Even for a cheeky, self-referential cult franchise, this depiction of a sleazy film exec is bizarrely on-the-nose.
Photos via Dimension Films
Hollywood creep Harvey Weinstein has 329 producer credits on his IMDb page; sadly, he's likely had input on some of your favorite movies—like Carol, which especially hurts. While it doesn't mean that all these movies have been tainted by some sleazy Weinstein touch, one scene in a Weinstein-produced film really sticks out like a meta sore thumb.
Weinstein served as an executive producer on all four of Wes Craven's Scream movies (as well as the TV show of the same name, which is somehow still on the air) and while fans will know how cheeky and self-referential the whole franchise is, there's a scene in the third film that feels uncomfortably real in light of the recent accusations of sexual assault against Hollywood as a whole. Of course, Weinstein likely didn't have any creative say on this scene and it's unclear how pointed Wes Craven and writer Ehren Kruger were being, but it's hard to miss this bizarrely on-the-nose character in a rewatch today.
In Scream 3, which was released in 2000, the events of the first two films (released in 1996 and 1997) are mined for Hollywood popcorn flick material with an entire movie-within-a-movie plot line—giving way to many celeb cameos. Scream's leading final girl Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends and family are all introduced to the Hollywood versions of themselves (including Parker Posey playing the movie version of Courteney Cox's Gale Weathers), along with a bevy of industry execs who descend on the fictional town of Woodsboro, Calif., to make calls behind the scenes.
In Scream 3, Lance Henriksen plays John Milton, a studio exec leading the story's fictional movies (called the Stab franchise). Slight spoiler, but Milton is also revealed to have known Sidney's mother, Maureen Prescott, the first Ghostface victim who was murdered before the story that takes place in the first film. As a young actress, Maureen, who went by the stage name Rina Reynolds, was taken advantage of by sleazy men who promised her roles in exchange for "favors." One night, Milton raped her during a party at his mansion. Now, here's a mega spoiler alert: It turns out that Milton had a son with Maureen/Rina, named Roman Bridger (played by Scott Foley), who not only grew up to be the director of the Stab movies but also the film's actual Ghostface killer. Because Roman was given up for adoption, he never grew up with his sister, Sidney Prescott, and she doesn't find out until the very end that they are related.
But before the big showdown between siblings, there's a scene in which Gale Weathers and her Hollywood doppelganger, Parker Posey's Jennifer Jolie, confront Milton about his abusive past with Maureen. Here's where it gets uncomfortably meta; Milton gives the most man-accused-of-assault excuse a la Harvey Weinstein himself:
"It was in the '70s, everything was different," he says. "I was well known for my parties, Rina knew what they were. It was for girls like her to meet men, men who could get them parts, if they made the right impression. Nothing happened to her that she didn't invite, in one way or another, no matter what she said afterwards."
He continues: "I'm saying things got out of hand. Maybe they did take advantage of her! Maybe the sad truth is, this is not the city for innocence. No charges were brought. And the bottom line is, Rina Reynolds wouldn't play by the rules. You wanna get ahead in Hollywood, you gotta play the game, or go home."
Yikes: the whole "nothing happened to her that she didn't invite" narrative as well as the "things were different back then" angle are all too familiar. The Scream movies have always been great Halloween fare, but be forewarned if you're about to pop in Scream 3 for a spooky time tonight: It's frightening in a way you wouldn't expect.