(Update 5/27 4 p.m. PT: Entertainment Weekly reports that "Twilight" star Ashley Greene’s deal has fallen through and Emma Roberts ("Hotel for Dogs") has landed the lead role in ‘Scream 4.’ She’s a much better choice to play Neve Campbell’s cousin.)
"Twilight" actress Ashley Greene, "Heroes" heroine Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin are all currently weighing offers to star in Dimension’s "Scream 4" along side Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and newcomer Lake Bell, who is in negotiations to play a police officer who knew Campbell’s character in high school, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Should the deals close, Greene would play Campbell’s cousin who is essentially the heroine of the movie, while Culkin would be her potential love interest with Panettiere playng her nerdy best friend — a film geek similar to Jamie Kennedy’s character in the original.
Casting is reportedly proceeding slowly because director Wes Craven and Dimension are only sending out character descriptions to agencies rather than Kevin Williamson’s full screenplay, for fear of its many surprises being spoiled online. As a result, actors are having a tough time deciding whether or not to take certain roles. The shroud of secrecy is expected to continue with the inevitable "Scream 5," which Williamson is already under contract to write.
Craven and Williamson are producing "Scream 4" with Craven’s wife, Iya Labunka. TheWrap broke the story that "Scream" producer Cathy Konrad is suing Bob and Harvey Weinstein for allegedly cutting her out of the sure-to-be-successful project.
Greene continues to be touted as a young starlet on the rise in Hollywood, but for the life of me, I wouldn’t recognize her if she walked into TheWrap’s offices right now, although she does look like a brunette Katie Cassidy, so I guess I’m a fan. I have no idea how well she can "scream" or run upstairs when she should be going out the front door, but she will have horror-thriller experience heading into the production, as she next toplines Todd Lincoln’s "The Apparition." Besides that film, she stars opposite her "Breaking Dawn" co-star Kellan Lutz in "Warrior," and also has a supporting role in the Weinstein Co.’s ensemble comedy "Butter." Additionaly, Green was recently rumored to be a potential candidate to replace Megan Fox in "Transformers 3."
Panettiere is another cute actress but I’m not sure why she’d accept a back-seat role as Greene’s best friend at this point in her career. Shouldn’t the "Heroes" star be the heroine, or did people really hate "I Love You Beth Cooper" that much? Panettiere next stars in Lawrence Roeck’s art forgery drama "Carmel" with Josh Hutcherson and Alfred Molina, as well as the animated film "Alpha and Omega," and she too was mentioned by AICN as a possible replacement for Fox in "Transformers 3."
Culkin is obviously the highlight of this semi-announcement. He’d clearly be the best actor of anyone in the cast, including the returning trio. Part of me wonders why he’d actually stoop to playing a side character/boyfriend-type in a slasher sequel but the other part recognizes that "Scream 4" would probably be a good career move, as I’m guessing that not many teenage girls saw his impressive turn in the Martini Brothers’ "Lymelife." Unfortunately, Rory is still known as Macaulay Culkin’s little brother, but trust me, this Culkin is one of the best young actors in Hollywood. He’s a showbiz veteran who swung for the fences and connected in "Signs," "Mean Creek," "Down in the Valley," and most memorably, in Kenneth Lonergan’s "You Can Count on Me." Culkin next appears in Joel Schumacher’s gritty teen drug drama "Twelve" and is set to star opposite Ray Liotta in Larry Clark’s next film, "Savage Innocent."
Bell recently starred on HBO’s "How to Make It in America." She was last seen on the big screen in "It’s Complicated," and provides a voice in DreamWorks Animation’s "Shrek Forever After," which hits theaters today.
Production on "Scream 4" is scheduled to begin in Michigan in July. The sequel will no doubt make a killing at the box office when it opens on April 15, 2011.