Freddie Prinze Jr. might be considering a return to the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” franchise, but the star doesn’t have many fond memories of making the original slasher flick.
In a recent interview with Too Fab, the “She’s All That” star called the making of the 1997 movie — one of his first major screen credits — a “miserable” experience that almost caused him to quit acting. Specifically, Prinze said his issues stemmed from clashes with the director Jim Gillespie, who wanted to cast Jeremy Sisto, then best known for “Clueless,” but was pushed to hire Prinze by the studio and screenwriter Kevin Williamson.
“It’s not that we weren’t on the same page, I knew what the correct choices were for the Ray character. He wanted a different actor, a really good actor named Jeremy Sisto, who I know and I like and respect very, very much,” Prinze said. “There was no passive aggressiveness — which I hate — he was very direct in the fact that, ‘I don’t want you in this movie.’ So when that’s your first job and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man. It just wrecks you.”
Prinze further claimed that Gillespie often singled him out during filming, giving him mean-spirited notes like saying he “looks stupid” when his mouth is open, or ignoring him in favor of the other cast members. He said that the experience had a negative impact on his mental health and that he had to lean on his co-stars for support.
“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,” Prinze said. “Because I knew the moment we got on to set for rehearsal, I was either going to be Mr. Pay No Mind, which would be where he would give everyone notes before we shot anything or before we rehearsed, except me. He made it a point to single me out every time, would bring the other actors together without me, and give them all notes. And I’m like, well was he just trying to do some method crap? I just don’t understand.”
Although he didn’t go into detail, Prinze also alleged that he almost quit the film after nearly being injured during a stunt that occurred involving a motorboat on set. Prize claimed that production on the scene broke union rules, and he only stayed on the project after a producer talked him into staying.
“I just felt like yo, if I’m not wanted here, screw it,” Prinze said. “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. I packed my bags that night. I was just gonna quit the business.”
Prinze recently covered “I Know What You Did Last Summer” in the premiere episode of his horror film podcast “That Was Pretty Scary.” According to Prinze, this was the first time he ever watched the film, as he skipped the screening of the film during its original ’90s premiere.
“I don’t want to see my face, I hate my face, I hate the way I look, I don’t think I’m a good lookin’ dude,” Prinze said. “It wasn’t because it was a difficult job or because of the weird things that went on on that, the good things that went on on that, the bad things that went on on that. It’s just one of those things.”
Filming for the slasher wasn’t a total loss for Prinze though; one of his co-stars was future wife Sarah Michelle Geller, who he began dating three years after meeting during production on the film.
“In hindsight, I’m not upset, because that movie launched my whole career,” Prinze said. “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, I wouldn’t have this podcast. We wouldn’t be doing this interview. I’m here because of that struggle and because of that pain and it was those things.”
Prize would return to the slasher film franchise in 1998 in the follow-up film “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” directed by Danny Cannon. The “Scooby-Doo” actor is currently in discussions to appear in an upcoming revival of the franchise from “Do Revenge” director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, alongside co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt.