By Susan Hornik
Sure, we loved her as the assistant coach’s football-mad daughter in Remember The Titans, but we never imagined that, years later, Hayden Panettiere would blossom into the ass-kicking cheerleader in Heroes. Now 21, the one-time child star from Palisades, New York, has a ridiculous 51 movie, TV, and video game credits to her name. The latest and greatest is Scream 4 (trailer at bottom), in which she stars alongside a bevy of Ghostface-battlin’ beauties including Alison Brie, Emma Roberts, and Neve Campbell (of course). We asked her about the new flick, kissing geeks, and the whale-friendly foundation she works with. We’re good like that.
MADE MAN: What it was like working with the original cast of Scream? Did you see the first one?
HAYDEN PANETTIERE: Well, I was seven when it came out, so I waited a bit to experience Scream. I was a big fan—it’s got that Halloween aspect with the masked person, but at the same time, it’s got that very realistic aspect of the fear of somebody breaking into your house. That’s a terrifying thing. It’s always a little bit nervewracking when you come into a family. But the other cast members were always great—they really had an interest in knowing us and including us. I was very hesitant about doing a horror film until the right one came along, and I think “Scream4” was the right one.
MM: If someone came at you like Ghostface, what would you do?
HP: My dad’s a fireman from Brooklyn. He always told me in a fight there are no rules. You just swing!
MM: In the film, you kiss a geek.
HP: But he’s a cute geek!
MM: Is a geeky guy sexy to you?
HP: Duh. Hello. Of course. You see more geeks now with very pretty ladies. There’s a reason for that.
MM: Wes Craven tweeted during production that he had Ghostface scare you off camera.
HP: Yup, he did. We were doing a scene in the bedroom. It’s this whole dun-dun-da scene, you think the bad guy’s in the closet, you open the closet and he’s not there. All of a sudden, he was there but he wasn’t supposed to be! It was JB, our prop guy! He scared me half to death and he disappeared. I didn’t see him until the next day. He was like, “Dude, I wanted to come back but I felt so bad. You were so scared.” So, he definitely got me. You try to front like you’re all tough, and then something jumps out of the closet and that was the end of the story.
MM: Have you successfully scared the living dooty out of someone else?
HP: I have a little brother. That’s a given. I got it back though, as he got taller than me! It’s dangerous to scare someone. You see with America’s Funniest Home Videos, this guy pops up on the porch and the guy just nails him in the face. He’s apologizing afterwards. It’s never a good idea to scare people!
MM: How are things going with The Whaleman Foundation you are involved with?
HP: I just shot a PSA for them. Japan’s going through this horrible tragedy right now. We were trying to work with the people in the southern part of Japan, having them utilize the natural beauty that they have down there and create an industry off of that as opposed to killing beautiful creatures.
MM: Were you happy with the way Heroes ended?
HP: Yeah. Look, I loved the show. It was my family. It was a wonderful experience. I loved everything about it. I saw the good in every storyline and everything that was given to us. It’s not like I’m going to write something better.
MM: Any chance there will be a Heroes movie?
HP: I don’t know. That’s a good question. If there is one, I haven’t heard about it yet, but maybe one day. Never say never!
(Frequent Made Man contributor Susan Hornik saw Scream 4, often while hiding behind her jacket.)