Jenna Ortega quit Scream VII weeks ago over a salary dispute, not a scheduling conflict, as reported. Ortega played Tara Carpenter in 2022's Scream and 2023's Scream VI.
Spyglass Media Group, which produces the Scream movies, dropped Melissa Barrera from Scream VII for her Instagram posts that describe Palestine as a “colonized country” and accuse Israel forces of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” A day after Barrera got fired, Ortega announced that she won't appear in Scream VII either. Although some initially thought that Ortega's exit was to stand in solidarity with her on-screen sister, the official reason is that Ortega's filming schedule for season two of Wednesday prohibits her from working on Scream VII.
According to The Hollywood Reporter sources, Ortega actually dropped out weeks before Barrera's firing due to a salary dispute. Between 2022's Scream and 2023's Scream VI, Ortega's star skyrocketed thanks to Wednesday. With no contract in place for Scream VII, Ortega reportedly asked for more money. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Ortega had been paid in the six figures for her previous installments, but her team now wants projects with significant paydays, something that the Scream franchise is not known for. Sources say she was seeking high seven figures and anticipated that Spyglass would balk.”
The Scream Series Lost Both Jenna Ortega and Original Scream Queen Neve Campbell
Although Neve Campbell reprised her role as Sidney Prescott in 2022's Scream opposite Jenna Ortega, Campbell felt “undervalued” about what Spyglass offered her to return for Scream VI. The fact that Scream VI ended up becoming the highest-grossing Scream movie domestically gave Spyglass head Gary Barber the idea that the Scream franchise isn't as dependent on its leading ladies as other franchises, such as Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. “He didn’t need Neve, he doesn’t need Jenna,” said one insider.
Rumor is that with the departure of both Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega from Scream VII, Spyglass is testing the waters by circling back to Neve Campbell for a possible return. The Hollywood Reporter reports, “While some insiders say the situation is a ‘shambles' and ‘very raw,' it may not be as dire as it might seem. Scream has always had interchangeable villains behind the mask, ensemble casts, and certain legacy characters. Another reboot will not fatally stab the franchise. Christopher Landon remains on board as director, as does James Vanderbilt, who cowrote the two previous installments.”
Production on Tim Burton's Beetlejuice 2, starring Jenna Ortega, just wrapped. Next Ortega will start filming season two of Burton's Netflix series Wednesday.