 years, is we’re passionate. And no one is more passionate than Bob Weinstein. And it is that passion that allows you to make a movie where he will believe in you and trust in you and it’s also that passion that can cause fights and cause struggle. For 16 years, he’s kept me gainfully employed. I love him. Yes, we got into the fight, but then the big clincher came: Contractually, I had signed on to do The Vampire Diaries [Williamson’s series for The CW]. You know, the little thing called first and second position? I was in first position to do Vamprie Diaries and second position to do Scream 4. So guess what? It was a contractual thing. Warner Bros called up and they said, “Dude where are you? You have a show that’s on the air – where are you?” I did double duty as much as I could but The Vampire Diaries was also very important to me.
So it was basically a contractual parting of ways?
Yeah, but then one blog got a hold of it. It’s fine. What are you going to say? Yeah we got into a massive fight, but at the same time the fight ended and we hugged it out and we continued forward and we tried to make the best movie possible. But it was also very raw and sensitive.
When did you and Bob reconcile?
Oh, I haven’t talked to him yet.
How do you know if he’s over it?
Oh please! Oh come on, it’s Bob. It’s fine!
I think the Scream fans felt like Kevin Williamson had disowned or disavowed Scream 4. That doesn’t seem to be the case?
Scream is so special to me I’m never going to disavow it.
So you’re on board with Scream 4 despite not having seen it yet?
I’m very supportive of the film and I hope everybody likes it. Not for a second would I dare do that to Wes and Neve and Courteney and David and Bob Weinstein, who made my career. The reality is I did I worked very hard on the film. I did my darndnest to try and make a really good movie. I gave it my all. I wrote everything I thought I could write. Then they had to film it and I had to get back to The Vampire Diaires. So I think I really contributed. I hope it all turns out! My fingers are crossed!
Would you want to do a Scream 5?
Let’s just get through Scream 4! If people really respond to the film, then yes, there are more twists and turns.
For more on the battle over Scream 4 plus a look back at the original Scream with memories from Arquette, Cox, Campbell and Drew Barrymore, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.