Melissa Barrera has had a couple of amazing years. She hit it big with Tanya Saracho’s hit series Vida and then killed it in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. Now she’s entering new territory by joining the Scream franchise, known for slasher goddess Sidney Prescott, as the character Sam Carpenter.
Remezcla got a chance to interview Barrera about what this role means for our communities and if she’d survive a horror movie herself. But before we jump into that, Barrera wanted to tell us about meeting final girl Neve Campbell, who has been a staple of this franchise since the very start.
“I think back on how I felt the day that I met her,” Barrera recounted, “And I immediately like my entire body feels with goosebumps because I was so nervous. I was so nervous to meet her. I’m such a huge fan, and she is Sidney Prescott!”
For Barrera, it felt “insane” to be standing in front of someone she’s admired for so long. It was made even better by the fact that Campbell was “the nicest person in the world.” According to Barrera, “She’s so sweet and so generous. And she was so excited to be back and it was just a dream come true. I learned so much from her. And she was so welcoming to me.”
Ultimately, it was just a beautiful experience that Barrera still can’t believe happened because of Scream. That led us to our next question about the beautiful experiences that Latine people have been experiencing lately. From Encanto to West Side Story and In the Heights, our communities are seeing themselves in the content they consume on a whole other scale.
And Melissa Barrera is continuing that streak of allowing us to be seen in movies where we’ve historically been left out or ignored.
When we asked Barrera what it meant to her, to be a Latine woman breaking barriers and joining such a huge franchise like Scream, she was honest about happy it made her. Because yes, stories like Encanto and In the Heights are important, but what’s also important is for us as people to be in projects where we don’t have to justify our presence or wave our flag.
“It makes me so happy to be advancing in the right direction. To be in projects that are also not labeled as specifically Latinx because it’s so easy for us to just be like, “Oh, that’s the Latinx movie. That’s that.” And they just give us those opportunities. So, it means so much to me to be specifically in this role in this franchise where there hasn’t ever been Latin representation.”
To wrap up the interview with Melissa Barrera, we had to ask her what would happen if she was in a situation like her character Sam in Scream. Her answer was quick and sure: she’d be the first one to die. “I’m definitely the brave idiot that like thinks that they’re…if we need to go out into the woods to look for something. I’m the one that’s like, “I’ll go!” and then dies. That’s definitely me.”
Scream is available now in theaters.