'Scream 6' Star Jenna Ortega on Why Fans Won’t Notice Neve Campbell's Absence (Exclusive)

The 20-year-old actress opens up about the upcoming installment in the slasher film franchise.

After a killer debut in Scream (2020), Jenna Ortega is returning to the slasher franchise for Scream 6. The 20-year-old actress, who will reprise her role as Tara Carpenter, spoke with ET's Denny Directo about working with returning fan-favorite Hayden Panettiere and how the new film will handle Neve Campbell's absence. 

When it comes to working with Panettiere, who returns to the Scream series after first making her debut as Kirby Reed in the fourth film in the franchise, Ortega had nothing but kind words for her co-star. "Hayden is a sweetheart," she said while promoting her upcoming Netflix series, Wednesday

"Hayden is a sweetheart and that team, I'm really lucky that the directors Matt [Bettinelli-Olpin] and Tyler [Gillett] and Melissa [Barrera] and Jasmin [Savoy Brown] and Mason [Gooding], we all have so much love and respect for each other," she continued. "They're like family to me, so when you're on a job like that, they're the most fun sets that I'm on. It's working with your friends. It's the best possible scenario." 

Paramount Pictures

The upcoming sequel, which moves the action from Woodsboro to New York City, will see Barrera, Gooding and Savoy Brown also reprising their roles from Scream as fellow survivors of Ghostface alongside longtime star Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers. One person not returning is Campbell, the series' original final girl who played Sidney Prescott. 

Over the summer, Campbell announced that her absence was due to failed contract and salary negotiations with the studio, resulting in her making the "difficult decision to move on." Following the fallout with Paramount Pictures, several of the film's stars rallied to her defense and supported her decision online. 

When asked how Scream 6 will address Sidney's whereabouts, Ortega couldn't say much. "I feel like I can't really speak too much on that just because it's not necessarily my character," she shared. "But I will say there's so much going on in this next one, that it's so action-heavy and so gore-heavy that I think you're gonna be distracted almost." 

"But it's very clear, like, there's references to Sidney, of course," she continued. "You know, it's nice because there's still a protectiveness in the script and that's something that the actors had naturally over her because obviously we respect her and we want the best for her. She's missed and thought of." 

The promise that the new film will be full of gore comes after Ortega revealed that Scream 6 is going to be the most intense installment in the franchise yet. "Ghostface gets a lot more intimidating. I just read part of the script, and it just gets more and more gory. I think that this is probably the most aggressive and violent version of Ghostface we've ever seen, which I think will really be fun to shoot," she previously told ET. 

Set for a March 10, 2023 release, Scream 6 is packed full of stars, with Henry Czerny, Samara Weaving, Tony Revolori, Jack Champion, Devyn Nekoda, Liana Liberato and Josh Segarra joining the franchise.