The success of “Scream VI” proved that the semi-reboot approach the franchise took with last year’s “Scream” has been embraced by fans — and that the show’s young new cast is here to stay.
The film has put rising star Melissa Barrera, who plays Sam Carpenter, in the spotlight. But this is hardly her first major film role. The actress got a coveted opportunity in 2021 when she was cast as Vanessa in John M. Chu’s film adaptation of “In the Heights.” The film was generally praised as a faithful adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, but only grossed $45 million worldwide against a $55 million budget. The film’s release in June 2021—when the world was technically starting to reopen after the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, but most consumers had not yet resumed their normal lives—probably set the film up for failure. But Barrera is not losing sleep over the experience.
In a new interview with PEOPLE, Barrera explained that the film’s performance allowed her to manage the expectations of her career and explore other roles without the pressure of being a box office hit.
“Imagine if (‘In the Heights’) had been a success and everything had been incredible and it made a billion dollars at the box office — and then my next movie flopped,” she said. “It would have been, I think, more difficult. . . . I’m so grateful that my life has been exactly the way it has been.”
Her satisfaction with her career trajectory extends to the “Scream” franchise. Barrera went on to praise the direction in which directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have taken her character, expressing her appreciation for the opportunity to play a three-dimensional horror character.
“In the fifth (film) they were thrown into the ring and it’s chaos,” she said. “I’m very happy that we get to know Sam a little more in the sixth film. I thought, ‘She’s such an interesting character because she has so many demons that can be explored – if the writers and directors want to – and lead to a very interesting challenge for me. In the sixth (they) take her in that direction. I really appreciate that.”