Freddie Prinze Jr. almost quit acting after he endured a “miserable” experience filming I Know What You Did Last Summer.
The actor, best know for his roles in She’s All That and the Scooby Doo movies, has claimed that he and the movie’s director, Jim Gillespie, had conflicts that made shooting the 1997 horror a negative experience. Prinze Jr. alleges that the director would give him “psychotic notes” and “single” him out for negative treatment, amongst other things.
Speaking to TooFab, Prinze Jr. claimed Gillespie preferred Jeremy Sisto for the role of Ray Bronson, but the studio and writer Kevin Williamson pushed to cast him instead. “There was no passive aggressiveness, which I hate. He was very direct [with] the fact that, ‘I don’t want you in this movie’,” Prinze Jr. stated.
He added: “So when that’s your first job and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man.” Prinze Jr. then went on to claim that Gillespie would give him “psychotic notes” and “made it a point to single me out every time,” excluding him when the director had called other actors together to read notes before shooting.
He said the conditions for filming what was his first major movie were not ideal to this workplace environment, saying: “It was very difficult waking up in the morning — or in the afternoon, because we shot a lot of nights — and go to work with the right attitude.”
The actor also claimed that he came close to quitting his role and the movie after a “near death experience” while filming on a motorboat for the horror film’s finale. He said: “I almost caught a flight and went home. I was done. I had enough. They had broken a ton of union stuff that they shouldn’t have, like union rules. All kinds of things.
“And, I just felt like if I’m not wanted here, screw it. There’s other things I can do. I dropped out of Le Cordon Bleu to make this movie. I’ll go be a chef, that’s what my mom wanted me to be anyways.”
Speaking of Gillespie’s alleged treatment of him, Prinze Jr. said he ended up wanting “to fight that guy two or three different times.”
However, Prinze Jr. did say that co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar – whom he married in 2002 – helped him through the experience. He also stated that there were positive outcomes from being in the slasher film.
He admitted: “I’m not upset because that movie launched my whole career. I wouldn’t have any of the things I have without that movie. I wouldn’t have my wife, I wouldn’t have all the other movies I’ve done.”
Contrary to Prince Jr.’s claims, Jim Gillespie has previously alleged that he gave the actor his full backing from before the cameras were even rolling – giving an account at odds with Prinze Jr.’s. In 2017, Gillespie told Digital Spy: “Nobody wanted Freddie; they thought he was too soft, he wasn’t muscular enough, so Freddie probably screen-tested four or five times.
“He got to the point where he was saying, ‘I’m done’, and I really had to plead with him to stick with it because I wanted him. I thought he was going to be great with it. He went to the gym and worked out, changed his diet and his hair cut. I stuck to my guns and eventually they went, ‘Yes’.”
Gillespie has not responded at this time to Prinze. Jr’s comments.