Scream 7 director announces departure from ‘dream that turned into a nightmare’

Christopher Landon had been brought on to direct seventh instalment of horror franchise, but announced on Saturday that he had left the project

Isobel Lewis
Sunday 24 December 2023 10:27 GMT
Scream VI trailer

Troubled horror sequel Scream VII has been thrown into further chaos as the film’s director said he has quit, following the departures of stars Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega.

Due for release in 2025, the latest installment in the rebooted slasher franchise was to be helmed by Christopher Landon, the horror filmmaker behind the Paranormal Activity and Happy Death Day films.

However, the film became the centre of controversy in November after actor Barrera was fired from the horror franchise due to comments she made about the Israel-Hamas war and attacks on Gaza on social media.

The following day, it was reported that her co-star Ortega would not be reprising her role in the franchise, blaming scheduling conflicts with the hit Netflix show Wednesday.

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega have both left Scream VII (Spyglass Media)

On Saturday (23 December) night, Landon shared two posts to Twitter/X announcing that he had also departed from Scream VII weeks ago. On the social media platform, the director claimed that the project had gone from his dream job to a nightmare.

“I guess now is as good a time as any to announce I formally exited Scream VII weeks ago,” he wrote. “This will disappoint some and delight others. It was a dream job that turned into a nightmare. And my heart did break for everyone involved. Everyone. But it’s time to move on.

“I have nothing more to add to the conversation other than I hope [original Scream director Wes Craven’s] legacy thrives and lifts above the din of a divided world. What he and Kevin created is something amazing and I was honoured to have even the briefest moment basking in their glow.”

Christopher Landon will no longer direct the movie (Getty Images for Netflix)

The Independent has contacted Paramount Pictures for comment.

The Scream franchise was revived in 2022 with Scream (also known as Scream 5), a new film starring emerging actors Barrera and Ortega as sisters. The pair returned for Scream VI this year, and were due to reprise their roles in the seventh film.

But in November, Barrera was fired from the franchise over a series of posts she shared commenting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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In one post on Instagram, Barrera wrote that Gaza was “being treated like a concentration camp”. In another, she said: “Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.”

Barrera was fired from the franchise in November (Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 20)

On Tuesday (21 November), a spokesperson for Spyglass films confirmed to Variety that Barrera had been fired after her social media posts were interpreted as antisemitic.

“Spyglass’s stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech,” a spokesperson told Variety.

Responding to the news of Barrera’s firing at the time, Landon tweeted: “This is my statement: Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”

Just one day later, it was reported that Ortega had also left the franchise due to scheduling conflicts.

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