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Hayden Panettiere got a personal call from ‘Scream’ creator for ‘Scream VI’ return

As “Scream” movies go, it all started with a phone call.

But this was a call that Hayden Panettiere actually wanted.

It wasn’t Ghostface on the phone, looking to kill, but rather the man behind the iconic horror villain himself, “Scream” writer-creator Kevin Williamson. He called to persuade her to reprise her role in “Scream VI,” the filmmaker said People at the film’s world premiere Monday.

Panettiere starred in the 2011 movie “Scream 4” as Kirby Reed, a Woodsboro high school student struggling to survive in the midst of another Ghostface carnage. At the end of the film, as she lay in a pool of blood after being stabbed, viewers were left unsure of Kirby’s fate.

Her character didn’t return in last year’s “Scream,” leading to further questions about Kirby. During the filming of the fifth film, Panettiere even called the production asking them to come back, she said on Monday “Good morning America.”

“I actually called them … when they were doing ‘Scream 5’ and I was like, ‘Without me?! Wait. Hold on. I could still be alive, and I could come in handy,'” Panettiere said .

However, in the run-up to the sixth film, which hits theaters this week, it was the production team that came for her. But Williamson struggled to track down Panettiere, who had taken time off from acting. She had moved from LA to Nashville.

“Nobody knew where she was because she just moved from LA,” Williamson told People. He was able to reach friends in Nashville who quickly connected the two.

“They said, ‘Give me five minutes,’ and within five minutes I was talking to her on the phone,” he said.

Once on the phone with Panettiere, Williamson offered to speak with “Scream VI” directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

“Absolutely, have them call me right away,” the “Heroes” alum told Williamson.

In “Scream VI,” Kirby van Panettiere is known as the sole survivor of the recent Woodsboro massacre. She is now a special agent with the FBI who is brought in to tackle Ghostface’s new string of murders in New York City.

Panettiere said she sees similarities between herself and Kirby, Women’s health reported Monday. After giving birth to daughter Kaya to retired pro boxer Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, Panettiere struggled with postpartum depression, which she spoke about publicly. She admitted herself to treatment facilities for her depression and subsequent addiction to alcohol and had to give up custody of her child.

“She has that human trauma and it changed her,” Panettiere said of her “Scream” character. “That’s something I can clearly identify with.”

Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera, who both starred in the fifth ‘Scream’ movie, will also reprise their roles, along with Courteney Cox. Cox’s Gale Weathers, a reporter and author, has remained a main character in the franchise since Wes Craven’s original in 1996.

Neve Campbell, who carried the franchise for five films as Sidney Prescott, will be notably absent. Campbell cited a pay dispute as the reason for her departure. She said her gender played a role and Paramount’s offering “didn’t match the value I brought to the franchise.”

“As a woman in this industry,” she said People in August: “I think it’s very important for us to be appreciated and to fight to be appreciated.”