Cotton Weary was a character in the Scream film series. He was a Woodsboro resident who Sidney Prescott sent to jail for the rape and murder of her mother, Maureen Prescott. He was released from prison after a year when Billy Loomis and Stu Macher revealed they killed Maureen and framed Cotton. Opportunistic, he sought fame and fortune with Gale Weathers' help and finally achieved it after saving Sidney's life at Windsor College, even though he was a chief suspect during the second murder spree. He parlayed the media coverage into his own show in Hollywood, 100% Cotton, before finally falling prey to Ghostface in a quest to locate Sidney.
Cotton had a secret affair with Maureen Prescott. She was murdered one night after they had sex, and the killers (Billy Loomis and Stu Macher) framed him by one of them wearing his coat out of the house. Sidney saw the figure in Cotton's jacket and assumed it was him. Over the course of his trial, TV reporter Gale Weathers frequently defended Cotton, saying he was innocent due Sidney Prescott's flawed testimony. Going as far as writing a book about it, Gale insisted that Cotton was framed, and subsequently falsely identified as the killer. Sidney testimony was key in his conviction, causing him to go to jail for Maureen's rape and murder.
Sidney watched video footage of Cotton after he was sentenced. She argued with Gale about his guilt, and eventually learned the truth from Billy and Stu themselves after they revealed they were the Woodsboro killers.
After being released from custody, Cotton became a regular news feature, although not to the level he aspired to. He agreed to accompany Gale to Windsor College for
an interview and recorded meeting with Sidney after the double homicide of Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens.
Sidney refused to participate, which particularly irritated Cotton because Gale told him she knew about it. Although innocent and compassionate, Cotton proved quick to anger due to his wrongful imprisonment.
After Sidney was threatened in an instant message in the library, with the police searching for its source, Cotton demanded an interview with Sidney in an almost threatening way. Such an interview would finally clear his name, and he had managed to get a national spot with Diane Sawyer, but it would only work if Sidney agreed to go on with him. Due to his rash actions, he became a suspect yet again. He talked his way out of getting arrested for harassing Sidney, but it was clear he wouldn't drop the matter and leave her alone.
That night he found Dewey Riley bleeding in the film department and tried to save him. Gale found Cotton bloody and assumed he was the killer. He tried to explain, but she ran away. He eventually found Sidney and the real killer, Mrs. Loomis, fighting to the death in the theater department. He picked up a gun and stopped the two. Sidney
explained Mrs. Loomis and Mickey Altieri were the two killers. Cotton was disappointed Mrs. Loomis wasn't really reporter Debbie Salt, but she argued that she should still help his career. The two made their case to him, and he seemed to waver between his options. Sidney finally gave in to the Diane Sawyer interview so he shot Mrs. Loomis. He assured Sidney that he would never hurt her and handed over the gun. Gale revealed she was alive and and the three left the building.
Reporters swam around Sidney outside, mostly leaving Cotton alone, until Sidney told them they should get the story from him, adding that he was the hero. He finally got the attention he sought.
Cotton became quite famous and moved to Hollywood over the next two years. He spun his fame into his own talk show, 100% Cotton. His personal life flourished as well. He started dating Christine Hamilton.
While driving home from work one night, Cotton argued with his agent, Andrea, about scripts and stooping to do a cameo in Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro.
Cotton received a phone call, during which a girl deceptively tried seducing him, with Cotton playing along. When the woman asked if his girlfriend knew what he was up to, Cotton questioned her on why she thought he had one. The voice on the other end then changed to the familiar killer's, proclaiming he knew Cotton had a girlfriend because he was standing outside his bathroom door, watching her. The killer demanded to know Sidney's whereabouts. When Cotton refused to answer the question, Ghostface informed him that Christine would pay dearly for his silence, and then hung up the phone.
Angry and fearing for Christine's safety, Cotton rushed through traffic, trying to get home in time to save her.
When Cotton entered his house, he found Christine was still alive, but Ghostface tricked her into thinking Cotton was her assailant. She wouldn't trust the real Cotton, who she attacked with a golf club. With her back turned, Ghostface snuck up behind her and stabbed her to death in front of Cotton.
Cotton attempted to fight back, but Ghostface stabbed him as well. The killer glared down at Cotton and proclaimed: "It was a simple game Cotton. You should've told me where Sidney was; now you lose," and killed him.
Behind the Scenes
- He was described as "a once handsome man, now haggard and worn" in the Scream script.
- Cotton claimed to Gale that Maureen got him drunk and seduced him the night she was murdered, but Roman videotaped one of their trysts presumable weeks before that at a hotel.
- After arriving at Windsor College, Cotton dons the college's sweatshirt to be fit in.
- Cotton tells Gale he tried to save Dewey's life after he found the former police officer stabbed in the film department. Dewey does survive, so it may be in part to whatever first aid Cotton performed.
- In the original script for Scream 2, Mrs. Loomis plans on framing Cotton for the murders. He stabs her to death, and then has a change of heart. Proving to be extremely opportunistic, he stabs Gale to death and tells Sidney he can have his revenge and make money off it by being the victim. He and Sidney fight, and the film fades out on their dying bodies after they've repeatedly stabbed each other.
- When Ghostface calls Christine, she mentions Cotton playing Stab game, alluding to a kinky game he played with her.
- Liev Shreiber asked to take his coat off in Scream 3 once he enters his home because he'd recently been working out and wanted to show off his muscles..
- "I don't know about homicide, but you definitely have me for raising my voice in a public library."
- "Jeez, Gale, you've got more lives than a cat!"