Freddie Prinze Jr.’s ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ was an actor’s hell on set

A man with cuts on his face.
Freddie Prinze Jr. is opening up about trouble on set while filming “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
(Sidney Baldwin / Columbia Pictures/Mandalay Entertainment)

Freddie Prinze Jr. knows what the director did that summer.

While promoting the March release of his new horror movie podcast, “That Was Pretty Scary,” Prinze Jr. sat down with TooFab to dish on the making of one of his most notable films, the 1997 teen slasher flick “I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Prinze Jr., who co-hosts the podcast with filmmaker Jon Lee Brody, revealed that his on-set experience filming “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was, well, kind of scary.


“The director did not want me in this movie and made it clear all the time,” Prinze Jr. said on the podcast episode. “I needed a guide. I needed a director. I needed direction, and he was not trying to give it.”

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According to Prinze Jr., Jim Gillespie, who directed the film, had his heart set on “Clueless” actor Jeremy Sisto to play the role of Ray Bronson, but the studio and screenwriter Kevin Williamson saw something in Prinze Jr. and wanted him to play Bronson. Consequently, Prinze Jr. said, Gillespie had it out for him.

Tension on set became so intense that the then-21-year-old actor said he woke up not wanting to go to work, and ultimately considered quitting acting altogether. “He would give everyone notes before we shot, except me,” Prinze Jr. said. “He made it a point to single me out, every time.”

“I’ll give the man this . . . he made no bones about it,” Prinze Jr. told TooFab. “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 Jr. described receiving “psychotic notes” while filming, 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,” Prinze Jr. said. “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. I remember Ryan [Phillippe] 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.’”


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Prinze Jr. went on to say Gillespie subjected him to dangerous stunts that he had no business performing and, on the podcast, told a story about barely dodging a boat propeller accident that could have killed him.

The “She’s All That” actor insisted he held no ill will toward Gillespie, though. He said that if he hadn’t done the movie, he never would have met his wife, co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar, never would have furthered his career and wouldn’t have the podcast he has now.