Is the Scream franchise in trouble? Last week, we heard the shocking news that Scream (2022) and Scream VI star Melissa Barrera won’t be reprising the role of troubled heroine Samantha Carpenter in the upcoming Scream 7, as she had been fired from the project after comments she made about the Israel-Hamas war didn’t go over well with executives at Spyglass Media. The next day, it was revealed that Barrera’s co-star Jenna Ortega, who played Samantha’s sister Tara, will also be absent from Scream 7. Scheduling issues were blamed for Ortega’s exit, as she’ll be spending several months filming Wednesday season 2 in Ireland next year. Many fans rejected that explanation, assuming Ortega had dropped out in solidarity with Barrera. But a new The Hollywood Reporter article claims that Ortega’s Scream 7 absence is actually due to a pay dispute – you know, the same issue that caused Neve Campbell to step away from Scream VI. Apparently Ortega was seeking a substantial pay raise, even though she knew Spyglass wouldn’t respond well to that.
Here’s how The Hollywood Reporter put it: Sources say Ortega — who has skyrocketed from child star to supporting player in last year’s Scream to the A-list thanks to her turn in the Netflix series Wednesday — asked for a bigger payday for the seventh installment, commensurate with her status. Unlike Barrera, sources say Ortega had no deal in place. Ortega had been paid in the six figures for her previous installments, but her team now wants projects with significant paydays, something that the Scream franchise is not known for. Sources say she was seeking high seven figures and anticipated that Spyglass would balk. Spyglass head Gary Barber is known for his shrewd business sense or for being cheap, depending on what side of the table you are on, multiple sources say. The studio had already lost Scream stalwart Neve Campbell over a salary dispute for this year’s Scream VI, with the actress saying at the time that she “couldn’t walk on set feeling undervalued.” Many predicted that film would fail without its original star, but it ended up being the biggest movie in the franchise since the 1996 original. Barber’s apparent takeaway is that neither stars nor large salaries are essential. “He didn’t need Neve, he doesn’t need Jenna,” says one insider.
The Hollywood Reporter also confirmed that Barrera did have a deal in place to star in Scream 7, but had actually been fired from the project a month before the news leaked out into the world.
So without Ortega, who was never locked in to return, and Barrera, who was signed on for a while, Scream (2022) and Scream VI writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick have to completely rework the plot of Scream 7. They’re working on a new draft of the script that may keep set pieces and twists they already had in mind, but will have to focus on different characters. Apparently the hope behind the scenes is that Neve Campbell might agree to return as franchise heroine Sidney Prescott, alongside her Scream 3 co-star Patrick Dempsey.
Freaky and Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon is attached to direct Scream 7. The directors of the previous two movies, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, are busy working on their Universal Monster movie – a project that was once known as Dracula’s Daughter and counts Barrera among its cast members.
What do you think of Jenna Ortega missing out on Scream 7 because Spyglass wasn’t willing to give her a pay raise? Let us know by leaving a comment below.