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Assessing Neve Campbell: The Reluctant Scream Queen

By Agent Bedhead | Career Assessments | April 13, 2011 |

By Agent Bedhead | Career Assessments | April 13, 2011 |

Subject: Neve Campbell, 37-year old Canadian actress

Date of Assessment: April 13, 2011

Positive Buzzwords: Scream queen, television

Negative Buzzwords: Limited range, ambivalent

The Case: Ah yes, I vaguely recall an actress named Neve Campbell, who was fortunate enough to strike upon a rather popular franchise and make some quick cash before the world discovered that she possessed the a mere three facial expressions and, well, that was it. In short, Neve Campbell was the Kristen Stewart of the 1990s, albeit with far less lucrative paydays and a chronic head tilt instead of a lip-biting affectation. Now, after fifteen years in Hollywood, Campbell doesn’t have a hell of a lot to show for her time in the so-called spotlight. Interestingly, she herself has declared that “I never wanted to be an actor,” and I can’t help but think that this is one hell of an obvious statement in retrospect, for Campbell has always seemed like appearing in front of the camera was just too much damn work. She never really seemed like she wanted to be working in the first place, so why should we even bother with an assessment?

That’s a damn good question, but I’m not entirely sure that I have an answer. Let’s just do this, shall we?

As a teenager, Campbell set her sights on a career as a professional ballet dancer, but a series of injuries forced her to pursue a “Plan B” of sorts. As such, Campbell rose to a modest level of fame with “Party of Five,” wherein she made the Julia Salinger Pensive Race for a total of 143 merciless episodes. However, she’s best known for the role of Sidney Prescott in the Scream trilogy (and soon to be fourth movie). A few other movies also registered on the audience radar, including The Company, The Craft, and Wild Things; but beyond that, very few people have seen the rest of Neve Campbell’s movies. After all, Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, and I Really Hate My Job aren’t exactly the types of films that spark cinematic interest on any sort of level.

One can easily gather that Campbell, in the slightest of demonstrable ways, has grown slightly nervous about her own career’s steady downward trajectory. Accordingly, she’s shown a recent willingness to disrobe on film (2004’s When Will I Be Loved) whereas she previously adhered to a “no-nudity” clause (see 1998’s Wild Things, in which even Kevin Bacon got into the spirit by going full frontal). So sure, she made the conscious choice to go nude in movies for the sake of reviving her career; unfortunately, she continued to disregard the “acting” part of the job. And that’s the crux of the issue here, for Neve Campbell is no actress and never wanted to be one in the first place.

Prognosis: At this point, Campbell’s own brand of apathetic desperation has actually reached new heights, for she has resigned herself to returning for the fourth Scream movie. It must be noted that while this sequel wouldn’t have happened without her participation, Campbell also wouldn’t even be on the radar without this sequel. Certainly, she received a nice pay day for returning to the franchise, which wouldn’t have a reason for existing beyond the Sidney Prescott character. She does have a few other movies (The Glass Man; Vivaldi) in various states of production, but the only real hope for career longevity would be for Campbell to land a supporting role in another network television program similar to “Party of Five.” In the grand scheme of things, will Scream 4 do anything to further Campbell’s career? Certainly not.

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at