WhenScream was released in 1996, it changed the horror movie landscape. Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by the late Wes Craven, the film turned the genre on its head by being smart and self-referential in its style and it didn’t insult the audience. It was a horror movie where the characters were keenly aware of horror movie cliches and that hook made it a hit with critics and moviegoers. The film spawned a series of imitators, many of which were also successful so it comes as no surprise that Jordana Brewster and her castmates thought when they were cast in Kevin Williamson’s THE FACULTY, they would see the same success. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and released in 1998, the film was supposed to do for the sci-fi genre what Scream did for slasher films but it failed to meet those expectations and Brewster is reminiscing on what that was all like.
During a chat on Collider Ladies Night, Brewster took a moment to look back on her expectations for The Faculty compared to how things panned out when the film was released. Here is what she had to say:
“It was sort of the inverse of Fast and Furious, right? So with The Fast and Furious, I was like, ‘This is a small movie about cars. It’s a really fun summer project. Everyone’s really good looking. This is gonna be fun, but who knows where it’s gonna lead?’ With The Faculty it was like, ‘You guys, this is gonna be huge. Look at all these successes around us,’ like She’s All That and Scream. And it was also Dimension, which was doing really well, that studio. And then Tommy Hilfiger was doing our campaign! So we all thought it was gonna be huge. And then it turned out it wasn’t so huge. We thought it was gonna be massive, I think it was a Christmas opening, and then not so big. So it was a good lesson. But it was a cult classic so that’s really cool.”
The Faculty drew heavily from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and involved aliens that “sneak in through the backdoor” by assuming control of a high school teaching staff that begins to infect the student body. Dimension Films, the studio that released Scream, gave The Faculty a similar Christmas rollout that proved to be successful for Scream but the same success wasn’t exactly duplicated. The Faculty was met with mixed reviews from critics, scoring a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes and the film grossed $40.2 million by the end of its run. Compared to its $15 million budget, the film was no flop but considering that Scream cleared $100 million, it was deemed a disappointment. Also starring Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Clea DuVall, Shawn Hatosy, Salma Hayek, Robert Patrick, and many more, Brewster says the young cast all thought the film would make them teen stars but that wasn’t the case, at least right away.
“I think it was more like we all thought we were gonna be these huge teen stars and not be able to walk down the street, and it didn’t quite work out that way. But at the same time, being on set, it was my first time shooting a movie ever, but also we were in Austin, Texas and working with Robert Rodriguez and Salma Hayek was in it and Jon Stewart would test his material on us, his comedic routine. It was so much fun. I loved working on that film.”
The Faculty has definitely gone on to become a cult classic and it’s fun to see some of the cast get their start here. Jordana Brewster was coming from the world of soap operas before she landed The Faculty, her first film, and many of the other young members of the young cast were also just starting out. Three years later Brewster would co-star in The Fast and The Furious and has gone on to appear in several of the sequels that have given her recognition all over the world. I’d say she’s pretty happy with how her career turned out.
What are YOUR thoughts on The Faculty?