The cast for Scream 4 is beginning to take shape as the production nears its July start date. Dimension Films is in the final phase of landing actress Lake Bell, and the latest names added to their wish list include Hayden Panettiere, Ashley Green (Twilight Saga) and Rory Culkin.

Have no fear, the original cast is still very much intact. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette will all reprise their roles from the Scream trilogy, and Wes Craven returns as director.

The idea of casting Scream 4 with just over a month to go before filming is a slightly concerning. But Deadline reports the script is on major lockdown and the production has only released character descriptions.

Lake Bell, who can be heard in Shrek Forever After as the Patrol Witch, is the first among franchise newbies to begin negotiations. She will play a police officer who knew Sidney (Campbell) in high school.

Ironically reminiscent of Neve Campbell in Wild Things

The other names involved are young, but character descriptions provide some insight into the unknown story. Ashley Greene is in talks to play Sidney’s cousin; Hayden Panettiere would play Greene’s best friend; and Rory Culkin may end up as Greene’s love interest. From the sound of it, the original cast may literally hand over the reigns in the film.

It looks like the film will present a new generation of victims. In that case, Greene’s character would be the main target for the Ghostface Killer as the old cast warns the newbies of impending doom. That’s just a guess, but it sounds close enough.

Rory Culkin has taken a media backseat to the other actors, but is my favorite of the list. The 20-year-old actor was superb in Mean Creek and continues to prove his acting chops. Yet, there is something holding him back from mainstream entertainment. This could be an opportunity for Culkin to grow a fan base.

Scream 4 is trying to complete casting with little time to spare. It may prove difficult for young actors to commit an entire script to memory in such short time, but hopefully they are up to the task. The original trilogy has always been entertaining, but also loaded with solid performances. If they want to continue the franchise properly, they can’t lose focus of the elements necessary to create a complete film.

Scream 4 will unleash on audiences April 15th, 2011.

Source: Deadline