What The Original Cast Of Scream Looks Like Now

It's hard for horror movie fans to reconcile it, but the game-changing 1996 film "Scream" actually almost didn't happen at all. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, everyone who had a chance to read Kevin Williamson's script from the beginning knew it was something golden. Producer Cathy Konrad shared, "I recall reading it in my home in Nichols Canyon and scaring myself at night. Kevin had written a pitch-perfect script." However, director Wes Craven took some convincing before he eventually signed on.

While the movie didn't exactly crush it at the box office following its opening weekend, eventually audiences began flocking to the film after word-of-mouth reviews spread. These days, it's hard to imagine the genre of horror movies (and even our reflections of 1990s pop culture) without the screaming, terrified faces of many of the movie's stars, including Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, and Courteney Cox.

Many of the actors in the cast of "Scream" have gone on to enjoy successful careers. Here's a peek at what they were doing then and where they're at now.

Neve Campbell has slowly returned to Hollywood

Of all the actors in the cast of "Scream," Neve Campbell is the name and face we all remember. When the movie came out in 1997, it changed the horror film game completely — as Campbell herself told The Guardian, the movie was so genuinely scary that "it revived the whole genre."

As Sidney Prescott, Campbell was the terrified and terrorized victim of the film. As an actor, she was hyper aware of how tough it could be to make sure Sidney's fear felt authentic and not cheesy, explaining that unlike some of the other characters, Sidney is constantly in a state of fear. She said, "The challenge is that Sidney has to be scared the whole time, so it becomes about finding different levels of fear so she's not just whiny."

After being convinced to film "Scream 4," Campbell all but vanished from Hollywood. While speaking to Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" in 2018, the Scream Queen explained that she decided to move to London, England, instead of cashing in on her success, because she needed something new. She said, "I just wasn't interested in the scripts and I was feeling a bit unhappy with the things that were coming to me and I was feeling a little bored of the whole thing, and I thought, 'I want a change.'" In recent years, Campbell has been acting here and there and, luckily for fans, returned as Sidney Prescott in the fifth "Scream" movie.

Courteney Cox has been revisiting her old roles

Unlike a lot of stars who star in a giant franchise or two and then never want to speak of it again, Courteney Cox has always been excited to talk about her time on both the hit TV show "Friends" and in the "Scream" movies. Before the May 2021 "Friends" reunion episode, Cox had expressed great interest in participating in a full reboot of the show. She told People, "I fantasize about it. It really was the greatest job I ever had. I don't know what it would look like today, but you never know."

With that in mind, it's not too surprising that Cox was all in when the opportunity to star in the fifth "Scream" movie came around. As she explained to Parade, the movie isn't a reboot or a sequel — rather it's "an absolute, brand-new relaunch of the franchise." The "Cougar Town" star added that being back on set around her former castmates was a powerful experience, and it was just as "emotional" as when she filmed the "Friends" reunion. 

David Arquette was a pro wrestler for a short period of time

David Arquette is the ex-husband of his "Scream" co-star Courteney Cox, but he's also a franchise legend in his own right. Arquette has played local law enforcement officer Deputy Dewey in each of the films, and he told Geeks of Color that Dewey is truly part of him. He explained, "I love playing this character. ['Scream'] has such a close place in my heart. You know, there's not a lot of films that span 24 years, but I'm a part of it."

While Arquette has continued to enjoy a successful career in Hollywood as both an actor and a producer, he took on another role in the year 2000 that might surprise you: He became a full-blown professional wrestler. While the move was tied to his movie "Ready to Rumble," Arquette's passion for wrestling is real and dates all the way back to his childhood (per Den of Geek). Arquette also admitted that he made the movie, in part, because he hoped that doing so would provide more Hollywood opportunities for some of the wrestlers that he worked with.

His enthusiasm for wrestling doesn't mean that Arquette was welcomed by the community or its fans. In fact, when he was crowned the heavyweight champion back in 2000, many wrestling fans were upset. So in 2018, Arquette set out on a path toward wrestling redemption that was shared in the documentary "You Cannot Kill David Arquette."

Drew Barrymore hosts her own talk show

Drew Barrymore's character in "Scream" didn't live very long, but she was certainly memorable. In fact, her quick death might just be the reason why audiences remember her so clearly, and that's exactly what Barrymore hoped would happen. Barrymore told Sean Evans on "Hot Ones" that, when she signed on to join the cast, she asked director Wes Craven if she could play Casey Becker so audiences would immediately understand that this horror movie was different from the others. As she put it, "In the horror film genre, my biggest pet peeve was that I always knew the main character was going to be, like, slugging through at the end, but was gonna, like, creak by and make it." She added, "What I wanted to do is to take that comfort zone away."

Barrymore has enjoyed a successful career since the debut of "Scream" in December 1996, starring in the "Charlie's Angels" movies and Netflix's "Santa Clarita Diet," and these days, she is the host of her very own talk show, "The Drew Barrymore Show."

Skeet Ulrich moved on to a successful TV career

Obviously, "Scream" has a pretty terrifying premise: Someone is murdering people, and no one knows who it is. By now, we all know the surprise twist at the end: The killer was really two different people, friends Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard). As Billy, Ulrich had a pretty sneaky role, as he and Lillard's character spent most of the movie pretending to be just as scared and worried as the rest of their friends.

While speaking about the anticipation for the fifth "Scream" movie, Ulrich confessed to Variety that he didn't really understand the full concept of the original "Scream" at first. After all, the movie falls squarely into the horror genre, but there are plenty of jokes and comedic moments that make one question the mood. As he put it, he approached the role quite earnestly. "I was sort of locked into this very serious study of serial killers and all the angst of the character. It was a documentary in my mind of two high school killers," he said, noting, "I remember Jamie [Kennedy] and Matt's approach to the characters and being so confused as to the genre."

Since "Scream," Ulrich has enjoyed a successful career on TV. Per IMDb, he has starred in several series, including "Law & Order: LA," and, most notably, The CW's "Riverdale."

Matthew Lillard became an icon with Scooby-Doo

Matthew Lillard played one-half of the murderous duo who end up being behind the killings in "Scream." As Stu Macher, Lillard expertly scared audiences of all ages. Since his time behind the white mask, Lillard has largely turned toward significantly lighter roles, and he has been celebrated for his take on Shaggy in two live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies, as well as in TV shows and video games based on the franchise.

Lillard, who has also notably starred in "Good Girls," has thoroughly enjoyed his time as Shaggy and is grateful for the people he met along the way. He told Vice that one of this fondest memories from playing the character happened at a children's hospital in London, when he was introduced to a little girl who was about to undergo open heart surgery for the third time. She was reluctant to allow the doctors to sedate her until doctors asked if she would comply if Lillard spoke in his Shaggy voice. She agreed, he did the voice, and, as he shared, the memory is a powerful one. He said, "The reality is that I'm a caretaker for a part that will be somebody else's someday, but there's no doubt that — not to sound too hokey — as long as I have it, I'll respect it and think it's really awesome," adding, "And the little moments like that where you can help kids and you can effect change, it's really pretty amazing."

Rose McGowan has moved away from the United States

When Rose McGowan took on the role of Tatum Riley in "Scream," she knew what she was signing up for. As Elle noted, the character was styled to be "disposable and big-boobed" friend who would cause some laughs but eventually become one of the killer's victims. But McGowan wanted to bring more to the role, and she did. After dying her hair blonde to make herself look more different from Neve Campbell and even purchasing her character's clothing out of her own pocket to bring to life the vision she had, McGowan created a person that the audience was rooting for.

In the years that followed the original "Scream," McGowan was everywhere. While she will forever be remembered as Paige Matthews on "Charmed," she also had roles on "Nip/Tuck" and "Chosen" (via IMDb). Memorably, McGowan made major headlines as one of the earliest accusers against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and even filed a lawsuit against him in 2018 (per Page Six).

These days, McGowan lives in Mexico, where she moved at the beginning of 2020. She explained to "The Dab Roast" (via Deadline) that the beginning of the pandemic inspired her to make the change, saying, "I knew it was going to get really bad in America and I had a moment to figure out where I wanted to be."

Jamie Kennedy returned to his roots as a stand-up comic

Jamie Kennedy was featured in the first two "Scream" movies as Randy Meeks, a character who was so prepared and on top of it that audiences almost didn't believe he really died in "Scream 2." In fact, Kennedy had to confirm to ComicBook that Randy would not be featured in the fifth "Scream" movie. He said, "As of right now, I believe I'm deader than dead, and I think that's what makes it good is the fact that you are dead and that's why it's strong because you died."

These days, Kennedy is back performing in the role that started it all: as a stand-up comic. The "Ghost Whisperer" actor told Decider that, while it might surprise some that he's fully immersed in stand-up right now, that's actually how he began his career. As he explained it, acting just got in the way. He said, "I did a couple of spots as a stand-up on TV. And then I got a guest spot on a couple of shows as an actor, and that led to more stuff, and then once I got my first movie, I got busy in that for awhile."

The reality is that Kennedy has over 20 years experience as a comic, and by all appearances, he's looking to add on several more.