Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and Melissa Barrera Interview

You know who’s just as excited about the new Scream movie as we are? The cast of the film! Back in October 2020 when they were filming, I got the chance to take part in a virtual set visit and while the cast couldn’t reveal any plot information about the franchise’s fifth installment, that didn’t stop them from sharing their enthusiasm for joining one of the most iconic horror series of all time.

2022’s Scream sees the return of “the big three,” Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, as well as Scream 4’s Marley Shelton. The series also welcomes a whole slew of super talented newcomers including Melissa Barrera from In the Heights, Jenna Ortega from You Season 2 and The Babysitter: Killer Queen and The Boys star Jack Quaid. We don’t know much about how they fit into the Scream 2022 plot just yet, but the trailer did reveal that Ortega’s character, Tara, has a pretty vicious looking encounter with the killer.

Hopefully we’ll get a little more information on where they’re taking the franchise leading up to the film’s January 14, 2022 release, but in true Scream fashion, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and the team are doing what they can to keep things top secret and/or super cryptic. Quaid, Ortega and Barrera emphasized just that in our roundtable-style set visit interview, but they did dig into how Woodsboro changes in the new film, their personal experiences with the Scream franchise, who earns the title “most easily scared cast member,” and more. You can check it all out for yourself in the interview below.

QUESTION: As newcomers to the franchise, how did you feel when you first got the news that you had been cast? What thoughts and emotions ran through your minds?

JACK QUAID: I was over the moon. This is incredible. It's an incredible franchise. It's iconic. I feel like it's a weird way to put it, but it's kind of the gateway drug to horror movies in a lot of ways. It's a celebration of horror. I know when I first saw Scream, it kind of led me on paths to see Halloween for the first time and Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. So it's just really cool to be a part of such an iconic thing. And that excitement still hasn't gone away. I'm still really excited to be here and meet everyone. We've all become incredibly close and there's really been no downside. I know it's a boring answer, but I'm just really happy to be here.

JENNA ORTEGA: I know for me, I never ever thought that I would be able or even given the opportunity to say that I'm a part of the Scream franchise, which is just kind of like a huge, mind blowing moment for me -- and I still almost don't believe it's real. I still walk on set or interact with the cast and I'm eternally grateful to be here. And especially as somebody who is a big fan of horror and loves to shoot horror and thinks it's the most fun genre to possibly shoot, it's everything I could ever hope for and more. So I really just am trying to take this all in because I don't know when something this cool will happen again. So it's just a matter of trying to soak in every moment that I have and just really cherish the experience.

MELISSA BARRERA: For me it was so weird because I feel like the process happened so quickly, and then all of a sudden, I got the call that I got the part. It was pandemic times -- it still is -- and you're just like, ‘Oh, I haven't worked in almost a year.’ I felt like it was a dream sequence and I didn't even digest it until the announcement, until they announced that I had been cast and then I saw the reaction and I was like, ‘Oh my god. I'm in Scream.’ It hit me in that moment, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I cannot believe it.’ I grew up watching these movies and now I'm going to be in one and it's insane. I was automatically very nervous and very stressed because I was gonna get to meet Neve and Courteney and David, and I love them so much and I admire them, and I had to be at their level because I get to share the screen with them. It was surreal. It still is. It's the most fun ever to shoot this movie. It's incredible to be with this amazing and talented group of people. I think it's the perfect cast for this new generation. It's really your dream come true. It's been a beautiful process, and I think we're all very proud of what we've done so far. It's gonna be a good movie.

Melissa and Jenna, I'm loving the fact that Woodsboro is evolving. It looks like pretty much every town in the US now, so do [your characters] bring in a bit of Latino flavor or do you kind of just mix in with everybody else?

BARRERA: We are Latinas, so the flavor lives with us and within us. We're there so, girl, you got it. I think the beauty of this is that, yes, Woodsboro is becoming like every city in the United States where it's diverse and it's beginning to look more like the real world. I think this is the most diverse cast ever in the Scream franchise, and also the first time that you have Latin representation -- and there's two of us, so that's amazing. But also, it's good to say that our characters weren't written as Latinas. They were just a female character and they chose us, so I think that's amazing. I'm very grateful to Paramount for taking a step forward in the direction of representation and diversity and inclusivity, and it's an honor. It's an honor to be a part of it.

ORTEGA: I really could just piggyback on what Melissa said because everything she said was perfect and entirely encapsulates everything that I would try to give off ... I think even on a more low key term, it's just a matter of seeing our faces and knowing and recognizing one another because we've never really seen that. We've never really had that opportunity. So I think it's more so, ‘Hey, we all fit in. This is our thing.’ I don't know that it's always a competition of, oh, who's more culturally ambiguous? And, who could stand out the most? It's more so, this is acceptable and it's fine, and it shouldn't be weird and it shouldn't be brand new. It should've been happening all along. I'm just really excited for people to see it and definitely for the Latinx community to be able to look at such an iconic franchise and see themselves.

I have a feeling the answer to this might be no, but can you tell us anything about your characters? I have a back-up!

QUAID: I’m so sorry, the answer is no. [Laughs]

ORTEGA: Thank you for prepping yourself like that. It's been so weird.

QUAID: All I can say about my character is that he looks like me. That's all I can say.

BARRERA: You know what? This movie is so much about the secrecy and the twists and the turns in the story and the reveals and anyone can be the killer, and the fans are picking up on every little thing that they can online, so we want to keep the surprise for them until they actually go and see it in the movie. Because they're so smart. Like honestly, the fans of this franchise are so smart and they're onto everything, so anything that we say can potentially spoil something. So we're like, let's just not.

The franchise has been around for almost 25 years now. What has your experience been with Ghostface in your real lives?

QUAID: I actually have a very vivid memory of being a little kid trick or treating for the first time. It was around the time when the first Scream came out and I saw so many people dressed up as Ghostface, and I remember being absolutely terrified. There was a kid with the Ghostface mask, but he had a little thing you could pump and blood would run down it, fake blood would run down the plastic and it would kind of recycle. You know what I'm talking about! And I remember being like four and so scared. So the fact that I'm in this movie now feels very weird. But obviously such an iconic horror character. It was so weird that's how it all started for me, just being absolutely scared and that hasn't changed. I'm still very, very, very terrified.

ORTEGA: I think my older brother was Ghostface one year for Halloween. Obviously I had seen the movies before, [understood] how iconic it was. I think because it was everywhere, I wasn't too terrified of it until I came onto this set. Once I came onto the set -- you know, you’re walking to the sound stage and so everyone knows what production you're in. There's gonna be signs saying Scream or Halloween or whatever you're shooting. You'll see a Scream sign with Ghostface and all of a sudden I'm like, ‘Whoa, he's here right now? Oh, it's the real thing!’ I think now it became very real all of a sudden. And because you never know who's under that mask, it's the most eerie, uneasy feeling that I get in my throat every time I see his face on our production. It's weird.

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Jenna, how was it for you moving from Babysitter to this? Especially because this has the meta quality and that has a load of references in it. Did that feel like a natural stepping stone for you?

ORETGA: Yes, it did. 100%. Definitely never in a million years would I have seen this coming nor did I ever think I would be in a Scream film, but I’m glad that I have Babysitter under my belt, one, because I'm so proud of that movie. I just think it's the most zany, hilarious thing and I had such a great time shooting it. Which was nice too, because that was my first real step into horror comedy. So to be able to jump on something so iconic and also in the same realms and has the same veins — it's funny, it's meta, it's self-aware, but then there's also some actually scary, intimidating moments. I could not be more thrilled. It's just the coolest thing in the world. I'm proud of Babysitter and I truly believe that it kind of helped me get in the mindset to somewhat prepare myself for this project.

The filmmakers said some of the cast members are upset because they're not revealing who Ghostface is to the cast. Is it driving you crazy?

BARRERA: Honestly, it's fun.

ORETGA: Yeah, it's fun. But then it isn't. No, I mean, I say that sarcastically. It is extremely fun. It definitely keeps everybody on their toes, but it's also just that weird moment of, you're surrounded by actors, so literally anybody could be lying. So it's like, ‘Oh, hi. Do you know who the killer is?’ ‘Do you?’ It's great because we all get along so well, but then as soon as you get on that topic, everybody turns so awkward and starts to isolate themselves. So you could tell that it's a sensitive topic and you shouldn't really go there, but I think people are kind of trying to see their way through the crowd and nobody wants to give anything, which is a really fine dynamic.

QUAID: Yeah, we really have stayed away from that topic at this point now. I don't think anyone's really brought it up. But we've all gotten so incredibly close kind of right away. I think one of the biggest reasons for that is because due to COVID, we can't really go anywhere else and so we're in the hotel. We spend a lot of nights playing board games, some of which involve deception and lying. So what I've realized is I'm working with a bunch of liars. A lot of very good liars. So I have no clue.

Speaking of the pandemic, so you are limited to the hotel? You can't really do much because you want to stay safe for everybody?

BARRERA: Yeah. It's an honor code that we're on. We have a little room in the hotel that has a pool table and bean bags and a projector, and we spend a lot of our time having fun there and connecting. And honestly, it's been amazing because it's been like a summer camp kind of experience where we've bonded so much more than we would've if this were regular times and everyone was kind of doing their thing. So it's really created a very family atmosphere where we've gotten so close, and it's a beautiful thing.

Have you been talking to the legacy cast members, Neve and David and Courteney, about the previous films and their experiences making them?

ORTEGA: They’ve definitely offered their own stories and any conversation that we've had, they've been the one to bring it up. I know I'm nervous to pry because I'm like, ‘Oh my god, I've literally been studying these films and now they're in front of me and I don't want to be that annoying,’ like, ‘Oh, so what was it like when you shot this?’ But I think it's kind of organically come up in conversation where they might reference a past experience on set or just their experiences. But I know I personally haven't really dug into that category. It's just more so silently worshiping their presence and just being so grateful to be around them.

BARRERA: Being able to get to know them as people is really so great to me. And I think the common thread and what you can tell of them coming back and coming back again to do the next one is that they all love this franchise so much. So us, as a new generation coming in, we're coming in to something that we know we already love because the month and a half that we've been here has already been incredible. But we know that if we were lucky to continue, it would be something that is truly special, and that it has been special for them. For them, it represents a huge step in their careers. It's incredible to now be coming in and acting with these world class actors that are so sweet and so generous and loving and kind of trying to be up to their level and make them proud.

QUAID: Yeah, silently worshiping their presence is a really good way to put it, as Jenna said. In my case, not so silently. I definitely am that guy being like, ‘Remember that scene where you did the thing?’ But they've all just been, like Melissa said, so incredibly sweet and generous and kind and just cool, and I respect them all so much. It's so cool to be around them.

The death scenes are quite iconic in this franchise. Is there one that sticks out to you that really blew you away or that you recall while you're on set?

BARRERA: The first, the Drew Barrymore scene is incredible. I also think about the garage scene with Tatum, Rose McGowan. Her in the garage door. Such memorable scenes -- and we have some in this movie. I think people are going to be happy.

In addition to the original Scream movies, did Tyler and Matt recommend that you watch any other horror movies to prep for this?

ORTEGA: They gave us a list.

QUAID: They gave us a list, yeah. I feel like saying anything on the list might give something away. I don't know, I don't know. [Laughs]

ORTEGA: I don't know. I mean, you worry me when you say that. I would say they definitely told us to watch Halloween, Prom Night. Just other films that have mysterious, unknown killers. Just kind of in that vein.

QUAID: I'm so sorry I made you nervous, Jenna, about that. [Laughs]

ORTEGA: I was gonna say something, but then I was like, ‘He may be on to something. Hold on.’

QUAID: I'm never onto something. Don't worry about it.

Who would you say is the most easily scared on set?

QUAID: I don't know. Maybe me? I'm not sure. Everyone's kind of pretty brave so far, I think.

ORTEGA: I’m gonna say Jasmine [Savoy Brown], and I only say Jasmine just because she's such an emotionally available person. She's very clear in what she's feeling and she's very, not confrontational, but she's very great at communicating. So I feel like if she's scared or she's uneasy, she's gonna make it very known and it's gonna be funny and enjoyable because she's just the sweetest person ever. But she definitely is very expressive.

BARRERA: Yeah, I agree.

QUAID: I'm also going to say Dylan [Minnette]. I can't say why, but I feel like -- I haven't scared him. But I feel like if I were to jump out of a corner, I would get a nice reaction.

Are you guys fans of Ready or Not?

QUAID: That movie's incredible. It's so good. Perfect.

ORTEGA: I loved it. I loved it. The score, the cinematography, the performances. It's all just top notch. They killed that. They killed that. I had so much fun watching that.

BARRERA: I actually met with them before watching the movie, and once I met them -- because I never like to get my hopes up. Especially for something like Scream. They were like, ‘They’re seeing all these actresses. You're gonna meet with them,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh, I don't want to fall in love with the movie again if I watch it and I don't want to be too emotionally attached to it yet,’ so I met them and then I was like, ‘Oh my god, I need to work with these guys,’ and I saw Ready or Not that afternoon and I was like, ‘Oh my god." The finale of Ready or Not, it's a testament to them, their craft, and how good they are at the turns and the twists and surprising the audience. I was so surprised by the ending. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can't believe that just happened.’ I'm a huge fan of them. And they're so sweet, such a good team to work with and to work alongside with, and to just be on set with because they create such a nice environment. It's been truly a beautiful experience since the beginning with them.

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Perri Nemiroff (2767 Articles Published)

Perri Nemiroff has been part of the Collider team since 2012. She co-hosts Collider FYC, The Witching Hour and hosts the interview series, Collider Ladies Night. Perri's a proud graduate of Columbia University's Film MFA program and member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Perri splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, but devotes every waking hour to her cat, Deputy Dewey.

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