Nashville star Hayden Panettiere is returning to her fan-favorite role as Kirby in the Scream franchise in the upcoming sixth installment. After nearly a decade, moviegoers will finally get to see her character Kirby Reed again after being left for dead in the 2011’s Scream 4. On the other hand, if only the producers had been able to locate her, she might have returned even earlier.
Executive producer Kevin Williamson recently revealed how he found the elusive actor. “We’re like, ‘Where’s Kirby?’ We couldn’t find her. She doesn’t have an agent. She had sort of disappeared,” Williamson told Variety. In 2019, when he began shooting Season 2 of his show Tell Me a Story in Tennessee, he encountered several crew members who had previously collaborated with Panettiere on the Nashville series.
“I called up my producer in Nashville and said, ‘Do you know Hayden Panettiere, by any chance? Because we can’t find her!’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, let me call her,’” recalled Williamson. “And then they called back and it was like, ‘Alright, found her!’”
It’s unclear what Hayden Panettiere’s character will be up to in ‘Scream 6’
Naturally, Williamson–the screenwriter of the original Scream, as well as its sequels Scream 2 and Scream 4–remains secretive surrounding what Kirby’s part is in this new installment. “There’s so much speculation about what her participation is in the movie and I love it. We should just let it live until the movie.”
From 2012-2018, Panettiere shined in the hit series Nashville. Before that, she gained attention for her role on Heroes from 2006 to 2010. Aside from television roles, Panettiere starred in films like Remember the Titans and I Love You, Beth Cooper. Scream 6 will be her first film role since 2016’s Custody.
‘Scream 6’ will be taking a bite out of the Big Apple
The late Wes Craven helmed the first four entries of the “Scream” franchise before his passing in 2015. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett directed its fifth film which was released in 2022. The script for this sixth installment is crafted by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.
When Williamson first heard that the sixth entry would take place in New York City instead of his beloved Woodsboro, he was understandably taken aback. “I will be honest! I was like, ‘How is this going to work when we take it out of small-town America?’ I was just worried that everyone was going to go, ‘Oh, Ghostface takes Manhattan! It’s going to be the parallel of [Friday the 13th’s] Jason,’” he explained.
Once he read the script, his mindset shifted. “New York really is the backdrop, the setting for it and it’s wonderful. They really do bring New York into it in a very, very fun way. At the core, it’s a story of these two sisters and their friends and how they move from a small town to a city to try to move on, get along with their life and try to put the past behind them,” he explained. “It just comes knocking at their door again, but this time in a very big, huge way. I find the movie much more emotional. You’re connected to the characters in a very profound way. The scares and Ghostface are brutal.”