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Why Sam From Scream Looks So Familiar

Like all the previous "Scream" movies, the cast of the upcoming fifth film in the franchise is a mixture of veterans and new blood. At this point, unfortunately, our veterans have dwindled, with only three characters from the original film still alive: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Dewey Riley (David Arquette), and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). Many of the newcomers look very familiar, like Jack Quaid from the hit series "The Boys," and not-quite-newcomer Marley Shelton, who was in "Scream 4" and also in cult classics like "The Sandlot" and "Sin City."

Another face that may seem familiar is that of Melissa Barrera. The Mexican actress's most recent role was as Vanessa in "In the Heights," a film version of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that Lin-Manuel Miranda helped bring to life. Now, Barrera will be taking on a totally different role as Sam Carpenter in the first film in the franchise since creator Wes Craven died in 2015. Whether Barrera will end up as the killer, the victim, or somewhere in between is yet to be known, but she will definitely help breathe some fresh air into the slasher film series.

Barrera got her start in telenovelas after college

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Melissa Barrera always knew she wanted to be an actress, but when she was in high school, her goal was to be in musical theater (via Harper's Bazaar). She left Monterrey to attend the Tisch School of the Arts, because, as she put it, "I felt like I couldn't stay there if I wanted to be an actor. I had to be where the opportunities were." While going to school, she soon started getting parts in different telenovelas, first a small role in an episode of "La otra cara del Alma," and then a three-episode arc in "La mujer de Judas." In 2014 and 2015, Barrera was extremely busy performing in telenovelas, playing Olvido Pérez in "Siempre tuya Acapulco," her first role out of college. "I was shocked and nervous," she told The New York Times. I had never led a telenovela, which meant shooting 20 or more scenes a day, six days a week and basically carrying the story."

After another telenovela, "Tanto amor," Barrera took a brief break from television and starred in two more films, "Manual de principiantes para ser presidente," and "El Hotel." In 2016 she would return to the telenovelas "Perseguidos," and "Club de Cuervos," only this time, she played much smaller, more supporting characters.

After years of telenovelas, a role on a Starz series increased her profile

After a couple more films, Melissa Barrera auditioned for the part of Lyn Hernandez, one of the main characters in Starz new LatinX series, "Vida." The series focused on two sisters, Lyn and Emma (Mishel Prada), who are forced to move back to their hometown after their mother dies. The sisters must come to terms with their lives — and figure out whether they should work together and save the bar they've inherited, or go their own ways.

The critically acclaimed show lasted three seasons, with a 100% average Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Tanya Saracho, the playwright and writer who created the show, wanted it to be as authentic a voice as possible for the LatinX community. To really keep the focus, "Vida" featured all LatinX directors and writers for all three seasons (via Variety). "Vida" won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Barrera was nominated for her first award — for Best Actress in a Comedy – for her role as Lyn.

She got the role she's dreamed of since high school

After "Vida," Barrera got her dream role as Vanessa in the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, "In the Heights." It seemed like destiny. She told Cosmopolitan that she had been in high school when she'd traveled to New York City to see "In the Heights" on Broadway, and after seeing it, she'd felt a sense of relief, thinking, "Oh, there's a place for me. I can be in this show. This is a story that's like mine. There are people that look like me."

Barreras felt a kinship with her character, a hairdresser who works in a salon in Washington Heights, and has dreams of moving downtown and pursuing a career in fashion. "Vanessa wanted professional opportunities where the way she looked or where she was from didn't matter, and that's where I started," said Barrera in a separate interview with Harper's Bazaar. "I start with what I can connect with first, and then I branch out."