Marley Shelton began her acting career in her late teens, and appeared in several 1990s’ television movies and shows. She made her film debut in the critically acclaimed drama “Grand Canyon” (1991), and was cast in the films “The Sandlot” (1993), “Nixon” (1995), and “Warriors of Virtue” (1997). Shelton subsequently appeared in “Pleasantville” (1998) and “Never Been Kissed” (1999). Although those parts were supporting roles, both made Shelton a more-known star, and for which she found a wider fame.
In 2001, Shelton had her first starring role in the black comedy “Sugar & Spice”, and appeared as one of the main characters in the teen horror film “Valentine”. Shelton then appeared, playing supporting roles in the films “Uptown Girls” (2003), “Sin City” (2005), and “The Last Kiss” (2006). After getting a significant role in the double-feature film “Grindhouse” (2007), she received the lead role in the CBS show “Eleventh Hour”. In 2009, Shelton starred in “A Perfect Getaway” and subsequently had a role in “Scream 4” (2011).
Whew! What an impressive career! This latest installment, “Scream 4”, is what I had the honor and pleasure to talk to Marley about in the fall of 2011. But you know me, I had to ask a few other questions first…
Although a die-hard horror fan, my softer side appreciates the talents of Mandy Moore, and I had to ask about her (they both appear in “American Dreamz”). I wasn’t able to get any dirt, but Marley confirmed that Mandy is “such a lovely girl”, as well as “sweet and talented”. Some day, Mandy, some day we will meet…
With Marley playing Dr. Dakota Block in both parts of “Grindhouse”, I had to know what it was like being one character with two directors. Not surprisingly, “there was so much cross-pollination going on between Quentin and Robert throughout the whole project” and “they shared office space”. While each film is their own, it may be hard to really divide them up, as “it was a natural collaboration, with Quentin piping in during the filming of Planet Terror”. All in all, it was a “really incredible experience”. I believe it!
When I spoke with Wes Craven, I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. I have become accustomed to talking with actors and directors, but for a horror fan Craven is the biggest name around. Marley actually felt the same way, confirming that Wes is “kind of intimidating” and has a “distinct personality”. She was a fan of his and “studied his early exploitation films to prepare for Grindhouse, listened to all his DVD commentaries”. She was excited to recall her “quintessential Wes Craven moment”… “I had just arrived, I was holed up in my hotel room and watching the first three Scream films to re-familiarize myself… I’m scared, I have the shades drawn…” Then, Wes called and did his best Ghostface impression — “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Too cool.
Marley says, “There were so many ways to go with Judy Hicks”, especially since Kevin Williamson and Wes have “genius sensibilities”, including when it comes to red herrings. The Scream franchise is a “two-hander between Kevin and Wes”, it’s “their brainchild” and they “broke ground” together on the cross between horror and self-reference — it’s hard to say where Kevin leaves off and Wes begins, it’s their vision together, a “true collaboration”. I said that a film could not really be a “Scream” film without both Kevin and Wes on board, and she agreed wholeheartedly.
Once the script leaves Kevin’s hands and goes to Wes, Wes “knows exactly what he wants”, and he’s “really good at creating suspense”. The plot may be worked out on the page, but it is Wes Craven that adapts it into what can be considered a “Scream” film. This is a man who reinvented horror time and time again for over 30 years.
I met David Arquette a few years ago, and he is a crazy guy… David has also been a friend of Marley’s for quite a while, since they worked together on “Never Been Kissed”. So playing his deputy is like working with a “big brother”. But, who knows? She says “maybe next thing we know Judy will be gunning for his position”.
The most interesting tidbit, though, was being told of the “Scream Bible”, a book of about 1000 pages that was created by an unidentified assistant. The book has every character, their history, relationships to others… it makes sure the films stay “canon” but also goes beyond that to give the characters depth. This is the kind of book any “Scream” fan would die for… and also the place to find hints for a “Scream 5” (if such a film every gets made).
Marley Shelton, you are amazing, and I thank you!