Scream creator Kevin Williamson has addressed Neve Campbell’s decision to sit out of the franchise’s latest instalment due to a salary dispute, urging film studio Paramount Pictures to “pay her the money”.
Campbell, 49, has been the horror-slasher franchise’s recurring lead since its debut film in 1996. However, last year, she announced she would not be returning for 2023’s Scream 6, claiming the studio’s offer “did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise”.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Happy Horror Time podcast, Williamson, who wrote the screenplay for the original film – which launched the popular franchise – in addition to those for Scream 2 and Scream 4, said he “totally respects” Campbell’s choice.
“I know exactly where she’s coming from, I know her well,” he said. “I love and adore her and that’s what she did. It’s right for her. I love everyone involved in Scream and all I can say is, pay her the money. That’s what I would do, I would give her the money.”
In June 2022, the Wild Things actor announced the “difficult decision” on Instagram.
“I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise. It’s been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you,” Campbell wrote.
She added that her fans had always been “incredibly supportive”, and that she was “forever grateful” to what the franchise had “given [her] over the past 25 years”.
“Sadly, I won’t be making the next Scream film,” Campbell said in a statement to Variety at the time. “As a woman, I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream.”
Paramount Pictures and the film’s directors did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
Scream 6, which premiered in March, was the first movie of the franchise not to feature Campbell. Instead, it welcomed the return of Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Hayden Panettiere, and Mason Gooding, who all led Scream 5 (2022).
Courtney Cox also reprised her role as journalist Gale Weathers, who has appeared in every film since the original.
Days before Scream 6’s release, it was announced that Scream 7 had already been confirmed.
Williamson, who also executive produced the fifth and sixth films, said he was hopeful that “one day they will figure that all out”.
“I’m sure there’s a number they can agree on that will make them both happy,” he said.
He teased that Scream 4, 5, and 6 “would have been the love story of Sidney Prescott [Campbell], and it would’ve been this whole thing of she’s falling in love, she’s going to get married, it’s all based around her marriage when these murders start happening again”.
“It’s like, is this man that she’s in love with the killer again? Is she Billy Loomis-ing herself all over again? Is she still making the wrong decisions? Is she still choosing the bad guy?” Williamson explained, referencing Sidney’s first boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), who ended up being the Ghostface killer.
Should Campbell return, Williamson said he is “absolutely determined” to ultimately give Sidney her happy ending.