Scream Star Melissa Barrera Has Some Ideas For A Sequel [Interview]

There really is something about Sam. The new lead character of the "Scream" universe, played by "In The Heights" star Melissa Barrera, is a charismatic badass with the smarts and the skills to outwit even the most intricate and diabolical of Ghostface's games. This means — you guessed it — she's the perfect successor to our Final Girl queen, Sidney Prescott.

Neve Campbell's character looms large as a horror legend, both in and out of the "Scream" franchise, and that is in large part due to her intellect. She's whip-smart and driven by the search for truth, and she will stop at nothing to avenge those she loses along the way. Sam follows the same trajectory, and it sweetens the deal when Sidney herself takes Sam under her wing. It really feels like the passing of a torch, and I can't wait to see what happens with Sam in the next installment.

I sat down to chat with Barrera about her hopes for Sam's future, the franchise legacy characters, and how she got down to business in some of her most difficult scenes. Turns out, she has a few ideas for avenues her character could potentially travel. Clearly, she's thinking about it as much as we are. Spoilers ahead for "Scream" 2022.

'Now she's addicted to the violence, because it runs in her blood'

I really love Sam as a character. She's a great addition, and she's very much this new-age Sidney Prescott. She's gone through a lot before the movie even begins. So I want to know: What are your hopes for Sam going forward in the franchise? 

Yeah, there's so much. I mean, it would be a dream to get to continue in this role and in this world. I feel like by the end of this movie, she has embraced a part of her, a side of her that she's been running away from. I think it's such an exciting starting point for a next movie. I'm just excited to see if she continues to embrace that dark side. If she has, now she's addicted to the violence, because it runs in her blood. She can't run away from that. It's such a weird and a messed up thing with her visions that she starts running away from them and hating them. Then by the end, they save her life.

So it's this weird redeeming moment for Billy Loomis, I think. I'm just curious to see where that goes, if she would continue to have him in her head or not, if she becomes this 'Jekyll and Hyde' kind of character. I feel like that would be an exciting route for me as an actor to experience with Sam and very different to other characters in the franchise. So I don't know, I'm just excited with the possibilities, and I hope that I get to do it again.

That would be incredibly fun to watch from an audience perspective. And I think it plays right into a lot of the longstanding themes in this franchise. Speaking of Billy Loomis, I want to ask you, is he your favorite legacy character? And if not, who is?

Oh, my gosh. I mean, I love both Billy and Stu. I think they're such a great little couple. In the first movie, their dynamic is so interesting, and I just think they're both great in it. The brooding, sexy Billy Loomis, and then the funny, over-the-top, super energetic, cool Stu Macher. They just were so amazing, and I love them, but I also love our three OGs; I love Sidney and Gale and Dewey. I think that's why people love the franchise so much. And that's why people have stayed with it for 25 years, because these three characters are so lovable in their own ways. I just hope that if we get to continue, the new characters can get that kind of development so that the franchise can keep going like that.

'Basically, this scene is going to justify her actions in the entire movie'

What was your hardest scene to film? Not necessarily logistically, but as Melissa, as an actor, what was the most difficult for you? And what was your favorite?

There were two that were specifically really hard. One was the confession scene, where I'm in the hospital and I'm telling Tara the whole secret. That was hard because that was the first day that we shot together. I'm pretty sure it was the first day of shooting. And it was crazy, too, because the first days, you're always figuring out the character. You're figuring out who this person is. And then right away, they threw me into this very emotional scene. I was freaking out because it's a very long monologue, and I was like, "How do I deliver this in a way that feels truthful and uncovers all the pain that she's been hiding?" Basically, this scene is going to justify her actions in the entire movie. So it was daunting and it was intimidating. But you know what? That's sometimes how it is. You get thrown in first day, this big monologue, go.

It's not a bad way to get to know your character as well.

Yeah! It was. It was a good way. Then the other really hard scene to do ... basically, every scene with Billy Loomis was really hard because he wasn't there. I was acting by myself. So that was hard because I didn't have eyes to connect with. I didn't have anything. Then when Skeet [Ulrich] came on, we redid all those scenes, but for his coverage. When we were there together, I was like, "Oh my God, I would've done things so differently if you'd been there with me in the moment." But it was done. So those were tough, but Matt and Tyler [the directors] were very gracious and were trying to make it as easy for me as possible.

Then I think the most fun that I had was probably the fight scene at the end with Jack [Quaid], like that whole coming out, going on his back, tumbling forward, falling down the stairs. That whole thing leading up into the iconic line, that when I stab him. I think that was the most fun.

"Scream" is available now on Digital, and will be streaming on Paramount+ on March 8, 2022.