In keeping with the spirit of the original film franchise, MTV’s “Scream” killed off a major character in its third episode on Tuesday.
Riley Marra, the budding horror geek played by Brianne Tju, fell victim to Lakewood’s masked killer at the end of the series’ third episode. Forced to choose between two of her friends, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) made the decision to save mean girl Brooke (Carlson Young), leaving Riley to bleed out on the roof of the police station.
In an interview with TheWrap, Tju talked dying on screen, finding out her character was being killed off so early in the series and her prediction for who the killer might be.
TheWrap: What was it like filming your own death?
Tju: At first when I found out, it was kind of daunting. Especially when I found out how I was going to die, because it was pretty gruesome. But filming the scene, I think what made it easier for me was that the crew and the cast was very supportive. They were giving me tips, because some of them had died before on other shows. And I realized it’s not really something you can prepare for, so filming it was a crazy experience … Actually having to put myself in that position, that was really scary. There was a lot of crying going on. But it was a great experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Did you know from the get-go that your character was going to die or was it a surprise?
I had no idea. So yeah, that was definitely a surprise. I like to say that the writers like to surprise the cast as much as the audience. I think everyone in the cast would agree with that.
How did you find out? Did you read it in the script?
Jill Blotevogel, the showrunner, she’s so sweet. She called me before our first table read in LA, and she let me know what was going to happen before we were even sent the first draft of the script … Thank goodness, because otherwise I would’ve had a little bit of a heart attack reading it. At first it was a little heartbreaking because I fell in love with the character of Riley. But when you sign up for “Scream,” you know what you’re getting yourself into.
What is security like? Was there a lot of pressure to keep spoilers from getting out?
Surprisingly no. They went through all the basics: Don’t tell anyone. Don’t leave your script anywhere. But otherwise, I think the cast and the crew know that the shock-factor and the surprise is so important to the show. And because we’re all supportive of the show, none of us are willing to tell anybody. We all knew our responsibility in being part of the show.
With Bella Thorne reprising her role in flashbacks, there’s room for you to return to the series at some point. Can fans expect to see you in future episodes?
At this point, I’m not sure … I don’t know how far they are into planning that. But I would love to. It’s certainly possible that Riley could appear in flashbacks.
Riley and Noah had been getting a lot closer the last few episodes, how will he deal with her death?
I mean, I would hope that it’s pretty heartbreaking. I think they do like each other a lot, and that was a main reason that the writers wanted to kill Riley off. Because the whole idea behind the show is that they make you care about the characters, and then they kill them off. And it really hurts. To have a really adorable romance that people fall in love with it that’s then taken away, that’s heartbreaking. And it really stays true to what the show’s trying to do.
How do you think this will affect Emma? Do you think she has to take any responsibility for choosing between two of her friends?
Poor Emma. She has so much to deal with. I think it’s going to be pretty heartbreaking for her. She has to deal with the guilt of her friend losing a loved one, kind of because of her. And this is the same thing. She’ll probably feel some kind of guilt for Noah, and for Riley, and for Brooke. All of her friends, really. I mean, it was kind of her fault.
Why do you think Riley was so quick to trust that the texts were from Tyler?
Right off the bat, Riley is a likable character. And that’s what we planned for her. She’s loyal to her friends, and she doesn’t fit the stereotypes. She never thought she couldn’t go out of her social group. She has her own interests and talks to Noah, regardless of his social status. She has a huge heart. I think she trusted Tyler right away because he was one of her friends. She wanted to believe that he was innocent.
Do you know who the killer is? Who are you most suspicious of?
I have no idea who the killer is. I have a feeling that the rest of the cast, and maybe even the writers, don’t know either. Somehow I want to spin it so that it’s Emma, but that doesn’t make sense. Don’t you just kind of want it to be her? But I think it could also be Audrey. But then that’s kind of predictable. It’s just so difficult to guess.
“Scream” airs on MTV Tuesdays at 10 p.m.