The Scream franchise has suffered more wounds this week, with it now being revealed the previous reports of Jenna Ortega’s departure due to ‘scheduling conflicts’ being untrue. When it may have been yet another pay dispute for one of the franchises leading stars.
Reported in The Hollywood Reporter a franchise insider has claimed the situation is a “shambles” and “very raw” with bad news continually plaguing the 7th installment. It’s now claimed that due to Ortega’s rising star, she had requested a seven figure deal. Apparently baulked at by the notoriously tight Scream bosses, leading to her departure.
It’s not the first time a pay dispute has cost them a lead actor, the franchises biggest star Neve Campbell claimed that she was underpaid and felt undervalued, causing her to leave.
Why was Melissa Barrera fired?
After leading 2022’s Scream and 2023’s Scream VI, Melissa Barrera was set to head up what would have been a rumored final film in a Carpenter sisters trilogy. But she was dropped from the latest installment of the franchise after she published a series of social media posts in the wake of the Israel-Hamas War.
She wrote on Instagram, “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp, Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water … People have learnt nothing from our histories. And just like our histories, people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.”
In response a spokesperson for Spyglass the production company behind the Scream franchise issued a statement “Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”
There has been backlash to Barrera’s ousting including the film’s director Christopher Landon’s now deleted tweet, “Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”
What’s next and could Neve Campbell return?
With the Scream franchise turned on its head in recent months, it looks like a creative reboot could be on the cards. Scream has a history of interchangeable characters and villains, it’s switched ensembles and dipped legacy characters in and out so it’s entirely feasible to continue the story without the Carpenter sisters.
So where next? A number of characters remain alive including Sidney Prescott & Gale Weathers. Producers are reportedly keen to see Neve Campbell return as reported by Variety. But they will need to get on their knees and get their wallets out after letting her walk away. After refusing to pay her what she believed she was worth she stated she “couldn’t walk on set feeling undervalued.”
Another name reportedly on producers wish list is Patrick Dempsey who appeared in 2000’s Scream 3. He is being targeted alongside franchise regular Courteney Cox, but there are no active negotiations happening at the moment.
Director Christopher Landon remains onboard, as well as writer James Vanderbilt, who co-wrote the previous two installments. They all have their work cutout to get the franchise back on track.