‘Scream’: Marley Shelton Recalls First Experience with Wes Craven and Teases the Evolution of Judy Hicks

Scream 4 introduced Marley Shelton‘s Judy Hicks, the awkward lemon-square baking deputy to Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette). The character served as a red herring and a source of conflict between Dewey and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) but established herself as a valuable ally by the film’s end.

During the production of the new Scream, Shelton spoke with the press about Wes Craven’s legacy and reprising her role.

This time around, the filmmaking team includes directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett and producer Chad Villella, the three members of the filmmaking group known as Radio Silence (Ready or Not V/H/SSouthbound). Their involvement meant no hesitance on Shelton’s part in reprising her role.

They did such a great job capturing that similar tone of being funny and scary at the same time, which is so unique to the Scream movies. What a perfect idea to have these guys direct this and infuse it obviously with their own style and creativity. But also carry on Wes’ legacy. I jumped at the chance to be able to work with them. Jamie Vanderbilt wrote the script, who’s a very acclaimed screenwriter. Kenny Williamson is still involved. This is a dream team. I thought the script, too, was fantastic and well thought out and captured that essence of the other Scream movies while also being its own new thing. I was like, ‘Sign me up.'”

Pictured: Scream 4

Shelton recalls her initial experience working with Wes Craven on Scream 4, “I was such a huge fan of his going into it that I was just incredibly humbled and excited to get to work with him. I remember the first day I got there, I had been traveling from Europe, and I was jet-lagged. I was in the hotel room, it was dark, and I got this phone call. I answered my phone, and the voice was, ‘Hello, Marley.’ It honestly sounded like a ghost. It was Wes Craven calling just to check in and see how I was doing. But it sounded like Ghostface to me, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. I have Ghostface on the line.’ It just felt so real. Like life imitating art. Anyway. He was the coolest. He’s so brilliant and personable. He has such a philosophy about the value of horror films. Psychologically, for audiences, he really believes that they’re a cathartic healthy thing for our psyche. It was just awesome to participate in his vision, of course. I was a huge fan of the Scream franchise, so I just felt honored.”

Where is Judy Hicks now, you ask? 

“That has been the fun of this experience with Judy, to make her still very much Judy that everyone knew from the last one. But also, what has she evolved into, and a couple of things about her in this movie, is she’s no longer Deputy Judy Hicks. She’s now Sheriff Judy Hicks. She has evolved in her career. She also has a teenage son who’s amazing, played by Dylan Minnette. That adds all kinds of interesting ingredients into the mix,” Shelton says of her return.

Dylan Minnette (“Wes”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s Scream

When asked if fans can expect more between Judy, Gail, and Dewey, she answered, “Obviously, I can’t reveal too much about the twists and turns. But I will say that we definitely explore those relationships. To me, that has been the most fun part of all of this.”

As of this interview, production was still underway and under secrecy. So much secrecy that even the cast remained in the dark. Shelton shared, “The filmmakers have been very careful. They have only released the script to us up to page 77. We don’t know who Ghostface actually is. We don’t know which one of us is the killer, and we will not know that until they shoot the scenes at the end of our production. In the Scream world, everyone is a suspect, right. Everyone’s a potential suspect or potential victim. It’s been fun to try to live that out on the day when we’re shooting. It makes it fun. Judy Hicks, of course, is very righteous, and sunny side up and optimistic, and a woman of the law. But I think just human nature alone has a dark side, so I think that that is thematically a little bit what we’re playing within this. As in all the Scream movies.”

Scream returns, in theaters only, on January 14, 2022.