Lights, camera, acrimony? Freddie Prinze Jr. claimed that I Know What You Did Last Summer director Jim Gillespie didn’t want him in the 1997 movie — and had no problem telling him so.
“There was no passive aggressiveness, which I hate. He was very direct [with] the fact that, ‘I don’t want you in this movie,'” the She’s All That actor, 47, said of Gillespie during a Tuesday, March 14, interview with TooFab. “So, when that’s your first job and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man.”
Prinze claimed that the Joyride director “made it a point to single [him] out every time,” and gave him “psychotic notes” such as, “Don’t leave your mouth open. You look stupid when you do that.”
The California native noted that despite wanting to “fight that guy two or three different times,” he thinks Gillespie’s alleged behavior prepared him for a career in Hollywood.
“I’m forever grateful to Jim for being such an a—hole because I’ve never met one like that since. … No other director I’ve met felt crossing those lines would be OK. I’ve been prepared for every lesser a—hole in the business,” he said.
Prinze continued: “I’m sure he’s a hero in someone else’s story. I’m sure he helped someone else out and they loved him. But for me, he took a lot of frustration out on me. He was a first-time director, he didn’t have a lot of time, he didn’t have the budget he wanted, he didn’t have the actor he wanted and he didn’t know how to deal with that frustration.”
Gillespie, for his part, recalled the story differently during an October 2017 interview with DigitalSpy.
“Nobody wanted Freddie; they thought he was too soft, he wasn’t muscular enough, so Freddie probably screen-tested four or five times,” the filmmaker claimed at the time. “He got to the point where he was saying, ‘I’m done,’ and I really had to plead with him to stick with it because I wanted him. I thought he was going to be great with it. He went to the gym and worked out, changed his diet and his haircut. I stuck to my guns and eventually they went, ‘Yes.'” Us Weekly has reached out to Gillespie for comment.
Although Prinze calls shooting the horror flick a “miserable” experience, the actor acknowledged that the film launched his career and introduced him to his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who, along with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ryan Phillippe, costarred with Prinze in the film.
“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,” he told TooFab.
Although the Summer Catch star didn’t begin dating Gellar, 45, until 2000, Prinze exclusively told Us Weekly in April 2020 that the pair got close while filming I Know What You Did Last Summer.
“She didn’t have a driver’s license. She didn’t know how to drive. And we were shooting in Southport, North Carolina, which was an hour’s drive from the nearest city, Wilmington. … It was an hour drive just to get to the gym. And when we transported the film down to South Park, she had no way to get up there,” the Freddie alum shared.
He continued: “So, I started driving her, and that’s when her and I became friends. And we just would talk about life and stuff like that, and we had completely different philosophies on just about everything. ‘Cause she was a born and raised New Yorker and I was a born and raised L.A. kid, and we just looked at everything like night and day.”
The costars tied the knot in 2002 and share daughter Charlotte, 13, and son Rocky, 10. Gellar and Prinze opened up about the secret to their enduring romance during a joint January 2019 conversation with Us.
“Communicate. That’s the key. It’s about being present. Listening is the most important thing,” the Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum said.
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Prinze added: “We still make each other laugh. And we treat each other with respect.”
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