‘Scream’s’ All-Star Cast Throughout the Years
| LAST UPDATE 05/21/2023
Over 25 years and 5 sequels later, the Scream franchise casts some of the best names in Hollywood. Although most of them are quick to fall victim to Ghostface, we are always intrigued by the cameo-kill list...
Starring as Sidney Prescott in five of the franchise's installments, Neve Campbell was basically the poster child for horror movies. However, she "had no idea [how big it'd be]" when it was first released in 1996.
"We knew it was a good script, and we knew Wes Craven was amazing, but when we started, we were shooting in Santa Rosa — none of us really had names yet," she told Good Morning America. However, after Scream was released, it became the highest-grossing slasher film until Halloween in 2018.
Courteney Cox got range! From her iconic role as Gale Weathers in the slasher film franchise to her other legendary role as Monica Geller in the more family-friendly series Friends, Cox can do it all. The actress is the only cast member to have appeared in all six consecutive movies.
Although she's been in all six films, Cox recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly that a particular scene in Scream VI was her favorite to shoot! "It was my favorite scene that I've ever had in a Scream movie because I got to really fight with Ghostface," she said. "It was very physical."
Although Dewey Riley was killed off of the franchise in 2022, David Arquette played his iconic role in the first five horrors films - and we loved every second of it! Despite facing several close deaths against Ghostface's wrath, he managed to pull through until he was finally cut in Scream 5.
"I love the franchise," he told Us in an interview. "I love being an audience member watching it and laughing and being scared." And let's not forget one of the greatest parts of his Scream career: he met his now ex-wife Courteney Cox while filming the series' first movie in 1996! The two were married for 14 years.
As far as fan favorites go, Skeet Ulrich's character Billy Loomis was a crowd favorite! The actor played Sidney's boyfriend in the original Scream but didn't particularly play the ideal boyfriend. In the film, we find out that he and Stu actually killed Sidney's mom for having an affair with his father.
So clearly, that's not a picture-perfect relationship. Ulrich was one of Woodsboro's main characters in the first film but didn't come back to the big screen until decades later, when he reprised his role in 2022, and now again in the franchise's latest installment.
Many of these actors have the horror franchise to thank for their careers, but Drew Barrymore was already on the Hollywood horizon. Neve Campbell told Good Morning America, "none of us were famous except for Drew Barrymore" when they shot Scream.
She may not have been a Charlie's angel quite yet, but Barrymore landed the role of Casey in the franchise's first film. The movie's opening scene sees Barrymore on the phone being asked by an anonymous voice, "what's your favorite scary?" And just like that, Ghostface appears, runs after Casey, and the rest is history...
We immediately associate Lillard with the one and only Shaggy Rogers from Scooby-Doo, but before he was solving mysteries with his crew (and his dog), he was out there fighting for his life in Woodsboro. However, his character, Stu Macher, didn't stick around for very long after being killed off in the first film.
But it was revealed later that Lillard was initially supposed to be in Scream 3. "I got paid for 3. Not really well, but I ended up getting paid for something I didn't do," he told Vulture. Due to the tragic real-life events of the Columbine School shooting, Scream 3 quickly shifted gears, and Lillard was out.
Fans were shocked and saddened to see Jamie Kennedy's character, Randy Meeks, get brutally stabbed to death in Scream 2. The audience was loving the trio that was Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, but there was plenty of love for Sidney's best friend, Randy Meeks as well!
Even the movie's creator, Kevin Williamson, regrets killing him off. "Had I known that there was gonna be a 3, 4, 5, that it was gonna go on, I would have loved to have had him be a legacy character," he told Collider. However, he did make it back from the grave for Scream 3.
Before playing Ray Donovan in the hit drama series, Liev Schreiber graced the screen as Cotton Weary in the original Scream trilogy. Schreiber's character had an affair with Sidney Prescott's mother, Maureen, and was wrongly convicted for her murder.
After he was released, Weary was a main character of Scream 2, but unfortunately got the ax at the beginning of the third film. Audiences saw Weary survive the trauma from the second movie, living in Hollywood with his girlfriend, when Ghostface appeared asking for Sidney's whereabouts, and well, you know the rest…
Cast in Scream 2 as Mickey Altieri, the "freaky Tarantino film student," Timothy Olyphant was only part of the franchise for one of the films - and as it turned out, he was one-half of the Ghostface duo. After the script was leaked, the writers went in and changed the characters behind the mask.
And luckily, Scream 2 was just one of the actor's many roles to come in the future. Despite his hit performances in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to his reoccurring roles on Justified and Santa Clarita Diet, Olyphant will forever remain Mickey Alteri in our hearts.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Following the success of Scream in 1996, the production team got right back to work, with Scream 2 dropping less than a year later. And one of the most famous characters to drop in for a quick on-screen cameo? Sarah Michelle Gellar, aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So how did Gellar land in the movie's sequel? Apparently, she loved the first film so much, saw how successful it was, and signed on without even reading a page of the script or what role she would have! She played a sorority girl with Portia de Rossi and Rebecca Gayheart and was then quickly stabbed and killed by Ghostface.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps
After the sequel's script leaked, the movie's screenwriter, Kevin Williamson, "changed a lot" of the film, specifically the ending. "We changed the dialogue, the motives, all those speeches," he recalled. But one thing that stayed the same was Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps' cameos!
In the horror movies opening scene, we see the couple sitting next to each other in a movie theater watching Stab (how ironic), a movie that was based on the Woodsboro murders that were initially seen in Scream. After just a few minutes, Jada and Omar's characters were brutally stabbed to death.
There was a lot riding on the horror film's sequel, especially after the film's script was leaked and Williamson and his team had to go in with extensive rewrites. However, they killed it (lol) and managed to give audiences nothing they were expecting and everything they wanted - including a stacked cast.
Known for his role as fraternity boy Derek Feldman, an aspiring doctor at Windsor College, Jerry O'Connell was featured in the horror films sequel as Sidney's boyfriend. However, his fate was sealed after Timothy Olyphant calls out Derek as his Ghostface counterpart.
Spelling may not have had a major role in the Scream franchise, but she sure played an iconic part. In the first film, Sidney's character references Spelling as the actress who would play her character in a movie, and by the next movie, her words had turned into a reality.
In Scream 2, she plays the leading role in Stab, a movie within a movie based on the 1996 Woodsboro Massacre survivor, Sidney Prescott. The Stab films portrayed more of a meta parody of all slasher films that were based on Gale Weather's book, The Woodsboro Murders.
Following the sequel's success, Wes Craven took a very short hiatus before releasing Scream 3 in 2000, and of course, the stakes were high. In addition to the beloved trio, the third film was home to many new famous faces - including Parker Posey.
Posey took on the role of Jennifer Jolie, the actress who plays Gale Weathers in Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro - another movie within a movie. The Dazed and Confused actress had a reputation as an "indie queen" but wowed audiences everywhere with her dynamic role in the horror film.
When Sidney and her friends go to Hollywood to visit the set of Stab 3, they come into a series of misfortunes when Ghostface returns to haunt them yet again. In addition to the trusty trio, we see another very familiar face join the big screen: Patrick Dempsey.
He may be Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, but he is Detective Mark Kincaid on the big screen. Despite his character making it alive, Detective Mark Kincaid never made it back into the Scream universe. Although he was offered to return in Scream 4, he declined due to other filming obligations that year.
Fellow Grey's Anatomy actor Scott Foley was yet another famous face who made it onto the casting sheet for Scream 3! Portraying Roman Bridger, Sidney's half-brother, the actor took on the role of "best scumbag," according to the Teen Choice Awards that year.
So why was he nominated for such a role? Well, not only was he Sidney's half-brother, but he was also Ghostface. He took on the solo role of the killer while attempting to direct a new Stab movie, and of course, things got complicated. But we loved him in Scandal!
Carrie Fisher carried one of the most prestigious titles in the entire film industry: Princess Leia. The late Carrie Fisher portrayed the iconic character in the original Star Wars films back in the 70s and had a small appearance in Scream 3, playing one of the more "meta" roles.
Unfortunately, the third film was not rewarded with as much praise as the sequel; but audiences were still invested in the new characters and solving the mystery behind the mask. Fisher appears in just one scene as Bianca Burnette, an archivist at Sunrise Studios, who becomes a major part of the storyline!
We may know and love her as Lily Bass on Gossip Girl, but before she was known as Lily van der Woodsen, living in the Upper East Side, she had a cameo in Scream 3. During the third installment, she played Christine Hamilton and unfortunately, things quickly went downhill for the character.
Cotton Weary's girlfriend faced a quick death, which happened within the first fifteen minutes. Despite the stacked cast, critics believed the third film felt much more of a horror cliche rather than sticking to the nuances that Scream does best. So, Scream 3 received only a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, whereas the sequel landed 82%.
There was a large gap between the film's third installment and fourth movie in 2011, but as soon as word hit that Carven and Williamson were teaming up again for another film, audiences were dying to know who would face the wrath of Ghostface this time around!
It is pretty clear that all Scream movies open with some sort of terrible death scene, and well, Scream 4 was no different. We see Lucy Hale as Sherrie Marconi, who is instantly killed by Ghostface, but we soon realize she is part of Stab 6-the movie within the movie.
Despite her natural knack for horror, Scream 4 was actually Emma Roberts' first horror movie! She took on the false protagonist role of Jill Roberts, Sidney Prescott's cousin, in the film until she revealed herself as the seventh Ghostface in the film's franchise. She definitely had us fooled!
"There were times when we were filming in a weird house at 2 a.m., and I'd get really spooked out," the American Horror Story actress told ELLE in 2011. "But what I've always loved about the Scream films is that they'll have you terrified one moment and laughing the next."
After over a decade-long hiatus, Wes Craven's horror franchise had some major expectations - especially with their cameo kill list, and they didn't disappoint! Kristen Bell joined the original cast for a short appearance as Chloe Patterson, but it didn't last for too long.
"It's a really fun movie, and everyone loves it as much as they did the first one," Bell said of her time on set. "[My role] doesn't go down like you think it does, but it was fun doing it." Bell's character actually kills Rachel, played by Anna Paquin, in the opening scene after the two finish watching Stab 6.
Scream 4 follows Sidney Prescott and the cast as they return to the scene of the crime after a decade away. Prescott returns to Woodsboro in honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the tragic Woodsboro murders, where Ghostface first ran rampant around the town.
So, to ensure some protection, Deputy Anthony Perkins, a Woodsboro police officer played by Anthony Anderson, was assigned to accompany Prescott throughout her stay. He was also in charge of guarding Jill Roberts, who ended up being Ghostface, and eventually took down Perkins.
So we already know that Hayden Panettiere returns as Kirby Reed in the most recent installment of Scream, but audience members wonder how she survived Scream 4. We literally saw her get stabbed twice by Charlie Walker, assuming she had instantly died, but a Scream 2022 Easter egg revealed otherwise…
However, Panettiere was invested in the storyline. "For an audience that is so well-versed in Scream and in what happens and who becomes the killer, it's trickier to throw them a curveball," she said. "I think they've done a really cool job with the script."
Scream 4 really was a wild time with all those cameos. So, let's throw in one more: Alison Brie. The Community actress played Rebecca Walters, Sidney's publicist, who quickly falls victim to Ghostface's wrath after being stabbed in the stomach and thrown off the parking lot, landing on a news van.
However, Brie doesn't seem to mind her gruesome death, as she is a huge fan of the franchise herself! "To me, Scream 3 is better than Scream 2," she said. "I mean, I'm a little bias, I would rank them like this - original Scream and then a significant drop-off, and then I would go Scream 4, Scream 3, Scream 2."
The first four films are all thanks to the genius work of Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015 due to brain cancer. So, when news hit that Ghostface was returning in 2022, audiences immediately questioned who would be responsible for the great franchise. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett came on board to direct. No pressure!
The team formed, the original three were back, and new faces were added to the roster. Melissa Barrera joined the cast as Sam Carpenter, the protagonist of the reboot, who luckily makes it another day and is seen in the latest film. However, she admits, "anyone is expendable," and "anyone can die," this time around…
Our favorite horror queen, Jenna Ortega, joins Barrera in the iconic horror franchise. Playing Tara carpenter, Barrera's sister, Ortega takes on a major role in the franchise, as she and her sister are now at the center of Ghostface's killing spree.
After making it alive, Ortega becomes the main focus of Scream 6, evidently replacing Neve Campbell, who was absent for the first time in the history of the franchise. It was clear that Tara held similar characteristics to Campbell's character, making her the perfect person to carry on her legacy and continue the franchise.
Minnette is no stranger to the horror world, with roles in Don't Breathe and Supernatural. But the actor is the first to admit, "the original Scream is my favorite horror film." Minnette took on the role of Wes, a mama's boy to Judy Hicks, played by Marley Shelton.
Unfortunately, both of these characters are killed by Ghostface in the film. However, despite his gruesome death, Minnette Dylan told Looper that he felt "very fulfilled and excited" to be able to "jump into something that [he] already [cared] about so much."
After 25 years have passed, a new killer behind the Ghostface mask returns to Woodsboro to taunt a group of teenagers. Mikey Madison is introduced as Amber Freeman, a mega fan of the Stab films who meets Richie, and they decide to recreate Stab 8, calling it a "prequel" (a reboot sequel). Duh.
Together they become the infamous Ghostface duo, with their goal of killing sisters Sam and Tara. But according to Madison herself, she knew from the start that her character would be one of the killers. "It was the main thing they pitched me while I was going through the audition process," she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Just one year later, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett returned for the latest installment of the film, Scream 6. Although Arquette and Campbell are nowhere to be found, Cox still plays her iconic Gale Weathers role, with a few fresh faces added to the casting sheet.
As someone who is no stranger to horror, Dermot Mulroney joined the Scream franchise in 2023 as Detective Bailey, an NYPD cop who is investing Ghostface's latest killing spree. And in true Scream nature, he didn't even know who the killer behind the mask was until it was all happening!
After the characters of Scream 6 leave Woodsboro and head to New York to escape the Ghostface killings, they quickly come to find the masked killer following right behind them. And who landed the prestigious role of Ghostface this time around? Liana Liberato.
Playing Quinn Bailey, the sweet and sassy roommate of Tara and Sam, Liberato is one of three killers behind the mask. Quinn is the sister of Richie Kirsch, the Ghostface killer in the previous film, so naturally, she reprises the role. Ghostface killer must just run in the family!