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The Real Reason Scream’s Cast Had Such An Easy Time Acting Terrified

The Real Reason Scream’s Cast Had Such An Easy Time Acting Terrified

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wes Craven’s iconic slasher flick “Scream,” which is still spawning movie sequels and television spin-offs to this very day. As a way to celebrate, the cast and crew from the 1996 cult classic sat down with The Hollywood Reporter recently to discuss what went into the production of “Scream,” including the secret filmmaking trick that Craven used to keep his stars terrified. 

While on set, the identity and appearance of the man doing Ghostface’s sinister phone voice was a complete and total mystery to Neve Campbell and the rest of the gang. The calls in the movie were done live, while the voice actor was lurking in the shadows. “One of the smartest things they did when they shot it was Roger Jackson, who does Ghostface’s voice, the killer voice, he was on set,” explained editor Patrick Lussier. “All those phone calls were done live. They were tapped into a phone, but Drew and none of the actors could see him. They didn’t know what he looked like.”

Part of the allure of “Scream” is the suspense of not knowing who the Ghostface killer could be; he only ever communicates with his victims over the phone. According to the cast and crew, Craven wanted to evoke this same sense of anxiety and dread in his actors for authenticity.

The actor behind the voice of Ghostface remained hidden at all times

According to “Scream” producer Marianne Maddalena, it was imperative to keep Ghostface voice actor Roger Jackson away from the cast at all times in order to maintain the mystique of the killer. 

“We hid him. We had separate rooms. He was never around,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was absolutely incognito. It made it scary for the actors and Wes just got better performances out of them … [Jackson] has an amazing voice, but I don’t know how menacing he would be in person.” 

Jackson, himself, thought it would be a great idea to stay away as well. “The first night when we were filming the bulk of the scene with Ms. Barrymore, I was outside the window under a little canopy,” he remembered. “I’m looking at her through the window while I’m talking to her on the phone, but she couldn’t see outside. Then on the second night they moved me to the garage … and set me up with a monitor so I could watch the camera feed.”

Actor Skeet Ulrich, who played Billy Loomis, told THR he was amazed by director Wes Craven’s ability to raise the suspense by keeping Jackson away from everyone. “It’s really wild to realize what Wes did and how great a decision that was,” Ulrich said. “To have the wherewithal to give her something visceral to react to was very smart.” 

The next installment in the slasher franchise will be coming from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who plan to return to Craven’s roots with the release of “Scream” in 2022.

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