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  • Writer's pictureMichael Lee Simpson


After six Scream movies, a throwback to the cast that started it all and what they’re doing today.

When Scream was released in the winter of ‘96, a door swung open in Hollywood, flooding the hills with blood and tumbling bars of cinematic gold. Along for the ride was a talented ensemble; young, attractive, and wisely cast, all dragged mercilessly into the heinous Woodsboro Murders.

The performances thrived under Wes Craven’s direction and a terrifying script penned by Kevin Williamson. There was the strong, surviving protagonist played by Neve Campbell and Friends superstar Courteney Cox as the ambitious, fast-talking news reporter, Gale Weathers. Her love interest, police officer Dewey Riley, was a fascinating dynamic because of David Arquette, given that Cox and Arquette became a couple during filming. Budding talent Rose McGowan stepped into the role of Tatum, Dewey’s sister, and Sidney’s best friend. Cotton Weary, the falsely accused murderer portrayed by Liev Schreiber, proved to be an integral part of the narrative, as did film buff Randy Meeks, which Jamie Kennedy will forever be known for. The first Ghostface victim—whose voice belongs to Roger L. Jackson—was Casey Becker, shocking audiences because the role belonged to the already-famous Drew Barrymore. And, of course, Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard made convincing psychopathic killers as Billy and Stu.

For some, Scream jump-started their careers as that big break; for others, it added to an established body of work, unleashing them into the horror stratosphere. Here’s the main cast of the original Scream, a look at their characters, careers, and where they are now.

Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott)

Like Laurie Strode in Halloween and Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sidney Prescott is the “final girl” of the Scream franchise. Campbell has walked Prescott through ever-evolving character arcs—from high school and college student to crisis counselor and bestselling author—and the series wouldn’t be the same without her. Ghostface’s obsession with her demise, which often traces back to her slayed mother, Maureen Prescott, keeps the slashing alive.

In the same year, Campbell also starred in The Canterville Ghost and The Craft before moving on to 90s cult classics Wild Things and 54, taking sporadic breaks from acting in between reprising the Sidney character. She starred in five Scream movies—the last being Scream V. Unfortunately, she’s not in Scream VI due to salary disputes. In 2018, she joined the House of Cards cast as Leann Harvey for the final season, the 2020 Disney+ drama Clouds based on the real-life story of Zach Sobiech, and played Maggie McPherson in the Netflix series, The Lincoln Lawyer.

Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers)

Courteney Cox has been in six Scream movies and counting as reporter and author Gale Weathers. On top of a relentless obsession to cover the current murder story, her on-and-off romance with Dewey has become a highlight of each movie.

Cox, who could’ve been pigeonholed as a sitcom actress, entered the Scream world while Friends was in its second season. Over the years, she has appeared in movies and shows like The Longest Yard, Dirt, Cougar Town, Modern Family, and Stranger Things.

Soon, she will portray real-life motivational speaker Brittany Wagner in the Netflix series, Last Chance U.

David Arquette (Dwight 'Dewey' Riley)

It’s hard to imagine anyone else as the gentle, protective Sheriff’s deputy Dewey Riley. Arquette won the Teen Choice Award and two Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for the character, appearing in five Scream films before Dewey’s tragic death in the fifth installment.

Motivated by Ready to Rumble in 2000, Arquette embarked on a 21-year professional wrestling career, fighting, among a string of bulky icons, Nick Gage and Randy Orton. He reigned as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and surfaced in an episode of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood while maintaining steady work in film and television, including Dream with the Fishes, Ravenous, Bone Tomahawk with Kurt Russell, and the recent Creepshow series. Arquette received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for producing Celebrity Name Game and voiced Skully on Jake and the Never Land Pirates for the Disney Channel. In 2017, he co-starred in the Sigmund and the Sea Monsters reboot as Captain Barnabus. We’ll see him next in the drama series Mrs. Davis.

Liev Schreiber (Cotton Weary)

First, the imprisoned scapegoat for Maureen Prescott’s murder, and then a talk show host, the fame-hungry Cotton Weary has sludged through thick and thin. Once Weary’s brutal death came in Scream 3, fans were sad to see him go.

Schreiber’s talent reaches far beyond the Scream movies. He performed in Cymbeline, Hamlet, and Macbeth as a Broadway stage actor. In recent years, he’s taken roles in major productions such as the crime lord Kingpin in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Rolland Pollard in Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York, and German businessman Otto Frank in the upcoming Disney+ miniseries, A Small Light.

Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis)

Skeet Ulrich as the cold, psychotic Billy Loomis, makes one of the most unpredictable villains of our time. When Sam Carpenter’s (Melissa Barrera) hallucinations in Scream V brought him back to the screen, fans were overflowing with excitement.

Throughout the years, Ulrich has branched out to various roles in film and TV, including As Good as it Gets, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: LA, and Robot Chicken. In 2017, he co-starred in the horror film Escape Room with Sean Young, the comedy-drama Austin Found with Craig Robinson, and played Forsythe Pendleton Jones II in The CW Archie comic book-inspired series Riverdale until 2021. Ultrich recently completed the action-adventure drama Supercell alongside Alec Baldwin and a series called Parish which will stream later this year.

Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher)

As Billy’s partner in crime, Stu Macher also ranks among the most ruthless killers under the Ghostface mask. Not because he was one of the first, but because there was no motive, which few in all six movies can say. Lillard embodied Stu like an unstrung violin, eccentric, vicious, and over-the-top, peaking during a stab session with Billy in Sidney’s kitchen.

The versatile actor is perhaps more well-known for Shaggy Rogers, acting and voicing in several live-action films and animated series Scooby-Doo projects. He guest-starred on House, Twin Peaks, Good Girls, Supernatural, and American Dad! Expanding into filmmaking, Lillard directed the short film, Come Home Soon and Fat Kid Rules the World. Next on the horizon: Scooby-Doo! And the Mystery Pups and a film adaptation of the video game franchise, Five Nights at Freddy's.

Drew Barrymore (Casey Becker)

Casey Becker was onscreen for twelve minutes before being gutted like a fish—a homage to Janet Leigh’s early demise in Psycho. Barrymore was initially supposed to play Sidney Prescott but couldn’t commit due to other projects.

As one of the better-known Scream cast members, having risen to child stardom in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and receiving Golden Globe Award nominations for Irreconcilable Differences and Guncrazy, her character’s gory slaying set the tone for the rest of the film. Barrymore became a dramatic actress and America’s girl next door throughout the 90s and 2000s, including roles in Never Been Kissed, Donnie Darko, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Blended opposite Adam Sandler. More recently, she won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for Grey Gardens and played Sheila Hammond in the Santa Clarita Diet Netflix series. Now she hosts her own syndicated talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show.

Jamie Kennedy (Randy Meeks)

The in-depth knowledge of Randy, the know-it-all expert on movies played by Jamie Kennedy, is almost a necessity for the series. He was killed in Scream 2 but appeared in Scream 3 via found video footage. Still, decades later, his voice explaining the "rules" of a horror movie has stayed with us.

Kennedy began as an extra on Dead Poets Society and made further breakthroughs in Dr. Dolittle 2, Malibu's Most Wanted, and The Cleveland Show. The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, a reality show where Kennedy pulls pranks on candid camera, ran for three seasons and was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Variety Series at the BET Comedy Awards. He currently tours as a standup comedian and hosts the weekly podcast HATE TO BREAK IT TO YA.

Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan)

Arguably in the Scream Hall of Fame for the most brutal death, Tatum’s head was crushed by a garage door. McGowan, emerging from worldwide recognition after The Doom Generation, appeared alongside Matthew Lillard as Stu’s unsuspecting girlfriend.

She then played mysterious, alluring characters in Southie, Going All the Way, and Devil’s Flesh, which led to her posing as the face of Bebe in the late 90s. Once cast as telekinetic witch Paige Matthews in Charmed, McGowan took more mainstream parts, firing bullets as the machine-gun-legged stripper in Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse–Planet Terror, casting spells as Marique in Conan the Barbarian, and the recurring role of Teddy in Nip/Tuck. As a women’s rights activist, McGowan wrote the tell-all memoir Brave and became a changing force in the #MeToo movement.

Roger L. Jackson (Ghostface’s voice)

It’s easy to forget the one constant about Ghostface—and one of the scariest—is that menacing voice over the phone. Every time we hear “What’s your favorite scary movie?”—that’s Jackson on the other end of the line. He’s been a powerful unseen entity for the franchise, voicing Ghostface in every Scream movie and five Scream: The TV Series episodes.

Also known for voicing Mojo, the mad scientist anthropomorphic chimpanzee on The Powerpuff Girls, Jackson’s work includes various genres and mediums, including video games Final Fantasy X-2, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and the computer-animated horror comedy, Monster Island.

-Entertainment Weekly


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