Jenna Ortega, who was so good on Netflix’s stalker series You last season, has joined the growing cast of Scream 5 according to Deadline.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette are set to reprise their roles as Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley, respectively, while Neve Campbell is in talks to return as Sidney Prescott. Meanwhile, In the Heights star Melissa Barrera joined the cast earlier this week, and both her and Ortega’s roles are being kept under wraps. Perhaps the two of them will be the new Billy and Stu. You never know…
Ready or Not filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence will direct from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) and Guy Busick (Castle Rock). Vanderbilt will produce with his Project X Entertainment partners Paul Neinstein and William Sherak, while Scream creator Kevin Williamson will executive produce with Radio Silence’s Chad Villella. Spyglass Media is mounting the latest Scream movie, which will be distributed by Paramount. Casting is currently heating up, as production is slated to start in Wilmington, North Carolina before the end of the year.
In addition to congratulating Ortega, I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one, as it was back in mid-December when I tweeted: “Prediction: @JennaOrtega is going to be a major star, and every studio/network is going be chasing her one day.” See, I have an eye for young talent, and I had such a strong feeling about Ortega that I knew it wouldn’t be long before she landed a major franchise.
What’s also interesting about her casting in Scream 5 is that the franchise seems to be embracing diversity this time around, which is a good thing. I almost wrote something about this following the casting of Mexican actress Barrera, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a one-off. According to Wikipedia, Ortega’s father is of Mexican American descent and her mother is of Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry, and it’s very interesting that the first additions to this franchise are two young women of color.
See, it’s my understanding, as a longtime industry reporter, that Latinx audiences tend to love horror movies, and that if a movie can appeal to that demo, it’s more likely to be a box office hit. Paramount knows this thanks to movies like Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and the studio is wise to listen to that data. Scream has always been a very white franchise — with the notable exception of the opening scene in Scream 2 — so it’s nice to see the studio change with the times. The directors are also coming off the lily-white genre movie Ready or Not, so perhaps they set out to make their next picture more inclusive, which bodes well for the future of the franchise, should it continue beyond this fifth film.
Prior to playing Ellie on the second season of You, Ortega was likely best known for her turn as the younger version of Gina Rodriguez‘s title character on the CW series Jane the Virgin. Ortega will soon be seen opposite Jennifer Garner in Yes Day, and alongside Bella Thorne in the Netflix sequel The Babysitter: Killer Queen. She also wrapped the Michael Bay-produced pandemic thriller Songbird, which co-stars Bradley Whitford and Demi Moore.