SCREAM VI: Check Out Our Exclusive Interview With Directors Tyler Gillett And Matt Bettinelli-Olpin

Scream VI directors Tyler Gillet and Matt Bettinelli Olpin discuss Ghostface's new look, Jenna Ortega's bigger role, taking advantage of that New York City setting, and much more in this exclusive interview!

Ghostface is more terrifying than ever and on a rampage in the Big Apple in Scream VI. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect in the smash hit thriller from Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group that has earned more than $167 million worldwide, and the movie is now available on Digital platforms and Paramount+. 

In the movie, the four survivors from the most recent Woodsboro Ghostface killings have moved to New York City for a fresh start. Just as they begin to feel a sense of normalcy, they receive that infamous call from a Ghostface who is more brutal and relentless than ever and will stop at nothing to hunt them down.

Last month, we sat down for a conversation with Scream VI directors Tyler Gillet and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin to discuss their return to the horror franchise after helming 2022's hit revival, Scream

Talking in detail about the evolution of Ghostface's mask in this movie, the filmmakers also reveal whether any familiar landmarks were considered for this New York-based sequel and open up on the roles played by Jenna Ortega and Hayden Panettiere. Elsewhere, they reflect on killing David Arquette's Dewey and ponder the possibility of Ghostface becoming a force for good! 

We also get an update on their untitled Universal Monster Movie starring Melissa Barrera, and you can check out all that and more in the player below. 

I have to start by saying how much I loved the aesthetic of the older Ghostface masks but beyond the role they play in the movie’s story, where did the inspiration come from to use that visual?

Gillett: I mean, it’s a handful of things. I think we knew this far into the franchise, franchises typically make a change like that and take a risk with the elements that are most iconic. It felt like six in, we had to take that chance. Kudos to James and Guy and the path this script takes as there was an actual reason for it to look that way. We’re telling a story in a lineage that’s also very much about that lineage as we very specifically explore the consequences of those other movies and how they’ve tracked through the lives of all these characters. That gave the mask a real reason to look the way it looks. I

think, from there, you just give control over to the super-talented people you’ve brought on like Avery [Plewes] and her team. They had the directive of making those masks always look scary first and foremost and never so different that it doesn’t feel like Ghostface. They needed to feel different enough to be memorable and when you see that cracked mask, you know the person wearing it means business. We’re just so pleased. I remember seeing tests in prep and being blown away as the mask was designed. 

I thought you did a great job with the New York setting, but did you ever consider having some of these kills take place at some of the bigger landmarks, unleashing Ghostface on the Statue of Liberty or Times Square, for example?

Bettinelli-Olpin: [Laughs] I mean, I don’t think we had the budget to tell that story.

Gillett: Right [Laughs].

Bettinelli-Olpin: Those setpieces didn’t change much from the early drafts. They were the tentpoles of the script in a lot of ways and one of the things we thought was so cool about them, and about the script in general, was the New York setting. We really took this to heart in pre-production by asking, ‘How do we make this a New York story that’s not like the Hitchcock version.’ We love Hitchcock, but we’re not going to the top of the Statue of Liberty because, again, it’s not an option. So, how could we make this feel lived in with people who actually live in New York and have just moved there and started exploring the city? So, it’s the bodegas and apartments and that kind of vibe with the people of New York. Would it be fun? Look, maybe Scream 7 or 8, Ghostface is on top of the Empire State Building [Laughs].

Jenna Ortega gets a much bigger role in this film, so what would you say about how the film benefitted from having more Tara, particularly with her coming off the success of Wednesday

Gillett: I mean, it was a thrill. We knew the first minute of shooting with her on Scream 5 that she was something special. It’s just hard to be around her and not feel that. The running joke we had on this movie and that one is that Jenna is just built different [Laughs]. We loved her role in the previous movie but knew there was a tonne more to give her in 6 and also knew she would handle it like a pro. For us, the goal was to make sure the ensemble, Jenna included, all had more to do in this movie. I think we not only fell in love with working with those people but genuinely fell in love with their characters while making Scream 5. It felt like such an opportunity to get to know them better in this movie and think they did such a great job in this one. 

David Arquette has had nothing but good things to say about you guys and this movie, but do you have any regrets about dispatching Dewey or is it important that no one is safe in this franchise? 

Bettinelli-Olpin: There are two [upset fans] right here! [Laughs] I think a lot of it is subverting expectations and if you look at the two we’ve made, they don’t have the same outcome in the second one. We’ve been hearing the phrase ‘plot armour’ a lot lately, but it’s that fun idea of you are or aren’t safe. Dewey, for us, in the previous ones was the character you have the most fun with as you’ve seen him escape death three or four times. When we first read the script for Scream 5, the scene where he dies was just so moving and so powerful because you’re not expecting it and it’s treated with a lot of reverence and respect.

When we were with David shooting that in Wilmington, the gravitas he brought to the Dewey character in Scream 5…I think it was more than we could have hoped for and it made that scene so hard. The caricature of Dewey was stripped away a little and even though there was always such a humanity to him - which is why we all love him - seeing that weight just made it so powerful. Man, it’s hard to kill one of your favourite characters. It was really nice of David to say those nice things and he reached out to us which was really special. It meant a lot. 

Talking of legacy characters, Kirby’s return was huge for Scream 4 fans, but what did the process of bringing Hayden Panettiere back look like for you and was she always who you wanted to bring back for this movie? 

Gillett: It was a very early idea. We wanted to bring her back in 5 and had actually spoken with her and had a great conversation. She was super thrilled and wanted to come back and be involved. It just felt to us that to bring her back for 5 wouldn’t have done the character justice. It would have been fan-service and just a cameo. Given how beloved Kirby is and how talented Hayden is, if you can deploy that, you want to do it properly. James and Guy always had a vision for bringing her back in a more consequential way in 6 and it was everything you dreamed it would be.

She’s an absolute pro. It felt like being on set with any of those legacy characters where you’re at work with one of the greats and someone you’ve idolised. It was so cool to watch her bring Kirby back to life, particularly 10 years later. One of the things that was so fun is being dropped into a character’s life and story at really interesting and consequential moments and it’s fun to see that and how she comes back. Hayden is just a joy. 

Sam’s journey is so compelling and we do see her suit up as Ghostface in the final act; do you think she’s potentially heading down a dark path or could she even be a Ghostface who’s an anti-hero or force for good? 

Bettinelli-Olpin: I like that! Ghostface as a force for good? We don’t know where it’s heading, but I love the idea of Ghostface, Caped Crusader. 

While I have you all, I know the trades have talked about a new monster movie you’re developing for Universal with Melissa Barrera, so is there anything you guys can tease about those plans?

Gillett: I think the tease is that we’re in Ireland prepping it right now [Laughs]. It is hopefully gonna get up and shooting in the next few week. I mean, look, getting to work with Melissa again is a dream. She’s become a dear, dear friend over the last few years and if we could work with her on everything, we would. This is a fun movie. It has a lot of the energy people have come to associate our work with. It’s funny, it’s fun, and it’s a bloodbath. We’re excited to share more about it. 

Scream VI is now available on Digital platforms and Paramount+ and arrives on 4K Ultra HD SteelBook, on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on July 11

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