Matthew Lillard is standing up for his former co-star. During a Twitter Spaces conversation with Midnite Movie Club, the 52-year-old actor defended Neve Campbell‘s decision to walk away from the “Scream” franchise due to a pay dispute.
Lillard played Stu in the original “Scream” film in 1996, while Campbell has starred as Sidney Prescott in all five films in the franchise.
“Did Tom Cruise take less money for [the ‘Top Gun’ sequel]? F**k no dude. So why is a woman supposed to take less? Why wouldn’t you pay her more as the series goes on?” Lillard said. “Was ‘Scream 5’ a hit or not a hit? It was a smash hit. Did they make a s**t ton of money? Yes.”
“Should Neve Campbell be paid for the work she’s done in five movies of a franchise? Yes, because she’s a female lead of one of the most successful horror franchises,” he continued, adding that the situation is “infuriating.”‘
Jamie Kennedy, who played Randy in multiple “Scream” films, likewise sided with Campbell in the dispute, stating that the whole thing “is a clear example of how twisted the system is.”
“Sidney Prescott is the center of ‘Scream.’ Neve Campbell is the face of ‘Scream.’ Ghostface chasing her throughout the whole franchise,” Kennedy said in a video he posted to YouTube. “… The franchise gets rebooted. It’s 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.”
“It’s crazy that the people behind the scenes are not paying the money to literally the face of the franchise,” he added. “It’s people who weren’t involved from the get-go. This is everything that’s wrong with the business.”
READ MORE: Dermot Mulroney To Play A Cop In ‘Scream 6’
Earlier this month, Campbell announced that she would not be returning to the Scream franchise for the sixth movie, which is set to be released next year.
“Sadly, I won’t be making the next ‘Scream’ film. As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to ‘Scream.’ I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise,” Campbell said in a statement. “It’s been a very difficult decision to move on.”
“To all my ‘Scream’ fans, I love you,” she added. “You’ve always been so incredibly supportive to me. I’m forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years.”
Though Campbell won’t be in the next ‘Scream’ movie, the film will see longtime star Courteney Cox returning as Gale Weathers alongside newcomers Melissa Barrera (Sam), Jasmin Savoy Brown (Mindy), Mason Gooding (Chad) and Jenna Ortega (Tara), who made their franchise debut in the previous film.
Additionally, Hayden Panettiere will be making her long-awaited return to the big screen for the sixth film, reprising her role as Kirby Reed, which she originated in “Scream 4.” Dermot Mulroney has also been cast in the movie, and is set to play a police officer.