'I'm a bit more daring now': Neve Campbell on '90s nostalgia and her new film Castle in the Ground

Canadian actor Neve Campbell talks to Tom Power about chasing down dramatic roles and how she stays connected to home.
Canadian actor Neve Campbell talks to Tom Power about chasing down dramatic roles and how she stays connected to home. 16:33

Does it sometimes feel like the '90s just won't die? Some of the era's biggest films and television shows are being remade or rebooted, but for many of the actors we associate with the '90s, life has moved on.

Canada's own Neve Campbell is probably best remembered as the star of the horror franchise Scream, as a teenage witch in The Craft, or as Julia in the TV drama Party of Five ⁠— but today her roles are much more nuanced.

Her latest project is a Canadian film called Castle in the Ground, which just had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Campbell plays a terminally ill mother whose son is dealing with an opioid addiction.

She joined q's Tom Power to talk about the film, her legacy as a '90s icon and her relationship with nostalgia now.

Here's part of that conversation.

On relating to her role in Castle in the Ground

I've played mothers before, but as a mother now, it's a completely different experience. I have two sons and putting myself in the place of this woman who has to imagine departing her child ⁠— it was hard to put myself in that place because I could imagine very clearly how devastating that would be. It was challenging. I got home from making this picture and I cried for days. I knew it was an intense experience, but I don't think I realized quite how intense. It was hard to separate myself.

On the end of Netflix's House of Cards

It was an amazing show to work on. Unfortunate outcome. I wasn't involved in the final season, but you know, I feel for that cast and the audience because there was no way the final season was going to be great. You can't lose a lead character and be able to tell the story in the way that it should have been told. But I think it was great for the cast to be able to at least finish it out and for the audience to at least have an ending to the story.

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      On whether she would consider making a cameo in the Party of Five reboot

      They haven't asked me — I don't know that it would make sense that they would. I think the concept is fantastic. You know, with our characters, our parents had died and in this new series, the parents aren't dead. They've been sent across the border because I think the family is Mexican. So they can't get to them, they can't be with them, and I think it's really strong and very timely. So I hope they get it right, which I imagine they would because it's the same creators and writers. So I think they'll do a good job with it and I look forward to seeing it.

      On what she wishes she had known 20 years ago

      Not to take any of it too seriously. I think it's hard when you're young, you're just so fearful of judgment, and getting it right, and what people say ⁠— I'm a bit more daring now. Not that I wasn't daring when I was young, but I think I'm more daring with my performances, like I'm willing to fall on my face. I just don't read articles, I don't read press at all. It's too hard. And certainly the internet can be really cruel. If you believe in what you did, I think that should be enough.

      On her relationship with nostalgia now

      I'm going to a Comic Con this weekend with all but one of the entire first cast of Scream and The Craft. And I don't know whether to be excited or terrified. It's going to be fun. Those movies did great things for me. I was very, very lucky. I'm really grateful for them. They were an absolute blast, I worked with wonderful people, Wes Craven was phenomenal, The Craft meant a lot to a lot of people, which I never expected. It's nice to be acknowledged for things that touch people somehow and any resentment that I may have had for moments in my life when I was only getting offered horror films, it's gone. I'm really just grateful for it.

      This transcript has been edited for length and clarity. To hear the full interview with Neve Campbell, download our podcast or click 'Listen' near the top of this page.

      — Produced by ​Vanessa Greco

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