On July 7, 2000, Scary Movie opened in theaters, signaling the arrival of the most successful franchise of parody movies Hollywood has ever seen. The first Scary Movie was a bitingly hilarious critique of teen slasher flicks, from Scream to I Know What You Did Last Summer. On the movie's 20th anniversary, the cast and crew spoke to Variety about making the now-cult-classic comedy. Marlon Wayans, who wrote the script for the movie alongside his two brothers, recalls going through multiple versions of the feature's basic premise:
"We developed so many different versions of this movie. We worked with our brother Keenen and we wrote a Black draft, a white draft, a high school draft and a college draft. It wasn't until we really saw I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream that it just kind of clicked for us."
Scary Movie was also the first film that Anna Faris ever featured in. At the time when the movie was being cast, the actress had to take the help of her neighbors to film her initial audition tape, and relied on the kindness of strangers to get her to the places where the final auditions were being held.
"I started the audition with my mom recording me on one of those big, old VHS cameras hoisted on her shoulder. And then with the second scene I went to my neighbors and I was like, "My mom can't do this audition with me because it's way too raunchy. Can you film it for me?" So I sent it in, and they asked me to come down. I packed a tiny bag and stayed on a friend's couch in Burbank and bummed rides to go down for these auditions. They kept asking me to stay, so eventually, I had to go buy some new clothes, which at the time it felt like, "I can't even afford a cab, I certainly can't afford a hotel."
As many fans as Scary Movie has, it has also come under a great deal of criticism for its jokes depicting rape and homophobia, and Marlon Wayans admits trying to get the same movie made today would be much more difficult.
"I think it would be difficult to greenlight. But I think the reaction's still going to be the same. What I've learned from doing stand-up comedy is the opinions of the people and the taste of the people is not dictated by the politically correct nature of the social political climate. We live in America, and freedom of speech is the First Amendment. With freedom of speech comes freedom of creativity. And I think anybody can do a joke about anything and it's just who's telling the joke and what's your intention? Is your intention to humiliate, or is your intention to make people laugh? Our intention is always to make people laugh."
Despite the enormous success of the film, and it successfully spawning an entire lucrative franchise, the Wayans family, which was closely connected to the series in its initial stages, became less and less involved with the later movies. According to Wayans, this was not because they willingly stepped away, but due to the conduct of producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
"[The Weinstein's are] not the best or the kindest people to be in business with. 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 for ['Scary Movie 3']. 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."
These quotes come directly from Variety.