If your aunt is Julia Roberts and you’re trying to be a star, it must make you want to scream.
One of the most delicious bits of casting in Scream 4 is Emma Roberts, the 20-year-old niece of you-know-who. This latest sequel in the $500 million horror franchise features her as the imperiled Jill Roberts, the younger cousin of another celebrity: the perpetually stalked Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). Jill comes off as a wallflower compared with the original Scream queen, but that’s the point.
Scream has always thrived on the meta, with characters dragging out every slasher cliché. The films even feature a scary movie-within-a-movie called Stab. And Scream 4 is the most meta of all: the biggest horror isn’t the masked creep wielding a bloody knife, it’s the prospect of being eclipsed by your more famous relative.
That, of course, has been a challenge for Emma, who starred in the box-office disappointment Nancy Drew. Director Wes Craven says he cast her on talent alone, from an audition she did on Skype: “The whole thing with Julia, whom I’ve met, never occurred to us beyond the fact it’s interesting she’s her niece.”
Does Emma’s famous aunt give her career advice? “I mean, everyone asks me that,” she says. “We don’t talk about it. If your dad was a writer, and you want to be a writer, it’s not like you sit around talking about writing all day.” After Scream fans see her in action, we bet the Roberts they’ll be talking about is Emma.