The Big Picture
- Avy Kaufman built a strong relationship with Wes Craven, leading him to ask her to cast Scream 4, despite her initially not being a fan of scary movies.
- The cast of Scream 4, assembled by Kaufman, was exceptional, including Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, and Hayden Panettiere, among others.
- Wes Craven’s legacy was carried on by Radio Silence, with the next two entries receiving critical acclaim and bridging the gap between the original trio and the new “Core Four.” Scream 7 is already in the works with a new director.
Of the many films and series veteran casting director Avy Kaufman has worked on, her resume contains few horror projects. Her experience in and around the genre includes the classic psychological thriller The Sixth Sense as well as Matt Reeves‘s Let Me In and Prometheus, Ridley Scott‘s prequel to the Alien franchise. One title that stands out among the rest, however, is Scream 4, the at the time long-awaited sequel to one of horror’s most beloved franchises and the final film of legendary horror maestro Wes Craven. During an interview for Collider Ladies Night with Perri Nemiroff, Kaufman detailed how she became the casting director for the horror sequel as well as the unique circumstances of working on a Scream film.
Kaufman noted that Scream was never originally on her radar to begin with as someone who wasn’t a fan of scary movies. That all changed with the help of Craven. “When I was asked to cast Scream , the preface to that is, the most beautiful director in the world who has left our world, [Wes Craven], he actually asked me to cast Music of the Heart, the first movie he did that was not a scary movie,” she told Nemiroff. Released in 1999, Music of the Heart was far out of Craven’s normal wheelhouse, instead adapting the true story of music teacher Roberta Guaspari as she works with her former pupils to raise funds to keep her program for teaching underprivileged students in Harlem alive. The films would receive a pair of Oscar nominations including one for Meryl Streep in the lead role.
After serving as casting director there, Kaufman built up a strong rapport with Craven that would influence the director’s decision to bring her aboard Scream. Craven also went to great lengths to ensure Kaufman enjoyed her time working on the horror film. She spoke to the casting process and whether she was let in on the closely-guarded secret of whom the film’s killer was, adding:
“So we had a beautiful relationship and then he said, ‘Will you cast Scream?’ And I said, ‘If you explain to me’ because I’m a scaredy cat. You’re asking me to cast Scream? Nobody would ever ask me to cast Scream! Wes, he studied I think to be a priest and so we went into this whole detail of that. Yes, I did know who the killers were and I had so much fun because he let me have fun with it versus being scared. I was a scaredy cat! But I love that you did that because Wes was the most lovely man in the world.”
Kaufman Gave Craven an Excellent Cast for Scream 4
The cast for Scream 4 which Kaufman helped assemble was a particularly strong one. Alongside the returning trio of Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, the film introduced scream queen Emma Roberts as Sidney Prescott’s cousin Jill and Hayden Panettiere as the fan-favorite Kirby Reed who recently reappeared alive and well in Scream VI. Also appearing in the sequel were Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Anthony Anderson, Marley Shelton, Alison Brie, Mary McDonnell, and more, including cameos from Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell. That cast is part of the reason Scream 4 is considered now as one of the franchise’s best outings, even if critics at the time were more lukewarm on Craven’s final outing.
Although the horror master behind Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street is gone, his legacy was carried on masterfully through Radio Silence with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett helming the next two entries which both received critical acclaim and effectively bridged the gab between the original trio and the new “Core Four.” Scream 7 has already been ordered, though directing duties will now fall to Happy Death Day‘s Christopher Landon who looks to continue the magic into the franchise’s new era.
Check out the full interview below:
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