The Transformation Of Neve Campbell From Childhood To Scream
While she’s best known for portraying Sidney Prescott in the meta slasher “Scream” and its sequels, Neve Campbell isn’t afraid to admit that she “used to hate scary movies” (via The Washington Post). The tables have turned, though, and she’s once again reprising the final girl role for the upcoming “Scream” alongside Courteney Cox and David Arquette, as they fend off Ghostface for the fifth time.
Before her “Scream” fame, Campbell had a rather untraditional journey toward stardom. In fact, she hadn’t planned on becoming an actress at all. Despite this, her lifelong love for performing led her to success in cult classic nineties films like “The Craft” and “Wild Things.” Most recently, she’s starred as LeAnn Harvey in “House of Cards,” Laura Sobiech in the musical biopic “Clouds,” and Rebecca in “Castle in the Ground.” She’s also set to appear in the upcoming legal drama “The Lincoln Lawyer” (via Deadline). Her most anticipated film, though, is undoubtedly the latest Scream movie.
Let’s dive into Neve Campbell’s early career before Sidney Prescott’s fate is all anyone can talk about.
Neve Campbell wanted to be dancer
Before Neve Campbell became an actress, she was a dedicated ballerina. Inspired by a performance of “The Nutcracker,” she began taking classes as a child and went on to train at the National Ballet School of Canada. In an interview with IGN, she explained that her childhood passion for dancing stemmed from her communication issues.
“I wasn’t very good at speaking my mind, and I went through some challenges as a kid with my family, as we all do. And I found this outlet where I could express myself without actually really having to say what I was thinking. So, I found a real passion for it because of that, and then it just grew,” she said.
However, because ballet training is rigorous, she sustained various injuries to her hips, knees, ankles, shins, and back that convinced her to switch from dancing to acting at 15 (via IGN). “I never wanted to be an actor,” she told the Guardian. “It was something I found a passion for; it wasn’t there immediately.”
This decision led to a prolific acting career, though she still maintains that dance will always be her number one, calling it her “first love in art” (via IGN).
Neve Campbell's early TV career
Though Neve Campbell was committed to dancing, she found that acting offered a similar emotional outlet and became devoted to her new craft, as well. Her first on-screen performances were in spunky early nineties commercials for brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Tampax. In 1991, the actress appeared in an uncredited role on “My Secret Identity,” a Canadian sitcom about a teenage superhero. From there, she went on to have a guest appearance on the Canadian sketch comedy show “The Kids in the Hall” and appeared on shows like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.” She scored her first recurring role on “Catwalk” as Daisy McKenzie, a keyboard player in the up-and-coming pop band at the center of the show.
Campbell joked with Entertainment Weekly that her role on the musical show is “one that I usually try to forget,” referencing Daisy’s voluminous hair and “ridiculous” outfits. However, she went on to say that it was “fun” and important because it was her first series.
After “Catwalk,” she appeared in a handful of small films including “The Dark” in 1993 and the made-for-TV dramas “I Know My Son is Alive” and “The Forget-Me-Not-Murders” in 1994.
She portrayed Julia Salinger on Party of Five
Shortly after visiting Hollywood to find an agent and pursue an acting career in the United States, Neve Campbell was cast as Julia Salinger in “Party of Five.” The Fox series follows the five Salinger siblings as they grapple with the untimely deaths of their parents and learn how to raise one another.
From running their family restaurant to dealing with the emotional toll of being orphans, the coming-of-age drama ran for six seasons and explored intense subjects such as addiction, cancer, and domestic violence. Julia, the sensitive middle child, often had storylines about facing peer pressure, relationship woes, and the fallout from her impulsive decision-making.
Though the show was critically acclaimed, “Party of Five” surprised everyone by winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama in 1996 (via IMDb). The show’s success launched the careers of Campbell, Lacey Chabert (who portrayed Claudia Salinger), and Jennifer Love Hewitt (who portrayed Sarah Reeves Merrin).
Campbell speaks highly of her time on “Party of Five” and revealed that the cast still keeps in touch. “We spent so much time together at a very young age and at a very important time in our lives where, you know, things really came together for us and… we hold onto that,” she said on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in 2018.
Neve Campbell became the ultimate final girl in Scream
With a handful of film appearances, an ongoing role in “Party of Five,” and coming off what would become a witchy cult classic (that being “The Craft,” of course), Neve Campbell was relatively unknown when she was cast as Sidney Prescott in “Scream.” Directed by Wes Craven, the 1996 meta slasher film turned the horror genre on its head by poking fun at and subverting well-known tropes.
The film was a critical success and has since become a cult classic along with its sequels, with horror fans crowning Sidney as one of the best final girls of all time. Ironically, Campbell had no idea how huge “Scream” was going to be. Talking to fellow scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis (“Halloween”) for Variety, the actresses bonded over how they stumbled into the genre by chance and could’ve never predicted how audiences would embrace their characters. Campbell talked about heartwarming fan interactions and said that she thought was “just making a horror movie,” and added, “it’s just amazing what can come out of something when you have no idea.”
Now, fans can watch the trailer for the long-awaited fifth entry to the franchise. “Scream” will be in theaters on January 14, 2022.