The Wayans Brothers are no strangers to ribald satire. The creators of television's "In Living Color" and the feature films i'm gonna Git You Sucka (1988) and don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996) the Wayans go even further to the edge with SCARY MOVIE, thumbing their noses at everything they see, and disregarding age, gender, race and social status as barriers to laughter.
After cracking up over one too many recent horror films, Keenen Ivory Wayans decided to take on the genre - but he couldn't just stop there. "SCARY MOVIE is more than a parody of one type of entertainment; it's all sorts of comedies rolled into one: a sex comedy, a youthful comedy, a comedic thriller and more," says Wayans. "It all started when I realized that many of today's horror films and thrillers are really just updates of the 70s classics I grew up on: Halloween (1978) Friday the 13th (1980) Nightmare On Elm Street, A (1984), etcetera. But even though the faces have changed, they're still filled with the same hilarious moments we've come to expect - moments begging to be spoofed."
To slash at the core of the slasher formulas, the Wayans rounded up a team of the best young comics, sexy up-and-coming actors/actresses and new discoveries. Director Wayans notes: "It's really an exciting group of people. Everybody is perfect for the part they play and each of them has worked very hard. We rehearsed for two weeks before we starting shooting and I had all of them do homework assignments on their characters. They really did it and it shows. We also improvised a lot on this film and a lot of funny stuff comes out of that."
Equally warped and extreme are the visuals of SCARY MOVIE, which are part and parcel of the parody, from a wild new look at the "Blair Witch" woods to unprecedented uses for Matrix, the (1999)'s" slow-mo special effects. Director of photography Francis Kenny (She's All That (1999)) evokes the manic mood with his camera work while production designer Robb Wilson King (Rush Hour (1998) Set It Off (1996) Moonlight and Valentino (1995)) and costume designer Darryle Johnson (Wood, the (1999) Boyz N the Hood (1991) had fun with the film's overall outrageous look.
Shawn Wayans portrays Ray, the star football player (who often finds the closet a bit restricting). "He's your typical jock with a flip," says Wayans. "He's got a great girlfriend, named Brenda. She's great because she lets him go off and do his own little thing, and then he comes right back to home." Wayans, who also contributed as a writer, adds that working with this group was a memorable experience, "I think this is one of the strongest casts I've worked with since 'In Living Color'. The movie was written funny, but these people are adding their own humor to it and taking it to another level." On working with family, Wayans adds, "I love working with my brothers. It reminds me of being at home (but I get paid a lot more money)."
Marlon Wayans plays Shorty, the films geek/pothead who knows all the rules for an African American man trying to survive a thriller/horror movie and would prove to be a great help if he weren't always so stoned. Shorty takes high school to a whole new level. On his character, Wayans says, "Shorty's the outsider of the crew. He observes all that is going on. He doesn't normally go to the thriller/horror flicks because he sits at home and watches the bootlegs... and then talks about how stupid the characters in those films can be." He adds, "so, my character is kind of like the character Randy in 'Scream,' only if he was black. It's the point of view of what a young brother in that situation would really do." As for working with his family, Wayans says, "All we do is laugh. Even when we're not working, we're laughing. The only thing is, being the youngest, they make me do errands. So, I made sure that we brought my younger nephew around the set so that we could bully him into doing all that stuff."
Cheri Oteri is the overzealous and cutthroat TV news reporter, Gail Hailstorm. On her character, Oteri says, "I spend more time berating my cameraman, Kenny, than actually getting the story. In this one scene, (after lashing out at Kenny), I fight to get Cindy's attention, so I literally fight her to get it. This aggressive behavior seems appropriate for a Gail, as her stations motto states, 'We bring you the news before it happens!'" Oteri adds, "working with Keenen and this cast was so much fun. We all just had a really great time with it."
Shannon Elizabeth is Buffy, the most beautiful girl in high school who believes that no shirt is too low cut and no boy is off limits. "Buffy is the leader of the pack who is very materialistic and must date the hottest guy in school," states Elizabeth. "But, she's also painfully stupid. She is so much fun to play because you can say or do anything with her and its never over-the-top." Elizabeth adds, "I thought the script was hilarious, and then when we were shooting, Keenen was able to push things even further and find even more jokes. He does such a good job at getting what he wants out of a scene and making things funny."
One of the Wayans' discoveries was the film's star Anna Faris, an actress who had never even been to Los Angeles for an audition, prior to trying out for the part of Cindy. Anna makes her feature film debut as Cindy Campbell, the all-American girl-next-door who oozes more sweetness than Donna Reed, especially when dealing with her drug dealing father or her sex-starved boyfriend. "Anna did an incredible job," says Keenen Ivory Wayans. "Her character is sort of a compilation of every sexy young actress you have ever seen at the center of a teen film - a mix of that whole Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt style, but with her own warped reality."
Jon Abrahams plays Bobby, Cindy's beloved. "Bobby's basically Skeet Ulrich's character from Scream (1996), combined with Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s character from I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), with a little bit of Josh Hartnett from Halloween H20 - 20 Years Later (1998) Actually, he is just the epitome of every teenage guy wanting to get into his girlfriends pants."
Lochlyn Munro plays Greg, high school's popular guy and player on the football team. "He's just a little intense," says Munro of his testosterone-filled character. "Greg is always kind of pumped up. He's just going through some hormonal changes, I guess."
Regina Hall portrays Brenda, Cindy's best friend and Ray's girlfriend who is all that and more! States Hall, "She's just too much. Brenda is all about being in the know. She's a hip-hop girl and a slave to fashion-- she needs to maintain her popular status!" She continues, "we had fun with the characters and their issues. We got to make fun of everything from A to Z."
Carmen Electra plays Drew Decker, the beautiful high school girl with problem flatulence. Electra loved working in a parody. "It's completely insane, crazy, and funny," explains Electra, "the reason that I was so interested in playing this role is because it's great to be able to make fun of yourself. I've worked on so many sets where it's so uptight, and you know, for instance "Baywatch," and you're taking it so serious, and there's so many times I wanted to trip and fall in the sand, or you know... hit someone over the head with the rescue cad, or you know, make fun of it. And that's what's so great about this film because these movies are so popular, these scary teen movies, and now we get to go on there and have fun with it."
Dave Sheridan plays Doofy, whose name says it all. "He's a student, a special ed. student, who just wants to be a cop. So, they let him hang out at the police station as long as he doesn't get in the way, which he tends to do a little bit... Doofy really has a crush on Cindy, so he treats her extra special."
The production team of SCARY MOVIE includes producers Eric Gold (Partner of The Gold/Miller Company, producer of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1998)and television's "In Living Color") and Lee Mayes (producer of Multiplicity (1996), Rudy (1993) and the upcoming Duets (2000)). Lisa Suzanne Blum (The Gold/Miller Company) serves as co-producer. Brad Grey (CEO of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment), Peter Safran (Brillstein-Grey Entertainment), and Bo Zenga are executive producers. The screenplay was written by Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.