Matthew Lillard Defends Neve Campbell’s ‘Scream 6’ Exit: ‘Why Is a Woman Supposed to Take Less?’

Matthew Lillard is a fan-favorite actor who has appeared in several cult-classic films, including Scooby-Doo and She’s All That. Lillard, who became a presence in Hollywood in the early ’90s, is best known to some for his work in the 1996 horror classic Scream. With the recent news that fellow Scream star Neve Campbell won’t be reprising her role as Sidney Prescott in Scream 6, Lillard’s name is in the headlines again as he defends his co-star.

Matthew Lillard and Neve Campbell both starred in the original ‘Scream’

matthew lillard neve campbell
Matthew Lillard & Neve Campbell during “Scream 2” – Hollywood Premiere in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Lillard and Campbell worked together in 1996’s Scream, a film that quickly became known as a modern-day horror-comedy classic. Campbell played Sidney Prescott, a bold heroine who fights the advances of a mysterious killer. As Sidney seeks to uncover the identity of the masked killer known as Ghostface, she turns to her friend group, including goofy Stu, played by Lillard.

Of course, Scream fans know that the film’s ending featured a surprising twist involving Stu. Because of this, Lillard didn’t go on to reprise his role in any of the Scream sequels. But fans still fondly recall his dedicated performance as Stu, and closely associate him with the franchise.

Neve Campbell won’t be returning to the franchise for ‘Scream 6’

The Scream franchise returned with the January 2022 fifth installment, simply titled Scream. A sixth installment in the franchise was quickly announced. Many fans assumed that franchise mainstay Neve Campbell would again return. However, reports started circulating that Campbell had dropped out of the sixth film due to failed salary negotiations.

Campbell herself offered a statement in the days that followed, with NME reporting that the star’s decision to drop out was due to financial reasons. “As a woman, I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream,” Campbell said. “I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.” She went on to note, “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. I’m forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years.”

What did Matthew Lillard say in defense of Neve Campbell?

While fans expressed disappointment, Campbell’s Scream co-stars defended her decision – including Lillard. As reported by Screen Rant, Lillard spoke up about Campbell in a recent conversation with Midnite Movie Club on Twitter Spaces. Lillard compared Campbell to another major franchise star. “Did Tom Cruise take less money for [Top Gun:Maverick? F— no. Why is a woman supposed to take less? Why wouldn’t you pay her more as the series goes on?”

Lillard went on. “Should Neve Campbell be paid for the work she’s done in five movies of a franchise? Yes. Because she is a female lead of… one of the most successful horror franchises. Infuriating.” It’s clear that he has a lot of love for his former co-star, and he doesn’t mind stepping up to the plate to defend her tough decision.

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