- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Before Mason Gooding left NYU in 2018 to pursue acting full-time, he penned a six-page paper arguing that one Hollywood property was particularly deserving of a reboot: Wes Craven’s Scream. A few years later, the actor found himself in a general meeting with directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who were developing a new take on the genre-defining franchise that launched 25 years ago. After a two-hour conversation, Gooding mentioned his paper, and was a little embarrassed when the filmmakers asked to read it.
“I sent it to them and heard nothing for like two weeks,” says Gooding. Then he got a call from his agents. Rather than going through screen tests and callbacks, he had a direct offer for Scream 5. “I muted myself and screamed,” says the actor.
Gooding, 25, is the son of Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and the star’s ex-wife, Sara Kapfer, and has a face and way of speaking reminiscent of his father’s. He has been acting full-time since leaving NYU in his junior year after booking a small part on HBO’s Ballers. The actor, who played football in high school, went on to land roles in Booksmart and Hulu’s Love, Victor. With Scream (in theaters Jan. 14), Gooding steps into his biggest project yet, though given the secrecy behind the Spyglass and Paramount production, he can’t say much about his character, Chad, the nephew of Randy Meeks (played by Jamie Kennedy in the original film).
On set, Gooding bonded with legacy castmembers Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, with the latter teaching co-stars how to paint à la Bob Ross. “He took the time to instruct all of us on the spirit and atmosphere present on the original Scream. This was something shared among all the legacy cast,” says the actor. Gooding also grew close to castmate Jack Quaid, the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. “You have a vantage point that prepares you for certain professional teamwork dynamics,” says Gooding of growing up in Hollywood. Among his prized memories is ice fishing on the Canadian set of his father’s 2002 film Snow Dogs. (“He’s going to hate that I’m bringing this up,” Gooding says with a laugh.)
Scream arrives as Gooding’s father prepares to stand trial Feb. 1 on charges that he groped two women in 2018 and 2019 at a bar and a nightclub in Manhattan. His father has pleaded not guilty, and Gooding acknowledges feeling “conflicted” about the upcoming trial.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to live in a time in which someone — man, woman, anyone — would feel comfortable speaking about their experiences,” says Gooding. “I also love my father, and given who he is and how he raised me, I’m happy to say, nothing I’ve read, heard or had discussed with me has been in line with any way I’ve known him to behave.”
As for his future, Gooding would like to one day return to NYU to complete his degree in dramatic writing. He’d also like to pursue big genre roles that can inspire Black children around the globe. “I would love to be in a Marvel movie,” notes the actor, who recalls seeing Black Panther and protagonists such as Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa as a life-affirming experience.
Adds Gooding: “I would love to see more Black astronauts onscreen. I would love to see a Black actor carry a sword into battle — any role in which I feel I can inspire.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day