As you may have gathered from our many Scream-related posts this week, Scream 4 comes out on Friday. Those who celebrate the return of ’90s nostalgia, rejoice! But there has been a dark side to this most joyous of reunions, and I’m not talking about blood-soaked stabbings: Even though the creative team behind Scream 4 has been traditionally hush hush about the plot of the film itself, what HAS been emerging is that screenwriter Kevin Williamson and Dimension Films producer Bob Weinstein had a falling-out of some sort during the its creation. Weirdly, though, the details are, shall we say, a bit underdeveloped. What gives, guys? Let’s take a look at the evidence:
It begins with the New York Times. In his article “Rrrring! Hello, Sidney? It’s Happening Again!”, Jonah Weiner states that according to Williamson, Weinstein had “expressed an interest in revisiting Scream for the last ten years,” but that Williamson (writer of I Know What You Did Last Summer and creator of both Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries) was “unenthusiastic.” “Unenthusiastic” kind of sounds like a delicate way of saying “Fuck no, leave me alone,” but that would be putting words in people’s mouths, so let’s just take it for what it is: Williamson wasn’t interested in continuing. This alone would be grounds for some uncomfortableness, given that when someone keeps bugging you about something you yourself consider finished, it gets annoying. The trilogy was complete; end of story. Time to put away the Ghostface mask and move on.
Suddenly, though, according to “Oh the Horror,” Entertainment Weekly’s feature on Scream 4 in this week’s issue, Williamson had a brainwave while on the set of The Vampire Diaries in 2009 and was ready to head back to Woodsboro– literally. A scrapped idea for the third film had involved Sidney going back to her hometown, which at the time of the film’s writing, didn’t seem like the right move. Now, though, ten years later? Perfect. Says Williamson, “After I pitched the first scene, [Weinstein] stopped listening and was just like, ‘Write it, write it, write it.” Weinstein, for his part, was “incredibly excited,” and said it was “worth the wait.”
By March 2010, the project had been greenlit, but things weren’t going as smoothly as everyone had hoped: EW reports that Williamson and Weinstein hadn’t yet come to an agreement on the script. Williamson manages to spin it positively, telling EW that “Everyone was second-guessing everything, because everyone wanted it to be so perfect.” After months of escalation, though, things came to a head. Says Williamson: “Oh, I got in a big fight with Bob. We got into a massive fight creatively.” There’s a more in-depth interview with the screenwriter on EW’s website– the interview from which they gathered the sound bytes for the article in the print publication– that elaborates on this fight, wherein Williamson goes on to say that it was mostly about deadlines: “Contractually, I had signed on to do The Vampire Diaries. You know, the little thing called first and second position? I was in first position to do Vampire 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.” And so Williamson left the project, and Weinstein brought in Ehren Kruger, who had previously penned the third Scream film based on Williamson’s story idea, to finish the script.