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Actor and talk show host Drew Barrymore rocked horror audiences with her iconic appearance in the original Scream film. And according to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the movie as soon as she read the script.

However, she also couldn’t believe there wasn’t a cover letter attached with a very specific message.  

Drew Barrymore in a zig-sag print dress (left) and Courteney Cox in a black blazer (right).
Drew Barrymore and Courteney Cox | Dave Benett/Getty Images

Drew Barrymore: ‘Seriously, this is irresponsible.’

Originally, Barrymore was sent the script for 1996’s Scream with interest in her taking on the role of the franchise’s final girl, Sidney Prescott. Notably, the character is still played by Neve Campbell in the latest movie, Scream, released in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022.

Though Barrymore noted the “genre had been quiet for a while,” she was majorly impressed — and seemingly frightened — by Kevin Williamson’s scriptwriting. “It was so well-written that it was ours to mess up,” Barrymore said, per HuffPost.

The star shared one complaint, though. She read the script at home alone at night. Resultingly, she was “so upset” and “so flipped out” about how much it “terrified” her.

“I can’t believe there wasn’t a cover letter that said, ‘Don’t read this alone if you’re a girl,’” she explained. “I was like, ‘Seriously, this is irresponsible.’”

But Barrymore felt having that fear meant the script would do well on film.

Drew Barrymore knew ‘Scream’ would be a good horror movie because the script ‘terrified’ her

The script filled Barrymore with terror, which is arguably required for a good horror script. So, she knew she wanted to attach herself to Scream. As a result, she became a little “bullish” because it was “so good.”

“I was so messed up, but I thought, ‘God, if it’s that good in the writing, can you imagine how good it will be when it comes to life?’” she said, per HuffPost. “In a movie where I knew there was going to be a lot of tongue-in-cheek, I wanted it to seem very real and high-stakes.”

During an episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, she disclosed she ultimately made the decision to give up her original role. According to her, she let go of Sidney after having a “weird revelation.”

As she told it, she correctly predicted the film would be more impactful if the female lead — who is perceived to be safe by the audience — became a victim. So, Barrymore said she asked to play the role of Casey Becker instead. She described it as taking away a “cliché safety net” from the genre.

Drew Barrymore believed in the ‘Scream’ script


Drew Barrymore and the Very Peculiar Interview — Was it Fake?

While talking about Scream on The Drew Barrymore Show, Barrymore revealed that she was “sort of producing the movie silently” behind the scenes. She explained that meant she was “basically trying to get the production off the ground without a credit.”

But she said that was “fine” because she had a lot of hope for the project. She was convinced the script had “really hit it out of the park” for the horror genre and it excited her about making the film. In the end, she seemingly just wanted to see it move forward.

So, the cover letter might have been nice for Barrymore at the time. But, maybe the script wouldn’t have impressed her as much if she hadn’t been alone when she read it. Either way, her feelings about her fear were right — the movie was a lasting hit with audiences.