Scream VI director addresses Neve Campbell’s exit: ‘You can’t make a Scream film without Sidney’

Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott in Scream.

Scream VI director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin has revealed how he incorporated Neve Campbell’s character Sidney Prescott into the film without the actor ever appearing.

Scream VI is the first in the franchise to not feature Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, its most recognisable character besides Ghostface.

The actress was reportedly unhappy with the “unfair” deal presented to her for the film, making it the first instalment without its signature scream queen.

However, Sidney, who first appears in the original 1996 Scream, is still referenced in the film.

After the latest round of Ghostface killing sprees start, Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers tells half sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega) that: “[Sidney’s] taking Mark and the kids somewhere safe” because “she deserves to have a happy ending”.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (who co-directed 2022’s Scream as well as the latest bloody offering) explained why the pair decided to namecheck the character in this way.

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“For us, you can’t make a Scream that doesn’t have Sidney’s presence in it somewhere, you know,” said Bettinelli-Olpin.

“It just felt like we had to make sure that the characters dealt with that in a real, honest, heartfelt way. And the way that it’s dealt with in the movie felt right to us.”

For the first time, Ghostface is not targeting Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) in Scream VI. (Paramount Pictures)

Neve Campbell exited the franchise after pay negotiations failed to “equate to the value [she] brought to the franchise”.

“As a woman, I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream,” Campbell wrote in a statement.

Fan reactions to Scream VI have been largely positive, and the film currently sits at 92 per cent audience score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Scream series has long since been co-opted by the queer community, with creator Kevin Williamson saying the slasher franchise is “coded in gay survival“.

Neve Campbell herself has even weighed in on the fan theory that original killers Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) and Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) were in a secret queer relationship.

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