“Variety” gave us quite the treat yesterday with fellow “Scream Queens” Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell joining in on a Zoom call to discuss their horror movie experiences and what the genre has meant for their career as a whole.
As most of you know, Jamie Lee Curtis’ film career began with her role as Laurie Strode in 1978’s HALLOWEEN while Neve Campbell, who was just ascending on TV via the hit drama Party of Five, started her rode to “Scream Queen” stardom as Sidney Prescott in 1996’s SCREAM. Both actresses went on to appear in various sequels to the franchises that launched their movie careers and while they are both grateful for what the genre has done for them, both actresses aren’t afraid to bring up the sexism they endured in terms of compensation, despite being the faces of both of their respective franchises for years.
Even though both SCREAM and HALLOWEEN have grossed more than $600 million at the worldwide box office and turned Ghostface and Michael Myers into true household names of holiday fright but Curtis admits she didn’t see much money from HALLOWEEN until much later in life:
“The truth of the matter is, I didn’t really make much money off of the horror movies. Look, we’re actors, so we already make more money based on the little work we do. Tell that to a teacher or nurse. But as a young actress, I did not. I did not have ownership in the movies. There was no profit participation. There was no back end. …There was no large amount of money made. Obviously someone was making a lot of money – it was not me and it was only in the latter years – the H20, the 2018 Halloween, which, by the way, we made for scale.”
“There’s always the promise of back end. And then, of course, it’s drowned in publicity and costs and all the reasons they say ‘Oh, actually no, we didn’t make the amount of money that we’re claiming we made in all the press so that we don’t have to give you that,’ unfortunately. It was the Weinsteins.”
There is more talk of equal compensation and getting what’s fair that can be found within the “Variety” piece and video that can be found below but both actresses both expressed being pleasantly surprised by the legacy their films have left on the genre. Both actresses are back with the franchises that made them movie stars (Curtis is following up the 2018 HALLOWEEN with two more sequels in 2021 and 2022 while Campbell is back on board for SCREAM 5) but both reminisced on how they didn’t really see the success coming.
Campbell goes on to say “[On] the first [film], none of us were anybody. Courteney Cox was in the first year of ‘Friends.’ I was in the first year of ‘Party of Five.’ Matthew Lillard, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan. All of us got these careers afterward. We were just young and innocent. I remember sitting around a bonfire and thinking, ‘Do you think if people see this movie that there might be a Halloween costume? Nah! Curtis adds to that by speaking on her experience with HALLOWEEN by saying “We had nothing to lose; we didn’t know that we had anything to gain. We were just so happy to have this gig. The original ‘Halloween’ was made in 17 days with like 12 people. … Everybody was young. There was magic happening and none of us, not one person — I would dare say even John Carpenter and Debra Hill — I don’t think anybody knew”
So great to see these two legends of the horror genre virtually sitting down for a little chat. There seemed to be mutual respect on both ends and it was interesting to hear how they had similar experiences within their respective franchises. They’re definitely probably the two best “Scream Queens” of the genre for most horror fans out there.