Jamie Kennedy freely admits he felt slightly out of place when he was cast as horror geek Randy Meeks in the Wes Craven-directed future hit Scream (1996). There were bold-face names like Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Rose McGowan and Matthew Lillard… and then Kennedy, whose most notable credit, up until that point, was being an extra in Dead Poet's Society. Even Drew Barrymore got credited over him on the film's poster, and (spoiler) she doesn't last beyond the first five minutes.
But Kennedy's Randy quickly became a fan favorite as the first film not only became a box office sensation, but rejuvenated the horror genre — largely because Randy stood in for so many horror fanatics watching along. He worked in a video store and routinely spouted off the "rules" of horror movies that the film winked at in all its self-referential ways.
Yet while Scream launched three subsequent sequels, Randy made an early exit when he was picked off by Ghostface only about halfway through 1997's Scream 2. (He appeared briefly and posthumously in a fittingly tropey "If you're watching this video, that means I'm dead" message in 2000's Scream 3.) And even now, Scream fans are prone to lament the fact that Randy was killed way too early.
What does Kennedy think?
"To this day people come up to me [all the time] and say, 'You should have never died! You should have never died!,'" Kennedy told Yahoo Entertainment in a recent interview (watch above). "And so yeah, I would have liked not to have died, it would have been nice to keep going, but I understand people have to die."
Kennedy, who's continued to work in the genre over the years and can currently be seen in the indie horror thriller Trick, said the actors were only given pages of the script at a time so even they weren't aware who was masquerading as the film's iconic slasher.
"I found out I was gonna die the night or two before," he said.
"Honestly, if you really want my opinion, I think the stars are stars. So you have Courteney, [she's] a huge star, you can't kill her off. Neve's our ingenue, holds it together, so you can't kill her off. There was a time when Dewey almost died, and David will tell you, they did a thing with the 'thumbs up' and he came back to life."
Kennedy is referring to test screenings the filmmakers held for the first Scream — in which Arquette's goofy cop Dewey originally died — before audiences voiced that they'd rather see him survive, and Craven stitched a last-minute scene onto the film revealing he was still alive. They did not give Randy the same courtesy, though.
"I think in hindsight, they would've liked to keep him," Kennedy said.
Watch the trailer for Trick, which is now in theaters and on demand and digital:
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