'Scream' Turns 20: Drew Barrymore Chose to Die in the Opening Scene Rather Than Star

The horror film turns 20.

— -- In “Scream,” Drew Barrymore plays Casey Becker, a high school student who’s brutally murdered in the film’s opening scene.

And though her screen time was limited, it was the part she wanted, writer Kevin Williamson told “Entertainment Tonight.”

Originally, he said, she was going to play the lead role, which later went to Neve Campbell.

“I wanted the biggest star of the film to be in that opening scene,” he said, adding that he considered offering the role to Alicia Silverstone. “But that was all of five minutes, because the very next day, Drew Barrymore said, ‘The thing I love about this movie is the opening scene. I want to play Casey. That’s who I want to be.’”

Back in 1996, Barrymore gushed to “ET” that the scene in which she starred was “one of the best-written scenes I’ve ever read,” calling it “a masterpiece.”

“Scream” premiered just days before Christmas in 1996 and earned more than $6 million its opening weekend. It went on to gross more than $173 million worldwide and spawned three sequels. And though there were plans for a “Scream 5” and “Scream 6,” the death of director Wes Craven made that nearly impossible, Williamson said.

“Now without Wes, I feel like you have to sort of answer the questions of how and why,” he said, “and I don’t know how to do it without Wes, and I don’t know why to do it.”