Freddie Prinze Jr. Details "Miserable" Experience Filming I Know What You Did Last Summer

Freddie Prinze Jr. still knows what director Jim Gillespie did on the set of I Know What You Did Last Summer, recalling the "miserable" experience that almost made him quit acting. In the role that launched his career, Prinze Jr. played Ray Bronson, one of four teens who dump a victim's body into the sea after a fatal accident — only to be stalked by a hook-wielding killer seeking revenge for what they did "last summer." Prinze Jr. went on to reprise his role in the Danny Cannon-directed sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer despite the "bad things" the actor says happened on set of the 1997 slasher.

In an interview with TooFab, Prinze Jr. said Gillespie wanted to cast Clueless actor Jeremy Sisto in the role of Ray, while producers Mandalay Entertainment and writer Kevin Williamson (of Scream fame) pushed for Prinze Jr. 

"It's not that we weren't on the same page, I knew what the correct choices were for the Ray character. He wanted a different actor, a really good actor named Jeremy Sisto, who I know and I like and respect very very much," Prinze Jr. said, adding Gillespie "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 Jr. recalled. "So when that's your first job and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man. It just wrecks you." He went on to credit his co-stars, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, for helping him through the shoot.


"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. There were less people every single time time you went and then it was just you. Remember what booked you this role. Screw his notes. Any note he gives you just say, 'Okay, and do what you want to do.' He was the first person to say that to me."

Prinze Jr. detailed the difficulty of returning to set with the right attitude because Gillespie "would give everyone notes before we shot anything or before we rehearsed, except me," the actor said. "He made it a point to single me out every time, would bring the other actors together without me, and give them all notes. And I'm like, well was he just trying to do some method crap? I just don't understand."

For his new horror movie podcast That Was Pretty Scary, Prinze Jr. recalled how he "almost quit" I Know What You Did Last Summer after suffering a "near-death experience" while filming a scene on a motorboat. 

"I almost caught a flight and went home. I was done. I had enough. They had broken a ton of union stuff that they shouldn't have, like union rules. All kinds of things. And I just felt like yo, if I'm not wanted here, screw it," Prinze Jr. told TooFab. "There's other things I can do. I dropped out of Le Cordon Bleu to make this movie. I'll go be a chef, that's what my mom wanted me to be anyways. I packed my bags that night. I was just gonna quit the business."

Prinze Jr. continued: "I wanted to fight that guy two or three different times. Once I felt was a legitimate reason, and the other two I was just pissed off, which, that's not right. I'm glad everybody talked me down." In hindsight, he added, "I'm not upset, because that movie launched my whole career. I wouldn't have any of the things I have without that movie, I wouldn't have my wife [Gellar], I wouldn't have all the other movies I've done, I wouldn't have this podcast. We wouldn't be doing this interview. I'm here because of that struggle and because of that pain and it was those things."

Prinze Jr. went on to say he was "miserable" making I Know What You Did Last Summer and that the experience "sucked," but had the "exact opposite experience" working under Cannon on the sequel. 

In February, it was reported that Sony Pictures tapped Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Do Revenge) to write and Leah McKendrick (Scrambled) to direct an IKWYDLS sequel with Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt in talks to reprise their roles. But Prinze Jr. says the studio "leaked" that news to "get people hyped about their movie," revealing he has been "offered nothing, nothing." After his reported involvement made headlines, Prinze Jr. talked with McKendrick, telling TooFab, "She's spoken to me about the idea, but I haven't said yes, I haven't received an offer."