Scream Sequels Made Wes Craven Miserable, Says Matthew Lillard

Scream star Matthew Lillard believes that horror icon Wes Craven was miserable making the Scream sequels. Lillard appeared in the first film in the series as Stu, one of the movie’s two Ghostface killers, alongside Skeet Ulrich’s Billy Loomis. The Scream series is set to return to cinemas when the fifth installment hits theaters in January.

Scream redefined the horror genre when it debuted back in 1996. The Scream franchise’s original film played a major role not only in launching careers of actors like Neve Campbell and Matthew Lillard, but it also helped revitalize Wes Craven’s career and the slasher genre as a whole. A near-perfect dissection of slasher tropes, Scream’s success saw the release of three sequels, all of which pushed the franchise in new directions and provided commentary on the horror genre and Hollywood as a whole. Craven served as one of the guiding creative forces behind the series until his death in 2015, and the franchise will soon transfer to the hands of Ready or Not co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett for 2022’s Scream.

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Looking back on his time working with Wes Craven, Matthew Lillard thinks the director felt increasingly hamstrung by the pressure associated with the sequels. In a recent interview with Bloody Disgusting, the actor noted that Craven seemed the most at-ease while working on Scream due to the lack of pressure against the film and that each passing sequel brought new challenges to add more iconography to the genre. Lillard said:

I think that [Craven] loved [Scream]. I believe that he enjoyed that. There was no pressure on that movie to be something special. It ended up being something iconic, but at the moment, there wasn’t the pressure. I think the other three movies, certainly four now, must’ve felt [pressure] during the production, which is interesting. Right? I mean, he went from sort of this carefree moment to, by the end, I think he was miserable. I don’t think it was a secret. He was really miserable by the time he did four, in terms of the pressure to produce an iconic film.

At the time of Scream’s release, Wes Craven had arguably entered a somewhat fallow period in his career. Twelve years removed from the creation of Freddy Krueger and almost twenty years from the debut of The Hills Have Eyes, Craven arguably had far fewer expectations on him while making Scream than any other time in his career. Matthew Lillard appeared as Stu in Scream, but also had uncredited cameo roles in Scream 2 and Scream 3, and clearly seems to think that the pressure of the Scream sequels impacted Craven.

For all of the pressure that Wes Craven may or may not have felt during his time working on the Scream franchise, it’s worth remembering that he was largely successful in his endeavors. Though many fans do agree that the quality of the Scream films varies from movie to movie, the franchise has generally maintained a level of consistency not often seen in long-running horror franchises. That means Scream remains, pound for pound, one of the strongest and most consistent slasher franchises — with much of that success rooted in Wes Craven’s continued stewardship of the series and commitment to subversion. Now, with the 2022 iteration of Scream on the way, it’s a matter of waiting to see if the franchise can keep that trend alive.

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Source: Bloody Disgusting

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