Scream VI features the return of Scream (2022)’s survivors as well as longtime franchise star Courteney Cox, but they’re not the only returning actors from the wide world of Scream. Hayden Panettiere is back for the first time since she made her debut as Kirby Reed in Scream 4 in 2011. Kirby was stabbed in the fourth film, but fans have spent the last decade convinced she didn’t die. In the fifth Scream, an easter egg confirmed Kirby was still alive, and fans were thrilled when her Scream VI return was officially announced last year. Not only does Scream VI mark Panettiere’s return to Scream, but it also marks her first time acting in four years. Her last film appearance was in Custody in 2016 and her last television appearance was in Nashville in 2018. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Panettiere admitted she was nervous to return to acting.
“It was daunting, honestly,” Panettiere shared. “I was a little bit worried. I was worried that I couldn’t act anymore. I mean, I took four years off. I had to remind myself of what I could do and to make sure that I could still do it. But I knew I made the right decision. This was the best, the best first movie back that I could have dreamt of. It was like coming home. I was 21 when I did Scream 4, and Wes Craven, the whole cast, the whole crew, it was such a family. I was hoping to find the same thing here, and I very definitely did. Matt [Bettinelli-Olpin] and Tyler [Gillett] and the whole cast. I mean, just incredible, just incredible people.”
During the interview, Panettiere also talked about her experience making the fourth film.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life and my career,” Panettiere said of taking the role of Kirby. “Wes was so warm and kind, and considerate, and like a father,” She added, “He takes his time to teach you how to do a horror movie, how to work with the timing, the anticipation. He’s like, ‘It might seem long to you, it might seem like it takes too long to you, but the timing has to be perfect.’ He taught me the art of that. He was a wonderful human being.”
How Did Hayden Panettiere’s Scream Return Happen?
Scream (2022) and Scream VI directors, Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, previously said they considered having Panettiere make a cameo in the fifth film, but it was ultimately Panettiere who made Kirby’s return happen.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do next,” Panettiere shared with Good Morning America. “I did have to take those four years off, and thank god I did. I had to work on myself – my mental health, my physical health, my spiritual health. And then when [‘Scream’] popped up and came back around, I was like, ‘I want to be a part of that again because I hoped that Kirby was still alive. I willed her back into existence and I called them.”
Scream VI is now playing in theaters.