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How Did the Plot for Scream 4 Stay So Secret?

What kind of precautions have been made to make sure the ending of Scream 4 doesn’t leak?
—Paul R, via Facebook

Oh, don’t stop there. All kinds of productions, including the upcoming reboot of Superman, are adopting extreme measures to keep people clammed up, and that includes celebrities.

Like who?

First, let’s take a closer look at Scream 4.

Obviously this production suffers from a high vulnerability to spoilers. (Here’s a good guess: GHOSTFACE TOTALLY KILLS SOME GIRL AFTER CALLING HER ON THE PHONE!!!!!!) Reveal the end, and it ruins the fun for anyone who wants to see Hayden Panettiere get whacked by someone in a rubber mask. (Or maybe she doesn’t get whacked in this movie. Honestly I have no idea. Full disclosure: I have not seen it. But our reviewer has.)

So. How did the folks at Weinstein make sure that no plot points leaked? Like I said: Extreme measures, little man.

In fact, precautions began even before the stars were signed on. For one, Panettiere was in Europe at the time she was considering her Scream 4 role. So, a source close to the production tells me, “someone flew to Europe to have Hayden read her pages, and then flew back,” with those pages still in hand. The actress didn’t even get to keep a copy.

For the upcoming Superman reboot, the pre-production process was even more secretive. As costar Diane Lane revealed to our Marc Malkin recently: “I read the script under lock and key. I was locked in a room with the script and was only allowed three hours with it. I nailed it into my memory.”

Anyway. Back to Scream 4. Once production began, the filmmakers hired many of the same crew members who had filmed the other Scream movies—people familiar with the secret-keeping process, in other words. And those same people closed the set whenever they needed to shoot a scene involving a plot reveal.

Then came a new tack. After the film wrapped, of course, the studio would have to start screening it for people—test audiences, for one.

“At the beginning we basically asked people to sign a nondisclosure agreement, to not leave here and then Tweet about it,” my source explains.

Later, of course, came screenings for more influential types, namely reviewers and talk show hosts. At this point, you can’t exactly call Jay Leno and order him to shut up about what he sees. Enter another technique: the old-fashioned art of asking nicely.

“We wrote individual little letters, explaining that we hoped they can keep the reveals a secret,” my source says. And you know what? Most people did.

“It becomes a respect thing,” the source explained to me.

That and a fear thing: Reveal the ending, and Harvey Weinstein will send Ghostface to kill you



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