posted a BLOG item 4 months ago
In 1996 Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson brought us Scream and the rules of the slasher genre were rewritten. The rest as they say is history. Scream was a breath of fresh air in a genre that at that point in time was struggling for breath.
I’m a sucker for movie trivia, especially stuff which deals with ‘what could have been’. So I’m not going to be doing any reviews of the four films, instead I’m going to take a look at the different versions of each film we could have ended up with. You see Williamson had many ideas for Scream and it’s sequels and not all of them made it to the screen…
Out of all of the films in the series Scream went through the least amount of changes on it’s journey from script to screen. However…once upon a time before Woodsboro it was gonna be set in the south. Texas. Yep. Check this out….Gale Weathers was originally Gayle Storm (not very subtle, ha ha), instead of Randy we had Jed and finally Riley (instead of Dewey). Other than names the characters and their functions in the story remained pretty much intact. Although there are some slight differences in the structure of the scenes. For example Casey does not unmask the killer before he death. Instead it’s Tatum, before uttering her final words “You?” and then being stabbed to death instead of getting caught in the garage door. Personally I felt it worked better in the film. Another example is the low body count. Over an hour would have passed without a death. Therefore the Mr Himbry scene was written at the last minute so the pace of the film wouldn’t drag.
Now with the sequel there are many differences from script to screen. Originally everything was a bit too convenient. Dewey was a guard at Windsor college, so he could always keep an eye on Sid. Randy was Gale’s camera man, and Joel, Gale’s camera man in the film was a friend of Sid’s in the script.
The biggest change though was the identity of the killers. Scream 2, had the script not leaked during filming, would have been nuts. Not one, not two, not even three…yep…there would have been FOUR killers! The original ending of the film revealed that Derek, Hallie, and Mrs Loomis were working together to kill Sid. The former two riffing off Natural Born Killers. Only for the trio to end up turning on one another leaving Sid and Gale standing on the stage. Now here is where it gets crazy. Cotton arrives, having lent a helping hand to Sid and while he’s hugging Gale he then STABS her in the back and tosses her into the music pit then chases after Sid. A chase/fight scene takes place, before both Sid and Cotton get a few stabs in against each other and then drop to the floor. The film would ended with Sid, Gale and Cotton’s fates up in the air until Scream 3. Can you imagine how nuts that would have been?
Other stuff that was different in the first draft included Dewey being killed. Mickey not being a killer but falling victim to two of them as he ends up stuck in a Ghostface sandwich! Gale getting a call from the killer and Cici originally just being thrown through a window and then not seen until Cid stumbles across her body ala Casey in Scream, strung up from a tree and gutted.
Personally I loved Scream 2 the way it was but I would have loved to have seen how that darker ending would have played out in future instalments.
Ah. Scream 3. What could have been had Kevin Williamson written the film? For years many fans have asked that question and now…over a decade later we finally have some answers.
Scream 3 would have been ambitious and most certainly would have alienated half the fan base. Either people would love it or they’d call bullshit. And to explain why…I’ll hand you over to Wes and Kevin.
“The original script that Kevin had involved a high school student, the daughter of the principal, who was actually leading a band of kids that were killing students. And we got the first draft and just moments after that we got the news of Columbine and just dropped it like a hot potato.” Wes Craven.
And here’s what Kevin revealed just this past week.
“In my original story for Scream 3 [Ehren Kruger was brought in to write the threequel after Williamson exited], the killers were basically a fanclub of Woodsboro kids that had formed because of Stab 1 and Stab 2. They were all doing the killings and the big surprise of the movie was when Sidney walked into the house after Ghostface had killed everyone… and they all rose up. None of them were actually dead and they’d planned the whole thing…The motive was their quest for fame, so I just placed that into one character with Scream 4.They were trying to top [Sidney's] Woodsboro story so they could be the legacy of their hometown. All those ideas metamorphosed into The Following.”
Very cool huh? Minds blown. Am I right? Sure, people would be pissed off but you gotta hand it to him I doubt no one would have seen it coming AND it would have been different enough from the first two to go some ways to actually carving out a true trilogy.
Now…there’s a myth and it’s a total myth that Scream 4 was heavily re-written by Ehren Kruger. Not so. Yes, Kruger was brought in to help out but that was it. Very little about Kev Williamson’s Scream 4 was changed. The plot, the characters and most of the dialogue were all Kevin and I think that’s obvious when you watch the film.
There was one sequence added to the film which Kevin did not write and that is the Stab-a-thon barn sequence, on which Kruger AND Wes both contributed. That’s it. It’s also one of the best scenes in the film.
However, there were MANY drafts of Scream 4 which sadly are not available to view online but we can get an idea of what could have been from quotes and other official material.
For a start there was once Weathers Jr….”“They (Gale and Dewey)had a kid in the first couple of drafts. Then we just decided that was gonna make things impossible shooting and there really wasn’t a thing for the kid to be doing. Courteney was always showing up at crime scenes with a baby. This is not gonna work!” Wes Craven
Probably a good idea that got the boot. Would you really be bringing your infant to a crime scene? Then again…this is Gale Weathers we are talking about.
Sid was the opening victim at one stage of the writing process. Only…she wouldn’t have died.
“Then there was a two-year gap while she recovered,…Bob [Weinstein] felt that would kind of slow the pace of the story and thought it would maybe be better to go with young characters.” Wes Craven
Other tidbits that didn’t make it to the screen but appeared in one draft or another at some point included a friend of Trevor, Jill and Kirby’s named Jarod who had died in a mysterious car crash a year before the current slate of killings, somehow it would have tied into what was happening during the events of Scream 4.
Rebecca, Sid’s publicist in the film, was a ‘Cute, vain, over-achieveing Woodsboro student. Editor in Chief of the school paper. A future Gale Weathers’ according to the original casting sides. That character would later be merged with another to create the Rebecca we got on screen.
It also appears that Charlie Walker was much more like the Robbie Mercer character in one of the first drafts.
Now I should point out that a supposed DRAFT of Scream 4 leaked last year that had some changes from the film but it was a fan written fake. The one I mean is the one in which Jill gets away with it. Nah. It’s a fake. Hopefully one day some of the earlier drafts will appear.
So there you have it. I loved Scream 4, still it’s always cool to wonder ‘what if?’ regarding all of the above.
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