Freddie Prinze Jr. Recalls Almost Quitting Acting Over 'Miserable' Experience Filming Iconic Movie

Freddie Prinze Jr. recently opened up about the "miserable" experience he had filming one of his most iconic movies. In an interview with TooFab — promoting his new podcast, That Was Pretty Scary — Prinze Jr. revealed that he almost quit acting after working on the 1997 slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer. The main reason, he says, was his conflict with the movie's director, Jim Gillespie.

"There was no passive aggressiveness, which I hate," Prinze Jr. said, then adding that the filmmaker "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." He went on to say, "It was very difficult waking up in the morning – or in the afternoon, because we shot a lot of nights – and go to work with the right attitude."

Prinze Jr. and his That Was Pretty Scary co-host Jon Lee Brody made I Know What You Did Last Summer the subject of their debut episode. During their conversation, the actor confessed that it was "a struggle every day" to work on the film. To make his point, Prinze Jr. revealed that while filming he suffered a "near-death experience" during a motorboat scene which left him feeling as if he should quit the movie, and possibly even acting altogether.

"I almost caught a flight and went home. I was just done. I had enough," he told TooFab about the incident. "They had broken a ton of union stuff that they shouldn't have done, like union rules and all kinds of things. I packed my bags that night. I was gonna just quit the business."

Even though he was frustrated and at his wit's end, Prinze Jr. was compelled to sick it out by a producer who encouraged him to not leave his co-stars — including his then-future wife Sarah Michelle Gellar — "on the wire." Offering his "hindsight" perspective, Prinze Jr. said, "I'm not upset. In hindsight, the movie launched my whole career... I wouldn't have my wife (Gellar), I wouldn't have all the other movies that I've done... I'm here because of that struggle and because of that pain."

Notably, Deadline referenced a 2017 interview that Gillespie gave for the 20th anniversary of I Know What You Did Last Summer, which seemed to paint a different story. "Nobody wanted Freddie; they thought he was too soft, he wasn't muscular enough," the director said, "so Freddie probably screen-tested four or five times. He got to the point where he was saying, 'I'm done,' and I really had to plead with him to stick with it because I wanted him. I thought he was going to be great with it." Gillespie does not appear to have issued a statement on Prinze Jr.'s new comments.