‘Wazzup!’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About the ‘Scary Movie’ Franchise
Largely responsible for bringing spoof movies back into mainstream culture, the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie hit theaters in 2000 with a bang and a bong, spawning a franchise that went from stoner Ghostface to the horror of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan attempting to make a sex tape. With dozens of hit-and-miss jokes a minute, the franchise has left its legacy in the halls of comedy-horror fame, so let’s take a look at the making of these five movies and imagine Marlon Brando taking a giant dump on screen instead of James Woods...
Snoop Dogg Got Mac Miller to Appear in ‘Scary Movie 5’
Snoop Dogg once explained that Mike Epps was originally going to appear alongside him in the film. “Mike Epps cussed Harvey Weinstein, walked out of the set — we didn’t have nobody to play the role,” Snoop said on his web series. The rapper started calling up guys, but nobody answered except for Mac Miller. “And he saved the day, cuz! That’s what hip hop is about — to where it have no color to it,” Snoop added.
’Scary Movie 3’ Was Going to Be a Giant’ Star Wars’ Spoof
Originally titled Scary Movie 3: Episode I — Lord of the Brooms, the third installment was going to parody Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars.
The Movie That Taught Anna Faris How to Make Movies
Scary Movie launched Faris’ career, and she literally learned how to act on film during the shoot. “It’s true, I had no idea what to say when he called ‘Action.’” Farris admitted to Entertainment Weekly, referring to director Keenen Ivory Wayans’ comment that “the fact that she hadn’t done anything before was perfect.” Said Farris: “I turned to (co-star) Jonny (Abrahams) and was like, ‘So wait, what are we supposed to do?’ And he was like, ‘Say your line.’”
Copying the Originals
In an oral history published by Entertainment Weekly, the cast explained how they looked at the films they were spoofing and tried to capture the energy of the original actors. “I tried to do exactly what Jennifer Love Hewitt did (in I Know What You Did Last Summer),” Shannon Elizabeth (who plays Buffy Gilmore in the first installment) explained. “My favorite line was, ‘Oh my God, we hit a boot!’ I remember the movement, how she would pick something up and turn to the rest of the group.”
Regina Hall, who plays series favorite Brenda Meeks, channeled Jada Pinkett Smith. “I just remember watching Jada’s scene in Scream 2, trying to get how she collapsed when she dies in front of an audience,” Hall explained. “I literally tried to die like Jada.”
Chris Elliott Improvised the Turkey Dinner Scene in ‘Scary Movie 2’
“Most of that was improvised,” the There’s Something About Mary actor told Entertainment Weekly. “We shot that scene over four days, and it kept getting more and more insane. The last day, Keenen Ivory Wayans said, ‘Just get loose and do whatever you want to do.’ That was the really bizarre stuff that ended up in the movie. Actually, I’m addicted to turkey after doing that scene. It’s the tryptophan.”
Elliott added that five of those tiny hands were made for the movie, and he even got to keep one.
And Then There Was the ‘Space Jam’ Sequel
Keenen Ivory Wayans only directed the first two installments, with David Zucker of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame taking over for Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4. Malcolm D. Lee, who directed the fifth and final movie, would go on to direct Space Jam: A New Legacy.
That Is, Most Fortunately, Not Leslie Nielsen’s Butt
“There was a body double when you see him from behind,” Zucker told Rotten Tomatoes about Nielsen’s presidential nude scene in Scary Movie 4. “That’s part of my weird job. I have to look at asses,” he added.
The Difference in Directors
“They (the Wayans brothers) had a raunchier tone, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s a specific thing,” Hall said to Rotten Tomatoes about working with Wayans and Zucker. “Keenen is also open about improvisation; David is a little more specific because David loves physical comedy — timing, falling, getting hit and responding to that — so he’s less outlandish, and for him it’s in the dialogue.”
‘Scary Movie 4’ Had a Short Turnaround
During his interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Zucker said that, between his two installments, Scary Movie 4 was the most challenging “because we only had nine months to do it, from conception to release. We worked weekends and nights, mainly because one of the main requirements was to have the two main movies — for Scary 3, there was Signs and The Ring — for this one, we were all set to do The Ring 2, but Ring 2 was not accepted by the audience. It was quickly forgotten. In part, maybe because of Scary Movie 3! So we had to wait for War of the Worlds. But our release date was already set, April 14th, so we all agreed that we were just gonna do it. So for this one, it’s War of the Worlds, The Grudge and a bunch of other movies like Saw.”
Marlon Brando Was Up to Play the Priest in ‘Scary Movie 2’
Brando had agreed to star in the opening sequence of Scary Movie 2, but pneumonia kept him from doing so. James Woods stepped in to spoof The Exorcist via scatological humor and dry-humping the possessed young girl.
Natasha Lyonne, who plays Megan (the Regan version of the movie, in case you didn’t get that), revealed that she possesses the coveted dailies that Brando managed to film before falling ill. Lyonne, naturally, said the experience was bizarre. “(Brando) had an oxygen tank, and he just kind of held my boob because that was in the script,” she remembers. “He was supposed to be like, ‘The power of Christ compels you’ — I just remember being like, ‘Ah, this is the surrealism that André Breton and Salvador Dali were talking about.’”
Kevin Hart’s Second Ever Feature Film
The comedian’s feature film debut was 2002’s Paper Soldier, with Scary Movie 3 being his second.
Not a Fun Time With the Weinsteins
Dimension Films, the genre division of Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films, produced and distributed the Scary Movie franchise. The Wayans brothers had to find out through the media that the Weinsteins had dropped them for Scary Movie 3. “They’re not the best or the kindest people to be in business with,” Marlon Wayans shared with Variety about working with the Weinsteins. “They’re very much an evil regime, I guess. They do what they want to do how they do it — and it can be rude and quite disrespectful. We couldn’t come to terms on the deal. It’s like, ‘If you don’t want to pay for the jokes, have somebody else do it.’ We read on Christmas Eve that they were going with someone else. We probably could have sued or whatever, but part of us was like, ‘All you can do is allow us to create something new.’ I could write a book on that whole thing, honestly. They definitely still owe us money, lots of money. What they did was really bad business.”
Why Cindy Keeps Getting Punched and Kicked Throughout the Series
“That’s been comedy since vaudeville, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers,” Zucker told Rotten Tomatoes, referring to the fact that Faris’ character, Cindy, and many of the other leads often get the shit kicked out of them regardless of their gender.
The Highest-Grossing Horror Spoof
As of this writing, Scary Movie remains the highest-grossing horror spoof in cinematic history. It’s also the second highest-grossing horror comedy after Ghostbusters, and it only took around $19 million to make.
The Alternate Ending
The theatrical ending of Scary Movie 3 sees Cindy and George getting hitched and driving off, leaving the cornfields behind and also Cindy’s son. The alternate ending was far more elaborate, featuring George turning into the Hulk.