Oh, you haven't heard of Scream Queens? What are you, dead? (We hope you aren't dead.) The Fox series, about a sorority house on a college campus rocked by a series of brutal murders, is only the most inspired, artfully devilish and brilliantly satirical horror comedy ever to have graced our screens, and we can't stop gushing about it. Seriously. We admit we have a problem, and soon (if you don't already), you will have a problem, too! Here are a few fun facts you might not know...
Creators Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk took inspiration from a lot of well-known movies and one iconic TV show in creating the female-centered, scream-powered world of Scream Queens. Murphy's official list of pre-premiere essential viewing includes: Heathers, Mean Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Halloween, Scream, Friday the 13th, and Suspiria.
Jamie Lee Curtis is also a major driving force behind the show's existence, simply because she is amazing. "Brad and Ian and I, of course, are big horror fans," Murphy said. "And I asked to have a meeting with Jamie Lee, and I had always loved her for years and years and years, and had wanted to work with her, and she came in, and as it is with our company, usually there's no script to read, so we simply told her what the story was and, you know, we just lead with our love and passion for her, and said in the meeting, 'And if you don't do it, we're not going to do the show.'"
Scream Queens comes from the same guys who brought us Glee, and yes, Lea Michele stars, but don't expect the same show—at all. It may have a similarly satirical bite, but SQ is something all its own. Ian Brennan, who's responsible for most of Sue Sylvester's best and most insane lines, claims he felt "unleashed" while writing Scream Queens in a way he apparently never did before, even while crafting Sue's best rants. We. Can't. Wait.
Ryan Murphy and co. are also known for FX's American Horror Story, which features a whole different kind of screaming. AHS can, at times, be funny, but the horror is altogether way more serious. Scream Queens is not that. Murphy describes SQ as having a "much more satirical cartoonish quality," than the "sexualized and darker" American Horror Story.
At one point, the idea was to do this show as a spin-off of the third season of American Horror Story, but that changed after a movie-themed discussion with new Fox execs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. "We had a celebratory lunch, and we were talking about just things that we loved that were not on the air, things that we loved growing up, movies that we loved watching," Ryan Murphy said. "We did sort of put different things together, but it really did start, I think, probably the germ of it, with Coven."
The show's theme song, "You Belong to Me," was co-written by Scream Queens executive producer Alexis Woodall, musician Heather Heywood (who sings it), and SQ composer Mac Quayle. It's also…haunting. "Don't close your eyes/don't fall asleep/please say your prayers/leave the devil to me."
Emma Roberts' character, Chanel, was inspired by an email that went viral a couple years ago from the executive board of the Delta Gamma sorority at the University of Maryland. The letter is pure gold insanity, filled with expletives we can't repeat here. "It was jaw dropping, the language that this particular young woman used," Murphy said of the letter. "She was pretty much a despicable person. And we sort of were interested in sort of mirroring that idea, but, unlike that girl, who apologized, sort of bringing our queen bee character to some sort of awareness about her behavior and why she is doing these things." You can read it here.
Jamie Lee Curtis has a brilliant method of keeping herself from laughing and ruining takes: She holds a pushpin between her fingers, and pushes real hard. It's a trick she started using after ruining so many takes on A Fish Called Wanda. "Seriously, when you watch the show, look at my hand. My hand is below the frame," Curtis said. "Whatever Niecy Nash is throwing at me, I'm squeezing a pushpin between my fingers. That's a testament to the writing and it's very, very funny."
One of the show's newest stars is currently a junior in college and is in a real sorority. Despite the fact that Scream Queens is all about a sorority house filled with brutal murders and terrible secrets, her real-life sorority sisters are still quite supportive. "They've been really cool with it!" she tells us.
The actress, who's nominated for an Emmy this year for her work in Getting On, doesn't like getting scared. She does, however, love Jamie Lee Curtis, and her role as the security guard is really more about the comedy than the horror. A k a we probably wouldn't even hire her to babysit our cat.
The show will also occasionally focus on a golf fraternity, called the "Dickie Dollar Scholars." You'll get to meet a few members in the second half of the premiere, including Nick Jonas as Boone and Glenn Powell as Chad Radwell.
Nasim Pedrad (Gigi) is a professionally trained improviser who spent five years on Saturday Night Live, from 2009 to 2014. She's also utterly hilarious and even expertly portrayed her Scream Queens costar Lea Michele (as Glee's Rachel Berry) in a James Bond skit in 2012.
Chad Radwell (a golf fraternity douche, who Emma Roberts' character is in love with) may be the hilarious actor's first TV series role, but he's not totally a stranger to Ryan Murphy's former projects. He actually lives with Chord Overstreet, who played the lovable Sam on Glee, which is how he met the producers and nailed (and we do mean NAILED the part). Powell is undoubtedly one of this season's biggest breakout stars: So hilariously awful in this role, you can't help but love him.
Only "four or five" core cast members will move on to season two, and the entire cast has only signed one year contracts so far so no one officially knows who those few will be. Season two will also feature a whole new setting and, presumably, a whole new set of brutal murders. "Every year, we're going to sort of keep five characters, and put the characters in a whole new setting," Murphy revealed. "So this year will be goodbye to the sorority world, and they will go off as a group and go off to another venue."
Only three people in the world know who the killer is and who will move onto season two. "When we get into the last couple scripts, we have the red herring death scenes we're going to film, so we'll have many many versions of that ending," Murphy told us. "So that really only three people in the world will know until we get it on the air." Oh, to be one of those three people!
The cast is like a sorority IRL, too, as well as a little Scream Queens mystery club. They're almost just as in the dark as the audience, so there's a lot of theorizing behind the scenes as to who the killer is. Jamie Lee Curtis likened the actors to characters in a horror movie, who bond over a fear of being killed off.
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