‘Scream’ stars defend Neve Campbell after pay dispute

Neve Campbell

Original “Scream” stars Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy have voiced their support for Neve Campbell after the actor walked away from the sixth film in the horror franchise because of a salary dispute.

On Sunday, Lillard stood up for Campbell via Twitter after advocating for her in an interview last week. In the first “Scream” film, Lillard starred as high school student Stu Macher opposite Campbell’s protagonist, Sidney Prescott.

“The fact that Neve Campbell isn’t getting paid her worth is straight up sexism,” the “Scooby-Doo” actor tweeted. “I think it’s horrible. There. I said it.”

Lillard’s latest comments came on the heels of a Twitter Spaces conversation he had last Tuesday with Midnite Movie Club, during which he compared Campbell’s trajectory in the “Scream” franchise to Tom Cruise’s in the “Top Gun” movies.

“Did Tom Cruise take less money for (‘Top Gun: Maverick’)? F— no dude,” Lillard said. “So why is a woman supposed to take less? Why wouldn’t you pay her more as the series goes on? ... Was ‘Scream 5’ a hit or not a hit? It was a smash hit. Did they make a s— ton of money? Yes.”

The “Robot Chicken” voice actor, who also made cameos in a couple of the “Scream” sequels, called the circumstances of Campbell’s departure infuriating while hailing his former cast mate as “a female lead of one of the most successful horror franchises.”

“Should Neve Campbell be paid for the work she’s done in five movies of a franchise?” he said. “Yes.”

Kennedy, who played Randy Meeks in four of the five “Scream” films, also defended Campbell last week in a YouTube video, crediting his former co-star as “the original final girl.” In the horror genre, the term “final girl” refers to a brave female character — such as Campbell’s Sidney Prescott — who survives against all odds to confront the killer at the end of the movie.

“Sidney Prescott is the center of ‘Scream,’” Kennedy said.

“Neve Campbell is the face of ‘Scream.’ ... The franchise gets rebooted. The franchise is more popular than ever. ... How can you make ‘Scream’ without Sidney Prescott? ... It’s her story, her POV, her pain. Everything is her. She’s the heroine.”

Earlier this month, Campbell confirmed in a statement that she would not be returning for “Scream 6” after contract negotiations for the next installment went south. Other legacy “Scream” stars — including Courteney Cox and Hayden Panettiere — are set to reprise their roles for the forthcoming film, which is slated to open on March 31, 2023. Jenna Ortega of “Scream 5” is also set to return.

“As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to ‘Scream,’” Campbell said.

“I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.”

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