Marley Shelton plays Sheriff Dewey Riley's right-hand deputy Judy Hicks in Wes Craven's reboot of the popular series, available in stores now
Scream 4 is available on Blu-ray and DVD today. While this self-stated 'reboot' of sorts brings the original trio of Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette), Journalist Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and eternal victim Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) back to the town of Woodsboro for another mysterious round of "Guess the Killer", it also introduces a whole slew of new characters. What most of these characters have in common is that they eventually succumb to the deadly antics of the now iconic Ghostface killer. What makes Deputy Judy Hicks different is that she lives to see the end of the movie, becoming one of the few people to survive a Scream outing. We recently caught up with actress Marley Shelton, the actress who plays Judy, to discuss this luck of the draw.
Here is our conversation.
I couldn't help but overhear your earlier conversation. Is Deputy Judy Hicks gunning for Dewey's job?
Marley Shelton: Oh, gosh, no! I haven't read that draft yet. I was just being playful. But I will say, you never know where Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson are heading with these plots.
She could be sneaking something into those lemon bars that is slowly disintegrating Dewey's motor skils...
Marley Shelton: Yeah, exactly. You just don't know. Judy is such a mysterious woman. Who knows what her true intensions are?
You do such a great job of looking suspicious in nearly every single scene...
Marley Shelton: (Laughs) Thanks! I think...She did have some red herring aspects to her. Which is such a fun part of the Scream franchise. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson always pepper in characters that have those on-the-nose red herring moments.
There is a split second there, too, at the end, after you get shot, and you come back up...It feels like you are going to be revealed as an accomplice to the murders. That you've been working with Ghostface all along.
Marley Shelton: That is so funny. That would be hilarious. We were joking when we shot that sequence. I told Wes, "If Judy doesn't test well, you can always kill her. She can just not pop back up." They tested the movie, and they decided to keep me alive. It was an option to kill me. I guess people responded to Judy, so they kept the version where I lived.
People did respond to her, and in talking with Wes Craven about the Blu-ray, it seems that Judy will actually have ties into how this new trilogy, with 4, 5, and 6, continues to move ahead forward in the future. That she is a central player in the overall story arch...
Marley Shelton: Yes. There has been casual conversation about that. But nothing in writing...
Even with that, if we go back and watch Scream 4 carefully, we will see a lot of clues peppered throughout the movie, in terms of your character and what she is doing, that will lead us into Scream 5...
Marley Shelton: All I can say is this...The fact that I didn't die bodes well for future Judy. About 80% of the Scream cast ends up losing it. The fact that I survived this one, alone? That bodes well for me. Let's see what happens.
That old cliché 'the fallacy of the talking killer' is what eventually does in the villain. Though, you are the only one that gets shot, and nearly dies, during that scene. What does that say about Judy and her instincts, and her ability to, maybe, not move so fast...
Marley Shelton: I think you have to suspend a lot of disbelief when you partake in a Scream adventure as an audience member. I think a lot of that is done for comedic affect. I think that is one of the things about Judy...Through all of her prowess as an uber-cop, you are exactly right...She leaves herself wide open, and she gets shot in the chest. That is a sense of humor with all of the cops. They are all well meaning, but they are all a little bumbling, and fumbling. That was purposeful. (Laughs) The cops in Scream are never in the right place at the right time. They aren't there when they are needed, but they are there when they are not needed. It's a running joke.
Depending on where you are from, that is true for some small town police forces...
Marley Shelton: Knowing Kevin Williamson, there is some sort of referencing going on.
There is so much referencing within the movie itself about this being a reboot. Did you guys look at Judy as a reboot of Dewey's character in the original?
Marley Shelton: Only in jest. Dewey is so iconic at this point. This is a tour de force for him. He was established in the first one as such a great character. If anything, Judy is his lackey. I am honored to be a part of that world, and the whole history of it. To join the force, if you will.
Did you ever pretend that you were actually an extra in the first Scream movie, to send fans back to the original, looking for you?
Marley Shelton: I didn't do that as an exercise. I did spend a lot of time thinking about what their relationship in high school was. Why this girl was so obsessed with Dewey. Why she worshipped him, and why she wanted to be a police officer. Where she was at during the time of the murders, and how she responded to them. Yeah, I did spend a lot of time penciling in that information for myself.
I haven't gone back to watch the original since seeing Scream 4. Is there a blonde girl in the background that we could say, "Hey, look, there's Judy..."?
Marley Shelton: (Laughs) That would be incredibly thorough of the filmmakers. But you never know...
Its almost like Where's Waldo?
Marley Shelton: Right, yeah.
What is Judy's impression of her co-workers on the police force, and how much fun was it working with Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody?
Marley Shelton: As actors, I think they are both so talented. It was great. We had a fun time working with each other. There wasn't a lot written about our particular dynamic. So we were coming up with new ideas. I think Judy, in her head, probably thought she was their superior. Even though she doesn't out rank them, I think she bossed them around a lot. Unfortunatly, they do die, so we can't explore that much further...
With their demise, it does change Judy and Dewey's working relationship. Going into 5, you will have to build a whole new police force together...
Marley Shelton: Gosh, the possibilities are endless, aren't they? I never underestimate Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's imagination. Your guess is as good as mine, but there are a lot of ways they could go with this from here.
What does it mean for you to be a part of a franchise that has resonated with so many fans, and that means so much to a lot of people?
Marley Shelton: It has been a complete honor for me to be a part of this franchise. I am a huge fan. I thought Scream 1 was a flawless movie. It is perfectly suspenseful, it is perfectly self-referential. It is so well acted. It is literally flawless in my opinion. It's been great to join that company. And it is so groundbreaking in terms of what they have done, to be so truly scary and funny at the same time, and self-referencing. I was just so honored to be a part of this all.
The Blu-ray has a really fun gag reel that shows off Wes Craven's attempts to scare some of the new cast members. You're suspiciously absent. Are you impossible to scare?
Marley Shelton: Honestly, I don't know why I wasn't targeted. I was never victimized by Ghostface. I have no idea why or why not. Maybe Wes thought Judy would be too tough on him.
Maybe its because Judy survives.
Marley Shelton: Gosh, I don't know. Do you think that is part of the Scream bible?
Well, he never pulled this on David Arquette or Courtney Cox. I don't recall Neve Campbell getting spooked...
Marley Shelton: That's right. Maybe we should look into it and see if this actually bodes well for the fate of Judy...
I think it does bode well. Either that, or you were too scary to scare...
Marley Shelton: (Laughs)
Working through and rehearsing a film like this, does that repress your own fears? Does it take the edge off certain things that may happen to you in life? Or do you feel that life never really loses its edge?
Marley Shelton: I don't think the process of it does. Not for me. It is not remotely scary when you are shooting. You are dealing with a huge cast and crew, obviously. They are there at all times. I don't know on a psychological level, if it had any impact on me, working through my own fears. I know that Wes Craven feels watching horror films does have a psychological effect, in a good way. It is very cathartic. He might be right about that. But the actual process of making the movies? I don't think it does. Not for me.
I haven't gotten to look through the deleted scenes yet. Do we get to see more from Judy on the Blu-ray?
Marley Shelton: I haven't seen the new DVD that is being released, either. There were a few scenes that I know got cut. I don't know if they will be on this DVD release or not. Your guess is as good as mine. I just haven't seen it yet.
In those scenes that you shot, that didn't make it into the movie, is there more to the relationship between you, Dewey, and Gale? I mean, you are considerably younger than they are. Judy was in high school while both Gale and Dewey were already establishing their careers.
Marley Shelton: I definitely, as an actor, came up with a lot of backstory on that. That is one of those great things that I am going to keep to myself. Unless we get to explore that more in the future. But we did come up with some specific things about their past. For sure.
Judy's relationship with Gale Weathers is one of my favorite things in this new movie. How did you work to find that off-chemistry between the two of you?
Marley Shelton: Courteney Cox is such a great actress. The dynamic that was set-up in Kevin Williamson writing? It was all there. There was just so much fun stuff to play. She went for it in a great way. So did David Arquette. There was a lot of great stuff to mine there in terms of those character dynamics. For sure. I wish there was more time to do it. There was just so much, but at the same time, we were trying to move as quickly as possible. We had to tell this scary story, and keep the suspense going. Sometimes the character stuff gets sacrificed for the sake of that. Of course the actors are always going, "Can't we keep that part in?" We ended up with a lot of it on screen, so that was cool. If there is a Scream 5, that will be explored a lot more. For sure. That will be fun.
Should I stop holding my breath for a sequel to Bubble Boy?
Marley Shelton: I love these Bubble Boy fans. You are the second person I have talked to today that is a Bubble Boy fan. You know? I haven't heard anything about another Bubble Boy in the pike. You never know, thought. I have learned never to say never. I am sure that you have, too. There was talk of a Bubble Boy musical being made, which I think would be great...
Would you participate in that?
Marley Shelton: Uh, I don't think so. That is so not my forte. But...It would be a full-on Broadway musical. Which would be quite awesome.
That would be so cool. I love that movie...
Marley Shelton: I am so glad to hear that. Me too! I am very proud of that one.
Scream 4 was released April 15th, 2011 and stars Lucy Hale, Roger Jackson, Shenae Grimes, Dane Farwell, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Aimee Teegarden, Britt Robertson. The film is directed by Wes Craven.