When “Scream” came out in 1996, Drew Barrymore had already made a name for herself as a child star, and she was now a well-known young actress who could garner interest in a film. However, in a recent interview for Rolling Stone, the writer of “Scream,” Kevin Williamson surprisingly said that Alicia Silverstone was actually the originally intended actress to star in that famous opening sequence. “I remember at the time we wanted the Janet Leigh [“Psycho”] opening,” he explains. “We went after Alicia Silverstone to play Casey Becker, and Drew Barrymore was attached to play Sidney Prescott.”
Silverstone had recently starred in “Clueless,” so her name would have been a pretty good fit for the part of Casey. However, Barrymore was really drawn to the opening scene. Williamson explains, “As we moved forward, Drew really just wanted to be in the opening scene. She loved it. And she was the biggest name, so we thought, ‘OK, that’s how we’ll get our Janet Leigh moment.'” In an interview for the YouTube show, “Hot Ones,” Barrymore explained why she gave up playing the lead for the role of Casey, instead. “In the horror film genre, my biggest pet peeve was that I always knew the main character was gonna be like slugging through at the end, but was gonna creak by and make it,” she said. “What I wanted to do is to take that comfort zone away, so I asked if I could be Casey Becker so that we would establish that that rule does not apply in this film.”
Williamson also tells Rolling Stone that a lot of actresses auditioned for those parts in “Scream,” including the late Brittany Murphy. Ultimately though, the parts were cast perfectly, leading to one of the horror genre’s best on-screen moments ever.