Zoinks! Freddie Prinze Jr., who played Fred (last name Jones, for you pop culture trivia buffs) in the Scooby-Doo movies, has come out with a mystery greater than any the gang has solved before. Why was he paid less than his co-stars for the sequel, Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed?
In a recent profile by Esquire, Freddie Prinze Jr. reflected on some of his bigger movies, revealing that despite the major success of 2002’s Scooby-Doo, the actor had to take a salary cut for the 2004 sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, while his co-stars–Matthew Lillard (Shaggy), Linda Cardellini (Velma) and wife Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne) appeared to get a bump in their checks. Boy, that last one must have made for awkward dinner conversation.
“I remember thinking, ‘Hold up, who’s giving them the raise? Me or y’all?’” he said. “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.”
The first Scooby-Doo was a box office winner for Warner Bros., pulling in $275 million worldwide, so it’s quite a surprise that the studio would cut his salary and look to raise the other cast members’. After all, no one human character in the ensemble is more of the lead than the other. (OK, Shaggy may be more iconic, but the Mystery Machine is empty without all four members.)
Still, Freddie Prinze Jr. acknowledges that the movies have a wide fan base that shouldn’t get in the way of a salary dispute. “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.”
There was talk of a third installment but it was eventually abandoned. However, James Gunn, who wrote the Scooby-Doo movies, did express interest in an R-rated version if he wasn’t so busy being part of the biggest franchise in movie history.
As of late, Freddie Prinze Jr. appeared in the sole season of the Punky Brewster reboot and can currently be seen in Netflix’s holiday movie Christmas With You.