Hayden Panettiere, who became a household name for playing Claire Bennet on the NBC series Heroes, has officially signed up for the thriller movie Scream 4, joining cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and the recently added Emma Roberts. The Wes Craven film, which is written by Kevin Williamson of The Vampire Diaries, is tentatively scheduled to be released next April.

Roberts, who happens to be the niece of actress Julia Roberts, will be playing the lead role of Jill Prescott, Sidney Prescott’s cousin. To refresh your memory, Sidney is portrayed by Campbell, who has appeared in each of the first three installments of the Scream franchise.

“I’m so excited to be part of this groundbreaking franchise. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to do something completely different than I’ve ever done before,” Roberts, who is credited for Nancy Drew and Unfabulous, tells Entertainment Weekly in an interview.

Robert’s casting is likely to dispel rumors that Twilight vamp Ashley Greene is being eyed for the lead role. Craven adds, “Emma’s talent, beauty, and range will add immensely to the sophistication, intensity, and fun of the Scream franchise as it returns to the screen once more.”

Scream 4 will kick off production on June 28 in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan.

(Image courtesy of NBC and New Line Productions)

Kris De Leon

Staff Writer, BuddyTV