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The Scream VI Cast On Why It’s The Queerest, Darkest & Most Thrilling Film Yet

Scream VI Cast On Why It’s The Queerest, Darkest & Most Thrilling Yet​

Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Melissa Barrera, and Dermot Mulroney
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

PRIDE sat down with Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Melissa Barrera, and Dermot Mulroney to talk about the thrilling new entry in the famed franchise.

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EveryScream film begins with an opening kill scene, the first of which featured Drew Barrymore, the then-most-recognizable actor in the film, being dispatched in a shocking (and very early) fashion. It’s a beloved staple of the franchise that sets the tone for the rest of the film and tips its hand to what kind of mayhem awaits. This remains true for Scream VIwhich kicks off its two-hour run time with a mix of nostalgia — but with a huge twist. What is it saying? That you should forget everything you know about Scream, because it’s going to break rules. Also that the audience is in for a gruesome and terrifying ride.

Ghostface

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

As the film itself posits, the slasher genre has always been a mirror reflecting the era in which its constituent films are produced. Here that means not only are viewers expecting elevation from their horror but a reflection of the ways that social mores have changed. Scream (2021) was the first to feature an out-and-proud, completely textual queer character in Jasmin Savoy Brown’s Mindy Meeks-Martin. Not only did that film thankfully avoid the pitfall of burying its gay, but this time around the character gets even more room to breathe and represent their queer identity. In other words, Mindy has a girlfriend!

Jasmin Savoy Brown

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

For out actor Brown, it was important and fulfilling to bring more of Mindy’s identity to the screen this time around. “I was delighted when I read in the script that Mindy has a girlfriend, and delighted that once again, this filmmaking team was really welcoming of my ideas,” Brown tells PRIDE. “Because just like in the last film, you know, there was much reference to Mindy’s queerness. But there wasn’t necessarily an opportunity in the script originally for like, an on-screen kiss, for physical intimacy.”

The core four

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Thankfully, as Brown says, the directors heard her out when she explained that the fullness of their relationship needed to be on screen, not only because it creates a better opportunity for equal on-screen representation — after all, there’s no shortage of het kisses featured in the film — but also adds a layer of poignancy to the relationship and the threat it faces at the end of Ghostface’s hunting knife. “I was like, I’m sorry, but there has to be a kiss here. It will shred everyone’s hearts,” she recalls. “Devin Nakota did a beautiful job. I love her. It was so much fun.”

Devin Nakota

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

While Mindy was a scene stealer in the previous film as the voice of the meta narrator and rules of horror movies, this time the role feels even more lived in, more realized. Down to little details like Mindy’s wardrobe which is effortlessly cool and so queer. Who could blame Brown if she absconded with a few things from the set?

PRIDE Interviews Jasmin Savoy Brown & Mason Gooding About How Scream VI …

“Well, I kept the watch,” she confesses. “I tried to keep so much. But you know, [executive producer Ron Lynch] was like, ‘hey, all of your items are missing.’ I was like, ‘that’s weird.’ And he was like, ‘I know you have them, send them back.’ So I did everything but the watch. Because you know, how gay can you be? I have to keep the watch!”

That Brown’s lived experience impacts the character is not lost on her co-star, Mason Gooding, who plays her twin brother Chad. “I feel like it goes understated a lot. So I try to make a point of saying how much of Jasmin and [her] experiences bleed through into Mindy that make her feel so authentic and true. She’s my favorite character. So I might be biased,” he shares.

Mason Gooding

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

It’s a sweet sentiment that speaks to the actors’ easy friendship — it also wouldn’t sound strange coming from Chad’s mouth either. Despite coding as a “typical bro,” Chad is actually one of the subtle ways in which Scream VI moves the on-screen culture forward. He certainly reflects changing attitudes towards the toxic masculinity that’s all-too-often on full display in the slasher genre. He’s the heart of the chosen family the film circles around. He’s warm, emotionally intelligent, and fiercely loyal without ever coming off as paternalistic. In other words, he’s a breath of fresh air.

Scream VI still

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

This dynamic isn’t lost on Gooding, who praises the writing for crafting such a nuanced character. “I think there’s a point where Ethan, played by Jack Champion, remarks on him being a narcissist and that I felt was like an oversimplification of Chad’s devotion to the people he loves and cares most about,” recalls Gooding. “I love the depiction of masculinity in the movie as it stands currently because it showcases a man who’s physically strong and utilizes his physicality to protect rather than to just do harm. And he doesn’t question direction when given to him by women. He’s understanding...”

“He’s basically saying ‘I believe you.’” offers Brown.

“... Right! And that I feel as a representation of men in the media is both an important and also an exciting prospect for movies, that men can either protect women or simply take direction from them unquestioningly. And be supportive on an emotional front as well as physical,” he explains. It’s subtle but radical.

Ghosface

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The truth is the women of Scream VI can certainly appreciate allyship from the men in their lives, but they don’t need rescuing. They are a force in the film, and any would-be Ghostfaces should take note.

The film doesn’t only offer a new take on masculinity, but it also explores the complexities of what it means to be a final girl today. Most obviously is how it subverts the genre’s expectation that to be worthy of survival they must adhere to a moral code of goodness and purity. Melissa Barrera stars as the elder Carpenter sister, Sam, who’s not only morally ambiguous, but whose father was half of the original Ghostface duo, Billy Loomis. Barrera relishes in her character’s complications.

Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

“I think that it’s beautiful and interesting to watch a character that wants to be good so badly, but is wrestling with that darkness and that you don’t fully trust because we’ve seen her snap, and we know that it can happen at any moment,” Barrera tells PRIDE. “I personally love playing into that mystery...when I’m acting that makes it interesting for me. I do love that Sam is complicated, she’s not perfect.”

PRIDE Interviews Melissa Barrera About Embracing Her Scream VI Character’s Inner Darkness

She credits the work of Scream final girls who came before her for making this possible. “I think Sydney and Gale were incredible final girls and are so important. It’s so important that they are so good, so that Sam doesn’t have to be,” explains Barrera.

This latest film also sees Barerra and her costars taking the action set pieces to a new and gruesome level — sometimes quite literally. Barrera had a blast with the more action-heavy scenes, she shares, but there were moments when even she was caught off guard by their intensity.

Melissa Barrera in Scream VI

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

‘I love the ladder sequence [you saw in the trailer] in between the two apartments,” she recalls. “I think it was the moment during the shoot, that we all looked at each other and thought this is going to be brutal. We felt it.”

“We were shooting our coverage and the [stunt person] was on the ladder. It wasn’t Devin, it was the [stunt person] that was actually going to fall. And we were shooting and they would be like ‘okay, no, grab her hand and they were yelling at us to do all the things and we were yelling, constantly yelling, we all lost our voices that day,” shares Barrera. “They didn’t tell us that she was actually going to fall. So all of a sudden she falls and my stomach dropped out of my ass. I started sweating and I was like ‘This is insane.’ I turned to Jasmin and I was like ‘it didn’t feel this way in the fifth one,’ she was like ‘I know this is crazy.’”

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

While the movie has no shortage of shocking moments and wickedly effective scares, the joy and fun of the early entries are still very much a part of the alchemy that makes this still feel true to the franchise — one that made Dermot Mulroney, who makes his franchise debut as Detective Dwayne Bailey, jump at the chance to join in the fun.

“I watched the first movie in the theater and I remember that because it kind of changed the game a little bit on horror, and the combination of horror and humor,” Mulroney tells PRIDE. “I didn’t hesitate for a minute when they called for Scream VI. I was thrilled.”

PRIDE Interviews Dermot Mulroney About Joining The Scream Family & His Favorite …

That enthusiasm was initially somewhat dampened by the fact that, even for the actors, the film was shrouded in secrecy. “They gave me the script and parts, they weren’t really that clear about who was what and all of that. So even learning about the story was really fun. And then it just got crazy from there, of course,” he laughs.

Durmot Mulroney

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Even without knowing all the twists and turns in advance — of which there are many this time around — there are elements of the films that particularly stand out to Mulroney, specifically the whodunit aspect. “One of the things that everyone loves about Scream movies also is that they’re chase movies that you’re trying to track that guy down, you’re trying to investigate it... but I like that it’s a chase too,” he says, adding that the finale of the film is a shocking culmination of the action (he’s not wrong!). “In Scream VI, they all wind up in the same locale, and [we’re being chased through] that theater shrine set. And things go really nuts from there.”

Dermot Mulroney and Hayden Panettiere

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

That’s ultimately why Scream VI works despite being the sixth entry in the franchise, which has been running for almost 30 years. It takes the joy of what makes a Scream movie fun, but reinterprets it with modern characters and a modern audience in mind.

Like a good masked killer, you can’t keep a good Scream film down — and Scream VI is a great one.

Scream VI is playing in theaters now. Read PRIDE’s review here and watch the trailer below.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.