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Freddie Prinze Jr. Got Angry With ‘Scooby-Doo’ Franchise After Studio Requested Pay Cut to Boost Co-Stars’ Salaries: ‘Screw That’

Variety logo Variety 11/29/2022 Zack Sharf
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Freddie Prinze Jr. revealed in a recent Esquire interview that he grew furious with the “Scooby-Doo” franchise after he was asked to take a pay cut on the second film, 2004’s “Monsters Unleashed,” in order to boost the salaries of his co-stars. Prinze Jr. starred in both 2002’s “Scooby-Doo” and 2004’s “Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed” as Fred opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy and Linda Cardellini as Velma.

“I remember thinking, ‘Hold up, who’s giving them the raise? Me or y’all?’ Like we made you guys three-quarters of a billion dollars, you can’t afford to pay them what I’m making on this? Screw that,” Prinze Jr. said about being asked to take a pay cut on the sequel. The studio allegedly leaked his salary to the press in order to get him to comply, which killed any chance of Prinze Jr. returning for a third film. He added, “My ego was so angry.”

Prinze Jr. said he also grew frustrated with the “Scooby-Doo” franchise because the script that convinced him to star as Fred was not the script that ended up being made. Screenwriter James Gunn revealed as much in a tweet from earlier this year in which he wrote, “The first ‘Scooby-Doo’ was originally intended (by me, the producers & the director, Raja Gosnell) to be PG-13, but we never got a PG-13 rating. The first rating from the MPAA was R, and then a bunch of stuff was changed and that cut ended up being rated PG.”

Gunn also wanted to depict Velma as an openly gay character in the 2002 movie, but the studio got in his way. “In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script,” he wrote on Twitter. “But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel).”

All these years later, Prinze Jr. can finally look back at the “Scooby-Doo” franchise with a bit more fondness. Both films have become cult favorites.

“All these people that had grown up loving those [‘Scooby-Doo’] movies started reaching out… and then I got what I felt was a more accurate perspective on what that movie meant to people because I was no longer viewing it through the lenses of the studio,” he told Esquire magazine.

Prinze Jr. currently stars in Netflix’s new original holiday movie “Christmas With You,” now streaming.

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