‘Scream’ Actor Jamie Kennedy Explains Why Fan-Favorite Randy Meeks Should Probably Stay Dead [Interview]

Wes Craven’s Scream is now available for the first time on 4K Ultra HD and in a newly remastered Blu-ray, packed with special features that examine the smash hit and its legacy. For its release, Bloody Disgusting chatted with actor Jamie Kennedy, who played fan-favorite film nerd Randy Meeks. 

While Randy survived the events of Scream, the character wasn’t as lucky in the sequel, making for one of horror’s most lamented deaths of all time. In the nearly twenty-five years since release, Kennedy has had plenty of time to engage with fans and reflect on both Scream and Randy’s legacy.

On why the character’s legacy might be best served by staying dead, Kennedy explains: “Scream‘s becoming this pop culture lexicon, almost like a movement, and Randy’s death made a strong impact on people. It’s the brilliance of Kevin [Williamson]. You hate to see [Randy] go, but you loved him. His death is one of the reasons why Scream is Scream. The pain that death caused was what makes this series so impactful. But the audience feels muted, and they’re bitter about it.

“If there were a way to bring him back in a way that doesn’t dilute that, then that’d be interesting, but I don’t know how you would do that. He’s deader than dead. But yeah, people ask me that all the time, and I feel Scream is as relevant as it’s ever been in a crazy way.”

Kennedy also reflected on how he perceived Randy and what made him so savvy to the movie’s rules. “I thought of him as the gangly, fifth wheel. Stu had Tatum, and Sidney had Billy. And then, what was Randy? The best friend. He was friend-zoned. And Dewey was doing his thing with Gale, so, who would I have? I had the cameraman, Kenny. Randy really was on his own island, but that’s why he loves movies so much because they’re his safe place, his happy place. He can cope with life through movies and learn tropes of movies, tropes of life, through movies, really, and art imitating life imitating art. So, he realized that what was happening in front of him was something he saw in a movie, and he’s like, ‘This killer’s imitating movies, so we got to figure out what movies they watched to catch the killer.’

“It was incredible for me to be able to play that. I did a lot of research in terms of horror movies when I was doing this. I believe Quentin Tarantino could have been an inspiration because I feel like he’s one of our early filmmakers raised in a movie house. Then he made movies based on movies he loved, gave them his own spin, and made movies for people that loved movies. Do you know what I mean? That’s why his movies are so good because they’re so precise- because he’s a super movie lover. I think that’s what Randy is. Randy would probably be a screenwriter or want to be a director or something.”

On whether he researched the movies mentioned explicitly in the script or beyond, Kennedy elaborated, “I already saw Halloween a few times, and it’s such a good movie. It’s so good. It still holds up to this day. I watched Nightmare on Elm StreetRosemary’s Baby, and The Exorcist. I already watched a lot of movies, but Randy was more like those classics, but he’s the type of guy that would know I Spit on Your Grave, the original Texas Chain Saw. He’s the type of dude that would know the fan film that inspired. I watched more stuff that was more low-key genre gritty to prepare. I saw a lot of the movies they reference, too.”

The cinematic landscape has changed dramatically since Scream‘s release, especially in a digital and social media-driven age. When asked what Randy would be like if Scream were made today and if he’d still be a savvy cinephile, Kennedy answers, “Oh, yeah, he would definitely be. He’d be mad if he were making movies because there’d be spoilers everywhere, tweets about it, or they would put it in their Instagram story. But he definitely would be savvy, and he would figure out how to use today’s different tools to make the movie he wanted to make. He’d probably say something like, ‘Oh, the killer’s leaving trails on Snapchat.’ Or, ‘Check his YouTube page.’ Or, ‘What’s his subreddit?’ He’d have to go into that. Right?”

The new Scream 4K Ultra HD, Limited-Edition 4K Ultra HD SteelBook, and Blu-ray is available now.