The wait is nearly over, Scream fans! We’re only a few days away from the release of Scream (2022) and to get you in the mood for all the murderous mayhem, we’ve got an interview with Marley Shelton on tap today. During the recent press day for the Scream sequel, Daily Dead spoke with Shelton about the thrill of getting to return to Woodsboro once again and she discussed how her character has evolved over the last decade. Shelton also chatted about the struggles her character faces in Scream (2022), how this latest film pays tribute to Wes Craven, reuniting with her Scream 4 co-stars and more.

Look for more on Scream (2022) all this week, right here on Daily Dead.

Great to speak with you today, Marley. I know it's been a little over 10 years since the last movie and now you're coming in and working with new directors and everything. I’m guessing you probably would say yes anyway, because Judy was such a fun part of part four, but was there something specific about being approached for this story with these filmmakers where you were like, "Yes, I really want to be a part of this?"

Well, just the unique opportunity to be able to reprise a role, especially picking it up 10 years later. And we played with the passage of time in the plot and I had never had that type of opportunity before. So as an actor, it was really exciting, like, "Okay, where is she now? How has she evolved? How has she changed? What's the same? What are the constant through lines for her?" And in this one, it's not a plot spoiler, but I have a teenage son. There are all kinds of evolutions that have gone on for Judy. She's no longer Deputy Judy Hicks, she's Sheriff Hicks now. So I was excited to sink my teeth into just playing her again and, of course, to be able to get to do another installment of the Scream franchise. It was pointed out to me this morning that Judy Hicks is the only character to be introduced in one of the sequels and then make it into a later installment. ​​So I was like, "Oh, cool. I've got my own calling card here. That's pretty awesome."

Oh, definitely. This brings us to a really interesting point that I wanted to talk about because Judy has a sense of optimism to her at the beginning of part four, even though she's still on the job and she's still focused and things like that. How did you see her in this Scream? Because now all that stress that was on Dewey in Scream 4 is now on her, and all these murders are happening again. She's now the sheriff and has to bear that weight, but ultimately, she also has to keep her kid safe too in the middle of it. I just thought it was a really interesting way to explore female professionals who have to juggle a lot of responsibilities all at once.

Well, I think it's twofold. I think that Judy is really psyched to now be the boss lady. I think she loves and owns the role of being the sheriff and getting to do things her way and run the show how she wants to run it. But I also think she's deeply saddened by what's happened to Dewey because he was her hero. She was his lackey, for lack of a better word. She hung on his every word and order and she idolized him. When we find Dewey, he's sort of lost his way in this current installment. And so, I think that had to have been just a crusher for her. I think that was a big blow for her to have her hero fall from grace.

And then you add the element, which you pointed out, of her having a teenage son, where there’s that protective mother bear instinct. It's set up pretty early on that Wes is somewhat of a mama's boy and she is an overprotective single mother, a helicopter mom, if you will. And so I think that she definitely has a controlling personality that I think she takes a little bit out on her son and that’s on top of getting to be the sheriff of Woodsboro, too.

For me, when I was growing up, I think one of the reasons that I always fell in love with a lot of Wes Craven's movies is because his stories focused a lot on the struggles of single parentdom, and you see it in a lot of his movies. I was somebody who grew up in a single-parent house, and I liked the back and forth that you and Dylan had here because I thought it felt genuine, you could feel the warmth. Can you talk about working on that dynamic with him? 

Oh, sure. And I think, just also alluding to your point earlier, I think Judy will always maintain her sunshiney positive disposition, no matter what's going on. It's just ingrained in her. It's just part of her DNA. So it's even more comical when that butts up against real-life terrifying situations, and how she calibrates with that. But in regards to Wes, I think that it was delicious to play, to take a poke at the overprotective helicopter parent who happens to also be the town sheriff. What would happen if a helicopter mom got to also be the town sheriff or vice versa? She has more tools at her disposal than the average person. And Dylan was so great at playing that, where he loves his mom and he respects his mom, but also, he wants to just be a cool kid and there’s that push/pull for him. And of course, we took it up several notches, but it is a dynamic that a lot of teens have with their parents, right?

I think Wes Craven always did such a great job of digging into his characters. He had a background in psychology, and so he always made all of his characters psychologically interesting and complicated and rich to play, and I think that's why we care about them so much. Even though they can be really quirky and eccentric, I think they're fascinating and they're interesting and we get attached to them and we're invested in them. So then when the death sequences come, we're that much more horrified, which, that's the real hook. I think that's one of the factors that makes the horror genre work so well.

I've been following Radio Silence ever since their V/H/S days and I’m a huge fan of their work. I was just curious, how was the atmosphere on set for you as someone who has been a part of this series before? Did you have a blast working with them and also reuniting with the legacy cast as well?

Oh, yes. I think Matt and Tyler went to great lengths to pay proper homage and stay true to the format, and to the original, and to what Wes Craven set in motion. But then they also, thankfully, were allowed to add their own style and touches of filmmakers. And so it's a really beautiful blend. I think it's pretty seamless, with the infusion of this brand new cast, too. But I was really taken with just the emphasis and focus on the doing right by Wes Craven, like really creating an homage, the reverence, and the respect for what he started. They really tried to do right by him and I think it shows in this movie.

Also, for us, to answer your point about what it's like to be reunited, it felt like a reunion, to be with the legacy cast again and see them. It's been several years and so it was just almost like a high school reunion, just like, "Oh my gosh," like just, "Where are you now? What's happened? Do you have any more kids? Marriages, divorces, what's going on?" So it was delightful.

I wanted to talk about this because I think that you're very much a modern day Scream Queen in your own way because of the different films that you've been involved with throughout your career. I know you've worked across all different genres, but I'm curious, is there something particularly compelling about getting to come and play in the horror space for you as a performer?

Yes. I really love suspense and I think suspense lends itself to cinema, obviously, because you can create it. And so I'm fascinated by it and what makes it, like one shot following after the other and teasing moments out and then jump scares or whatever it is. I've always been attracted to the genre. I think for me, it's more a question of if it's done well. I love all kinds of genres, but I love the horror and thriller genre when it's done well. And thankfully, I've been able to be a part of several movies that I feel like have been done well in that genre. But, yeah, I think that there's something very visceral about horror. I think it's a catharsis as an audience to see these movies and to participate. And so it's fun to get to make them and be on that side of it. But I really do love getting to jump around as much as I can into different worlds, different genres, different styles. That's one of the joys for me of doing this.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.