Neve Campbell, the icon who helped elevate the horror film genre with her starring role in the Scream franchise, unfortunately won’t be returning for Scream 6. We’ll give you one guess why.
“As a woman, I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream,” the 48-year-old actress said in a statement to Page Six, after confirming her exit is due to pay discrepancies.
“It’s been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you. You’ve always been so incredibly supportive to me,” the statement continued. “I’m forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years.”
Campbell has played Sidney Prescott, a once bright-eyed teenager with a past that keeps haunting her, since the first Scream in 1996—returning for every sequel, including the most recent Scream 5, which premiered in January. Her continued involvement gave fans every reason to believe she’d also be in the newest installment, expected to premiere in 2023.
It’s hard to imagine another Scream movie without the lifeblood of the franchise, but Campbell knows what she brings to the table—and is rightfully refusing to be lowballed. It’s a complete shame, and a major loss for fans, that the studio isn’t willing to offer their top star what she deserves.
Of course, Campbell isn’t the only Hollywood actress fighting against a system that’s insistent on delivering lackluster offers, which don’t even seem to attempt pay equality. Julianna Margulies, Octavia Spencer, Natalie Portman, and Sandra Bullock are just a few of the dozens of Hollywood A-listers who have spoken out about or walked away from roles over the gender pay gap in movies. Margulies famously refused to return to her Emmy-winning role as Alicia Floreck for the third season of The Good Wife, despite “really wanting to do it,” after the network refused her rate. “CBS wouldn’t pay me,” she told Deadline in 2019. She said she was offered a guest star rate, which she rejected. “I’m not a guest star; I started the whole thing with The Good Wife. I wanted to be paid my worth and stand up for equal pay. if Jon Hamm came back for a Mad Men spinoff or Kiefer Sutherland wanted to do a 24 spinoff, they would be paid.”
And in 2019, Michelle Williams visited Capitol Hill on National Equal Pay Day in an effort to draw more attention to the gender pay gap, following her own experience of being paid significantly less than Mark Wahlberg for a reshoot of All the Money in the World. Wahlberg took home an insane $1.5 million, while Williams barely received $1,000. The mind-blowing difference in paydays between the two stars garnered a lot of attention, both within and outside the industry, with Williams admitting that being paid a lot less than her male counterpart is standard fare.
“This came as no surprise to me, it simply reinforced my life-learned belief that equality is not an inalienable right and that women would always be working just as hard for less money while shouldering more responsibility at home,” she said during her visit to Capitol Hill.
It’s said all too often, and proven time and time again, but women still have a long way to go when it comes to being valued for their talent, hard work and commitment in an industry that remains stuck in the Dark Ages. Sidney Prescott will be missed, but Neve Campbell deserves better.