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Posted at 04:25 PM ET, 04/08/2011

Neve Campbell: A Q&A with the ‘Scream 4’ star


Neve Campbell, potential Ghostface killer again in “Scream 4.” (Phil Bray - Associated Press)
For a decade, Neve Campbell has avoided homicidal maniacs who wield butcher knives and wear masks inspired by Edvard Munch paintings. But she could only stay away for so long.

Campbell returns to the world of creepy calls and murderers who appear out of nowhere in “Scream 4,” the fourth movie in Wes Craven’s series of scary and satirical takes on the slasher genre. Once again, the actress plays Sidney Prescott, the feisty protagonist who will presumably fight off yet another sadistic joker in a Ghostface mask when the movie opens April 15.

I recently chatted with Campbell, 37, about the film, her bond with Courteney Cox, how Jada Pinkett Smith turned her into a horror fan and whether she would consider doing a “Scream 5.”

The answer to that last question requires me to post a pseudo-spoiler alert. Consider yourself warned.

When you came back to the role, did it feel familiar? Or because 10 years had gone by, did it feel new in a way?

Neve Campbell: No, it still felt familiar. I’ve played the role three times before over the last 15 years. So it wasn’t difficult to put myself in those shoes again and imagine where she might be 10 years later. I watched the films again before we did this one. Which was fun. And a little bit weird. [Laughs.] But I was glad to see that they held up. That helped a lot, obviously, to get back into the character and sort of remember what the tone of the films are.

How long had it been since you had watched the “Scream” movies?

Campbell: It had been 11 years.

I had read that you initially weren’t sure you wanted to do another “Scream” movie. Is that right?

Campbell: Yeah, I had been hesitant at first. Eleven years ago when we finished the last one, I think we all had agreed that we should probably leave it at a trilogy. I think we were lucky to have made a successful trilogy — I think it’s rare to make three films that people enjoy and have them be successful. I think, to be honest, we were right. At that time, if we had done a fourth, people would not have been interested.

But I think because so much time has gone by, I realized when I gave it some thought that it might be something people would feel nostalgic about and be willing to revisit, and probably enjoy revisiting. I also thought it might be fun for all of us to get back together.

Had you stayed in touch with Wes Craven, Courteney Cox and David Arquette and other people from the original movies? Or had you lost touch?

Campbell: We’d lost touch a bit. Time goes by, and I was living in England. . . . It’s hard to keep in touch with everybody that you’ve worked with.

Courteney and I definitely bonded on this one more than we had on the others, and we’re not really sure why we didn’t get to do that before. But it seemed like we had more time together on this film. We really enjoyed each other’s company — it was great. So we’ve been in better touch now. I love David and Courteney. They’re fantastic people. And Wes is a beautiful, beautiful man. A wonderful director.

Why did you and Courteney bond more? Did you have more screen time together in this film?

Campbell: No, we didn’t have that many scenes together. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s that on the first film it would seem that our age gap was larger at the time. I was 21 at the time, she was a bit older and maybe we had less things to relate on. But also on those films, she was spending more time with David and on this one, he had actually a lot more scenes with other characters. So he was off working, and she and I found time with each other and got to know each other better. It was really nice. She’s a wonderful woman.

There are two groups of actors in “Scream 4”: the veterans who have been in the previous films and this whole group of new, younger actors. Was it like high school, where one group sits at one table in the cafeteria and the other group sits at another table, or was it easy to merge the two?

Campbell: No, we all got along. They’re all professionals in their own right. It was funny at the read-through, though. Courteney and I were sitting next to each other, and we looked at each other and said, “We could be their mothers.” Young moms, but we could.

They’re great. As I said, they’re all professional in their own right. They’ve all had careers — Rory [Culkin] and Emma [Roberts] and Hayden [Panetierre] have all been working for a while, and they knew what they were doing. They all came in with a great amount of enthusiasm. And they’re good kids, good people. So we had fun.

Campbell: No, we all got along. They’re all professionals in their own right. It was funny at the read-through, though. Courteney and I were sitting next to each other, and we looked at each other and said, “We could be their mothers.” Young moms, but we could.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how gory is “Scream 4”?

Campbell: It’s pretty gory. I would say there’s probably more killings in this one, certainly than in the last. But there’s also lots of laughs and a lot of the self-referential, witty dialogue. So you get the humor as well. What’s great to me is the tone — this one hearkens back to the first a lot more than the third. I think the tone changed a bit in the third, and this one’s sort of gone back to the original.

You didn’t give me a number yet, though. Can you give it a gore score, or can you give a number to the first one to try to put it in context? Would you give them the same number?

Campbell: No. I would say there’s definitely more killings in this one.

Has anybody in real life ever called you and tried to do the “Do you like scary movies?” routine, just to play a joke on you?

Campbell: No, not really. People keep asking me that. I guess maybe you would assume that that happens, but no, nobody does.

You need more creative friends.

Campbell: Or maybe my friends are just really nice.

That could be it, too. So at the risk of sounding like a murderer, do you like scary movies? Do you have a favorite?

Campbell: I actually do like scary movies. I used to hate scary movies. You know, when I was young I saw “The Changeling,” with George C. Scott, which I think is the scariest movie ever made. After I saw that, I swore I would never see a horror film again. And then I started making them. And then Jada Pinkett Smith on the second “Scream” found out that I had never seen any of Wes’s films and got really angry with me and made me watch some.

So I do enjoy them. They can be good fun. But I’m not one of these people who can watch them by myself; I have to watch them with a group of people. But I would say that “The Changeling” probably is my favorite.

How old were you when you saw it?

Campbell: 13.

That makes a difference probably.

Campbell: Yeah. But it’s brilliant, that movie. It’s really scary. And you know, the proper horror buffs who know about it say yeah, that’s probably one of the scariest movies ever made.

What are your upcoming projects? I read something about you working on a film with Josh Hartnett.

Campbell: Yeah, I’m about to go to India to shoot a film with Josh that Roland Joffe is directing. He’s one of my all-time favorite directors, so I’m really excited about it.

What’s the name of the film?

Campbell: It’s called “Singularity.” And it’s shooting in both India and London. Then I am producing and developing a project called “Three Dog Night,” which hopefully, God willing, if we get the financing, we’ll be shooting in Australia in the summertime. I’m developing another project called “Rain,” but that one’s going to be awhile from now.

If the opportunity to do “Scream 5” presented itself, would you consider it? Or does this movie put an end to that as far as you’re concerned?

Campbell: Well, I can’t really talk about that because then that would indicate what happens to me in this film.

Oh dear. I swear that wasn’t where I was going with that.

Campbell: [Laughs.] No, that’s okay.

Okay, in the interest of not ruining the ending, let’s move on. Is there a particular character that you get recognized for more than any of the others? I would assume it’s Sidney Prescott, but I’m guessing people also approach you about “Party of Five.”

Campbell: It really depends on which fan it is. I get “Wild Things” a lot. That tends to be a male crowd — I wouldn’t know why. [Laughs.] And definitely “Party of Five” and “Scream.” I also get “The Company” a lot, which is nice. Probably those four projects are the ones I get the most.

So if Sidney Prescott and Julia Salinger, your character from “Party of Five,” for some reason got into a fight, who would win?

Campbell: [Laughs.] I would imagine Sidney.

I guess she’s got more experience in that regard.

Campbell: Exactly. She knows how to kick some butt.

By  |  04:25 PM ET, 04/08/2011

Categories:  Movies, Celebrities

 
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