Film & TV

Scream’s Carlson Young on Poetry, the Golden Age of Television, and Magicians

Film & TV

Scream’s Carlson Young on Poetry, the Golden Age of Television, and Magicians



Last night, the season finale of MTV’s Scream aired, shocking audiences while also paying tribute to the late Wes Craven. Throughout the series, characters operated in close proximity to one another as they engaged in high stakes cat and mouse games. Murder, psychological power plays, and terror characterized the first season of this teen cult classic, along with standout performances by some of television’s finest upcoming actors.

Carlson Young played the ever complex Brooke Maddox, a rich girl scene stealer somewhere between Jamie Lannister and Regina George. “I can’t focus on The Goodbye Girl when my Dad is doing Gone Girl,” is just one of many juicy lines the actress drops deadpan throughout the season. To learn more about Carlson and the current state of television, we called up the Texas bombshell to discuss MTV’s hottest series, poetry, and, interestingly enough, magicians.


How did you first come on board with Scream?

Well, it’s pretty straightforward. I had a regular old audition, and I was very excited to even have the audition, because I was a big fan of the franchise. So I worked on it a little bit, I went in and it ended up working out. So that’s awesome and it just kind of blows my mind. I’m grateful to be here.

What are some of the challenges that go into adapting a successful film franchise, like Scream, into television?

I think it’s hard because people have a picture in their mind of what the TV show is going to be based on there being a hugely successful movie. I think that’s a challenge because we’re constantly trying to operate in that realm. But at the same time, a really cool part about the show is that we do get to implement all of the new changes, such as cultural and technological stuff, into it. As much as the Scream movies can sort of be like a stigma that we have to respect, it’s almost like everything that’s happening now culturally makes writing the show so much easier and so much fun. Basically, we have so much to work with.

The fact that the series kicks off with this cellphone video going viral definitely brings it up to date with current times and broader metaphors which is what’s going on in our society.

Right. Absolutely.

With shows like Scream, American Horror Story, Hannibal, and even to some degree True Detective, horror narratives are finally getting the respect and treatment they deserve. What are some lessons the film industry could take away with what’s happening on television in regards to horror?

I think what the film industry could take away is that people appreciate and want to watch character development. They don’t want to be dumbed down when it comes to character. I think that for me at least, that’s my major concern when I watch a lot of movies nowadays. Moviemakers have not done a very good job of guiding the story through the actors and through character development and that’s one thing that I think our show really pays careful attention to. I think that’s why this is a TV show and obviously not a movie because of the things that we have. We can be really detailed.

Can you tell me a little bit about your character Brooke that audiences might not take away from a first screening of it?

She’s a very typical mean girl so far. She’s super vulnerable under there and she’s got some pretty enormous daddy issues, and parent issues, really. Deep down she’s an abandoned little girl, and I think that though it’s a slow build, you do get to see that. You get to see little snippets of something more deep and vulnerable about all of the characters.

What did you enjoy most about playing her? Any specific scenes that you especially relish in as an actress?

She leads with her sexuality of course. When I am presented the scenes and when I’m doing the scenes I just always try to channel modern Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks. I always loved watching her manipulate the men around her. I play with the idea that this sexuality at such an early age is kind of unsettling, because it’s very strong. But, it’s really fun for me to find out why that is occurring with the character.

I saw in an interview you did with Maxim that you’re a big fan of the Magic Castle.

Oh my God. Yes!

I’ve been a magician for twelve years now. What’s the best magic trick you’ve ever seen?

When I was at the Magic Castle last time, I went for my birthday. They brought me on stage and did the whole cut my body in half thing in one of the shows. I can’t say that it’s the coolest trick that I’ve ever seen, but all my friends were there so it was insane. I didn’t feel anything. I literally felt nothing at all so I’m not really sure how that went down but apparently it was really cool looking. And yeah, I am an enormous fan of the Magic Castle! So you’re a magician, I think we should go together.

Someday. Someday!

Someday soon.

Curiously, you also studied creative writing at USC. What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to write?

I really like to write poetry and I read a lot of poetry so that’s sort of where most of my daily writing lands. I’ve written a few shorts. I’m working on developing a pilot right now. It’s called “Losering.” It’s in the vein of female centric comedy. I really love comedy and so I’d love to develop that one-day into something more. I’m really proud of it so far.

So you’ve got poetry, acting, and a potential script in the works. The final question I have for you is: what’s next? How would you like to use your career in acting and the success that you’ve had in Hollywood and in the industry to transition into something greater?

I think for me, I think it’s about not getting ahead of myself and taking one step at a time. I’m just grateful to have a job at this point.  I want to bare that in mind. The dream is just to be able to do the job that you want to do. The process leading up to this, for any actor or actress, is getting told “no” a million times and all of that.  Basically, I just want to be able to use my career for good and I also just want the luxury of having a job tomorrow!