Kennedy also details Wes Craven’s influence on him as a young actor.
With Scream now available to own on 4K in celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary, I got the chance to chat with Randy Meeks himself, Jamie Kennedy!
Scream proved to be quite the launchpad for Kennedy who, before hitting the set with genre icon Wes Craven, had a handful of TV guest spots to his name and also appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet as Sampson. While Scream’s $6.4 million opening weekend in December 1996 may not necessary make it seem like an epic box office smash, it did go on to accumulate nearly $86 million before scoring a boost in screens in April 1997 that brought its grand total at the domestic box office to about $103 million. The thing is though, with a movie like Scream, it’s not just about those initial box office receipts. It’s about how the film reignited the slasher genre and amassed a significant cult following in the process, making it one of the most successful horror franchises of all time with four installments and another on the way.
Who’s at the heart of that beloved mythology? Well, the surviving big three, of course — Neve Campbell’s Sidney, David Arquette’s Dewey and Courteney Cox’s Gale — but it’s Kennedy’s Randy who fuels a significant amount of Scream’s meta components, something that’s inspired similar characters and qualities in countless other films, including the Scream series itself.
An especially big moment for Randy in that respect? The rules scene, of course. And it turns out, not only did the rules scene make an indelible impression on Scream and the genre movie forward, but filming it changed the game for Kennedy as a young actor. Here’s how he put it:
“When I did the rules scene, we had the first take and [Wes Craven’s] like, ‘Alright, I got it. Let’s move on.’ And I was like, ‘No! No!’ I was a young actor, I was super insecure. I was like, ‘Did I do enough? This is a huge speech, the most I’ve ever said in film. And he was like, ‘Well, we don’t need it.’ And I was like, ‘Please,’ and I just kept bugging him. And he was like, ‘Alright! You got another take,’ and then hit that take and then he was like, ‘Do it again!’ And he kept rolling. You’ve got it on film, it’s not digital, and then afterwards he was like, ‘That was so good.’ He’s like, ‘Never ever question asking a director for another take because you really nailed it in that second take,’ and it sent me on my way of always feeling like I could collaborate, which I probably shouldn’t have felt at such a young age with such an icon, but he was so inviting. He told me in the movie it’s the second and third take is what he used, so he loved it.”
Of course there was no talking to Kennedy without bringing up 2022’s Scream, especially because there are a whole lot of rumors swirling that characters we presumed dead in the previous films could return — Randy included. While asking Kennedy about the rumor, I couldn’t help but offer up my own thoughts on the matter, which basically amounts to, it plain old shouldn’t happen. When Randy was killed in Scream 2, not only did the tension skyrocket because it proved everyone’s at risk, but it was also an emotional gut punch as Randy was one of the most lovable members of the ensemble.
Clearly I’m a big fan of the character, but that’s not an excuse to bring him back and run the risk of ruining one of the most powerful scenes of the series. Here’s what Kennedy had to say when that came up:
“You’re a super cinephile, zealous, the rules are the rules are the rules are the rules are the rules. I love what you’re saying. I think you’re right. It’s like, what rule can you break here? You love him so much, even more because you lost him so early in his life and his career and his rants. So if he came back, does it negate what you felt? For all purposes, I know I’m dead. I’m not involved in Scream 5. I’m deader than a doornail, and I was killed in the 90s.”
Yes, there’s always a chance Kennedy could have been keeping Scream 2022 details top secret, but I suspect that’s not the case here. One, because I think Kennedy seemed quite earnest with his response, but also because I think the folks behind the new movie know better. Yes, Scream is all about respecting and learning from the events of the past, but Randy has already passed his knowledge on to other characters so his influence will always be there without taking the massive and very, very risky leap of bringing him back from the dead.
If you’d like to hear more from Kennedy, you can check out our full conversation in the video at the top of this article. We’ve always got a handy interview breakdown for you below:
- 00:00 – How Wes Craven encouraged Kennedy to feel comfortable asking for another take.
- 01:27 – How many times did he film the “everybody is a suspect” scene?
- 02:46 – Is the fight between Randy and Stu trying to get into the house scripted?
- 03:49 – Revisiting his first day of filming and the challenge of the fountain scene.
- 05:12 – Kennedy breaks down what happened between the release of Scream and getting a script for Scream 2.
- 08:20 – What was it like coming back for Scream 3?
- 10:16 – Is Randy in Scream 5?
- 12:27 – Who does he think is the killer in Scream 5?