Freddie Prinze Jr.’s experience on the set of the 1997 thriller “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was indeed horrifying — and not because of the film’s murderous subject matter.
The now 47-year-old actor detailed the hair-raising antics of the film’s director, Jim Gillespie, who reportedly left him “psychotic notes.” Prinze shared his miserable experience in an interview with TooFab released earlier this week.
He explained that Gillespie didn’t want to cast him in the role of Ray Bronson, and instead preferred Jeremy Sisto for the part — something the director was reportedly very open about.
“I’ll give the man this, I think his name is Jim, he made no bones about it,” the “She’s All That” alum said of the Scottish filmmaker. “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 explained that Gillespie would often send him “psychotic notes” during shooting, such as: “Don’t leave your mouth open [because] you look stupid when you do that.”
The negative treatment forced Prinze to reconsider if he wanted to continue his acting career. The film, which follows four friends as they are being chased by a hook-handed killer, nearly pushed Prinze to use his right hook on the director.
“I’m like, ‘I’m either gonna break down or I have to beat this guy’s ass.’ Like, those were the only two options in my head,” he went on. “I was in pain every single day on that movie. However, it prepared me for this business in a way.”
The father of two said he’ll always be thankful for the project and to Gillespie because the experience helped him learn how to deal with difficult people in Hollywood. Working on the film also connected him with fellow castmate and his now-wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Prinze stated: “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 okay. I’ve been prepared for every lesser A-hole in the business.”
“I’m not upset because that movie launched my whole career,” he 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.”
He then explained how Gillespie “took a lot of frustration out” on him because the filmmaker also didn’t have the budget he wanted and didn’t have enough time to shoot.
Prinze and his “I Know What You Did Last Summer” castmate Jennifer Love Hewitt are set to reprise their roles from the 1990s slasher in an upcoming, untitled fourth film with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson being tapped to direct.
The rebooted flick will be in the vein of 2022’s horror film “Scream,” which saw legacy characters teaming up with a younger cast to defeat a murderer terrorizing their small town.