One of the reasons the original Scream worked so well was because of its perfect cast, each member of the ensemble serving a part just as important to the story as the next person. Among them was Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks, the horror-loving nerd who attributes his survival in that first movie to his virginity. It’s definitely a character that needed the right person in the role to be effective, and it’s impossible at this point to imagine anyone but Kennedy in that part.
In a new Scream cast and crew interview with THR, Jamie Kennedy explains how his casting as Randy was not the studio’s preferred decision. They were apparently hoping to get a bigger name into the role, and at that time, Kennedy’s work as an actor was very limited. Director Wes Craven saw more potential in Kennedy, however, fighting for him to get the part. The lack of credits was of no concern to Craven, as he was the filmmaker who launched the career of a then-unknown Johnny Depp with A Nightmare on Elm Street. As Kennedy says:
“When I read the breakdown, it said Randy was a lanky, gangly, opinionated fifth wheel, who really has a love and passion for movies and begins to dismantle these murders and start piecing things together. I just read that and was like, ‘Oh, that’s me.’ Wes had to fight, because the studio liked Jason Lee because he was on Mallrats. They liked Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, all the guys that I would always go up against, and they’re all great, but I was lucky. I’ll never forget this. Wes said, ‘Johnny Depp didn’t have any credits.’ If he didn’t stick his neck out for me, you would not be talking to me today.”
After 25 years, Jamie Kennedy still remembers how much fun he had making Scream at the time. He even recalls getting emotional as the shoot was coming to an end, with co-star Courteney Cox comforting him at a moment when he even started to cry.
“Wes said to me, ‘When you’re making a horror movie, the experience doesn’t have to be horrific.’ It’s one of the greatest quotes I ever heard. We made this crazy movie, but we drank wine at night and had these civilized dinners. Toward the end of the shoot, I was getting really sad that the movie was ending and I started to cry. Courteney was like, ‘Oh, honey. Don’t cry. This is the way it is. It’s summer camp.’ I’m like, ‘But this is my life.’ She goes, ‘No, honey. It’s only your life for three months, but we all have a bond that we’ll never forget.'”
Randy Meeks survived the original Scream, but he was unfortunately killed off in the sequel Scream 2. He was, however, worked into Scream 3 by way of a video said to be recorded before the character’s death. With Randy long dead, there’s been no logical way to really bring him back for Scream 4 or the upcoming Scream getting released in January, but he’ll always be seen as one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. You can read the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter.