The Scream franchise has long been lauded for its queer pedigree. Not only did the series's gay creator, Kevin Williamson, imbue the early films with the most badass final girl(s) of all in Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott and Courteney Cox's Gale Weathers, he gave us a real Leopold and Loeb dynamic with Matthew Lillard's and Skeet Ulrich's combo killers. But the latest Scream, released last weekend, is the first to feature a queer character played by a queer person, with Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy, the film's horror movie genre aficionado. What's particularly impressive about the Scream franchise is that it's continually grown to encompass new rules of the horror genre while creating new characters who more closely resemble the world at large by centering people of color and queer folks, and continuing to uplift strong women.
Brown, who also stars in the buzzy Showtime series Yellowjackets says of portraying Mindy (who sports a rainbow pin in her character poster), "[Playing a queer character in Scream] means the world to me, because it's because it's not a big deal to me, because my community, my world, looks the way that the Scream world does. It's diverse, there are people of color, there are queer people, it shouldn't be a big deal."
"Even within the film, it's not made a big deal. Mindy's personality isn't based off of her sexuality. Her sexuality is just a part of who she is. And her personality is something completely different," Brown tells The Advocate. "I'm honored that I get to have a part in bringing her to life. And if I had seen more characters that reflect who I am in every facet, being a strong woman and being a queer woman of color, growing up, I think it would have greatly impacted me. I think that I would have a much smaller therapy bill and maybe healthier mental health."
The new Scream, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and written by James Vanderbilt, revisits the suburban town of Woodsboro 25 years after Sidney Prescott and the gang first tangled with Ghostface. Only now, there's a new Ghostface in town to terrorize the inhabitants like Sam Carpenter, played by Melissa Barrera of In the Heights and Vida fame. For Barrera, it's huge progress to star a Mexican lead.
"I never in a million years would have thought that I would get to be a part of this franchise. And I feel like Latin America loves the franchise so much that I love being able to represent. And being the first Mexican that's a part of the franchise is a dream come true for me," Barrera says. "I'm so happy that this fifth movie has such a diverse cast. It's so reflective of what the world looks like today."
As for Campbell, whose tough-as-nails Sidney has fought back against Ghostface repeatedly and often in sleeveless tops and boots that have made her a favorite of queer women viewers, she says she's happy to come back to portray Sidney 10 years after the last film left off.
"It's such an honor to get to get to play a character like this, to play a woman who is not just a victim in these films [but] who fights back and holds her own and is determined and does not get overtaken," Campbell tells The Advocate. "Getting to play a character like that and representing women in that way and in shifting, sort of, how women are seen and written in films --that's an incredible thing to be a part of."
See Scream in theaters now and watch TheAdvocate's interviews with Brown, Barrera, Campbell, Cox, David Arquette, Mason Gooding, and Jack Quaid below.
Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding
Melissa Barrera, Neve Campbell, and Courteney Cox
David Arquette and Jack Quaid