Ahead of the latest Scream film releasing in 2022, we take a look at how Scream 3 character Roman Bridger shone a light on toxic Hollywood culture.
This article contains spoilers for the Scream film franchise. If you have not seen all the films, this is your official warning.
Released in 2000, Scream 3 differed greatly from its predecessors. Although still directed by Wes Craven, it was the first film of the series to not be written by original screenwriter Kevin Williamson (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Vampire Diaries).
Scream 3 was also the first time resident film buff Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) was not featured in a starring role, due to the character’s death in Scream 2.
Perhaps the biggest divergence, however, is the choice of the killer and their backstory in relation to the wider franchise. As fans may recall, the masked murderer Ghostface turned out to be Roman Bridger (Scott Foley).
In the storyline, Roman was the director of Stab 3, a fictitious film within a film depicting Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) traumatising experiences.
At first, it seemed that Roman was the first killer to not have a connection to Sidney – they barely interacted in Scream 3 due to Neve Campbell’s filming schedule. Compared to the previous culprits – boyfriend, classmate, ex-boyfriend’s mother, it seemed much less emotionally resonant.
However, this could not have been further from the truth. Roman revealed to a stunned Sidney that he was her half-brother, the product of a rape inflicted on their mother Maureen (then known as ‘Rina Reynolds’) when she was a young actress in Hollywood. After Roman tracked his biological mother down, she rejected him and said he was “Rina’s child and Rina was dead”, not wanting a reminder of her abuse.
Seventeen years after Scream 3 was released, the #MeToo Movement began with countless professionals in the entertainment industry coming forward with accusations of sexual or other forms of abuse.
One of the more notable named abusers in this instance was Harvey Weinstein, prolific film producer and co-founder of Miramax, which ironically produced the Scream films. The accusations date back to the 1970s.
It has been stated in the past that a Scream 3 character was, in fact, a caricature of Weinstein. More specifically, Stab 3 producer John Milton. The character was played by veteran actor Lance Henriksen.
Milton is revealed as the person who assaulted Maureen Prescott, which caused Roman’s birth. If anything, the #MeToo stories have shown that young artists trying to make a name for themselves are vulnerable, impressionable and easily taken advantage of.
Despite being a warped murderer; Roman does, in his twisted homicidal way, hold Milton accountable for his prior actions. However, he also places blame on Maureen herself, saying her assault ultimately “made her a slut”.
While John Milton is a fictional character, predatory men exist in the real world from all walks of life. Whether you are an aspiring actor or in any industry, proceed with caution and vigilance.
In terms of the fictional story, John Milton swiftly met his end courtesy of Roman. Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein was convicted for two felonies in February 2020 and sentenced to 23 years in prison; he will be eligible for parole in November 2039.