The scream queen spoke with Street about becoming a horror flick ingenue.
Street: Scream 4 features a new generation of young actors. What do you and your co–stars bring to the film that is different from the originals?
Hayden Panettiere: There is a lot of modern stuff that comes into the film — much more technology and how that plays into horror movies now, like the filming of murders, such as the sort of thing you see in3. And the rules have changed. The audience has evolved and has gotten harder and harder to scare, and therefore the rules and clichés have had to change and evolve and adapt as well. But it’s a group of young people who are much more modern for our audience today.
Street: How did prior Scream movies affect your preparation and performance in the role?
HP: I understood where Scream had come from before, because Scream redefined horror movies, and it was so much about those rules of a horror movie and how they work nowadays and the cliches. So it affected [my performance] just to keep it in mind — to change the rules, to see where it came from. Even though it’s a sequel, it’s not just a sequel, it’s not just a remake; it’s a reboot. And also a big part of it was getting that comedy. It’s not just a scary movie. It has those moments of comic relief, but it’s a very specific kind of comedy and you go back and watch people like Matthew Lillard who did such an amazing job with the comedy and just try to maintain that sort of tone.
Street: What was it like working with Wes Craven?
HP: Wes is amazing and you always expect a guy like that to be creepy. I mean it’s like, if you met Stephen King you would expect him to be creepy. There’s got to be some reason why their love in life is to terrify people, but [Wes is] amazing and he’s such a sweet, sweet man and there’s nothing creepy about him. And he’s funny too!
He comes out with these one–liners that just catch you off guard. He’s hysterical, but one of the things I love the most about him is when you’re on set you see how much he loves what he does. He still loves so much what he does. And that’s such a great mindset for the crew and for the cast. It makes people really want to be there. He’s a mastermind, he’s a gem, he’s brilliant.
Street: In most horror movies, you see characters open closets when they shouldn’t or run up stairs. Is there anything your character does that you would never do in real life?
HP: I don’t think I would ever open the closet. I would be so far gone from that house. I mean, if there were cops out front and I knew that they were there, I would be down those stairs in a second asking someone else to open that closet. With a gun. There is no way I’d open the closet.