In the ‘90s and early 2000s, Neve Campbell was the “it girl” onscreen. The Craft, Wild Things, Party of Five, the Scream franchise — every role she touched turned into a cult classic. And then, for a while, she was essentially MIA. So when Campbell visited The Late Show on Tuesday night, host Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist asking the question on everyone’s mind: what gives?
“You went to London. Why don’t you like us, Neve Campbell? Why did you leave America?” Colbert playfully prodded. To which Campbell responded honestly (and with a laugh), “I just needed a minute. It was a long minute. It was a good minute.”
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The actress, who was born and raised in Ontario, went on to explain that the whole Hollywood scene became overwhelming. “I just didn’t know American pop culture at all. And then suddenly I became an actor and suddenly these things were happening to me,” she confessed.
Those things hilariously entailed being tapped to host SNL in 1997 at the pinnacle of her popularity — and having no clue who musician David Bowie was when she learned he’d be cameo’ing in the episode.
While Campbell kept plugging along in her acting career and picking up steady work, she realized around 2008 that she needed to shake things up.
“In my twenties, it all hit so fast and so big that it was a little overwhelming — wonderful, obviously, and I’m very grateful for it,” she told Colbert. “But it got to a level also where the kinds of things that I was being offered were not the kinds of things I want to do.”
That includes constantly being sent scripts for horror films, thanks to her Scream fame. Or the occasional bad romantic comedy.
But Campbell wanted something different for her life. “I just wasn’t interested in the scripts and I was feeling a bit unhappy with the things that were coming to me. And I was feeling a little bored with the whole thing. I thought, ‘I want a change.’ So, I moved to London,” Cambell explained matter-of-factly.
Living abroad was just the ticket, too. Campbell appreciated the total non-issue her career turned out to be in the U.K. “I was completely anonymous there. It’s just very different there. I literally did not get bothered once!” she said. Happily, that time away gave Campbell the ability the respite she needed to eventually return to Hollywood with a renewed passion for acting.
Her appearance on The Late Show served to promote her new blockbuster Skyscraper. Co-starring Dwayne Johnson, the film hits theaters this Friday.
Welcome back, Campbell. We all missed you.