Freddie Prinze Jr. has opened up about his experience making the 1997 slasher film, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which he fully credits for launching his career and introducing him to his now-wife Sarah Michelle Gellar. Prinze is forever grateful for the film, but he also vividly remembers almost quitting Hollywood thanks to his experience with director Jim Gillespie.
According to Prinze, Gillespie was dead-set on casting Jeremy Sisto, but was ultimately overruled by the studio and writer Kevin Williamson. That did not bode well for Prinze.
“I’ll give the man this, I think his name is Jim, he made no bones about it. There was no passive aggressiveness — which I hate — he was very direct in the fact that, ‘I don’t want you in this movie,’” Prinze told TooFab. “So when that’s your first job and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man. It just wrecks you.”
The situation continued to deteriorate during filming as Gillespie would make it a point to either single out Prinze or exclude him altogether while giving notes on scenes. Without co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Gellar offering him support, Prinze said he almost quit the picture. Via TooFab:
“So, when I did have those moments where the director was giving me psychotic notes, like ‘Don’t leave your mouth open. You look stupid when you do that’ — that was the exact note, word for word, I’ll never forget it — and 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 continued. “I remember Ryan came up to me and was like, ‘Screw that guy, man. How many times did you audition for this movie?’ and I go, ‘Five times,’ he goes, ‘Yeah, you earned it. You didn’t get offered the role, you earned it.”
At the end of the day, Prinze is not angry about the film at all, and again, he credits it for helping him land other roles and for his marriage. He’s also thankful for Gillespie because every other director was a cakewalk after him.
“I’m forever grateful for Jim for being such an asshole because I’ve never met one like that since,” Prinze said. “I’ve been prepared for every lesser A-hole in the business.”