Neve Campbell is reaching new heights, thanks to her new movie Skyscraper.
But, when the 44-year-old actress appeared on The Late Show last night to promote the film (opposite Dwayne Johnson), host Stephen Colbert couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t starred in more blockbusters in the last decade. “Everyone knows you from Party of Five, The Craft, four Scream movies, Season 4 of House of Cards. Ten years ago, you had the world on a string—cover of Rolling Stone, hosting Saturday Night Live. And then you left! You went to London. Why don’t you like us, Neve Campbell?” Colbert asked. “Why did you leave America?”
“I just needed a minute,” Campbell said, laughing. “It was a long minute. It was a good minute.”
Born and raised in Ontario, Campbell said she had no idea how Hollywood worked before she got into show business. “I just didn’t know American pop culture at all,” she admitted. “And then suddenly I became an actor and suddenly these things were happening to me.” When Campbell hosted Saturday Night Live at the height of her fame in 1997, for example, “I wasn’t that familiar with it. I was terrified! And then I found out that my musician was David Bowie, and my friend was like, ‘David Bowie? Oh, my God!’ And I was like, ‘Who’s David Bowie?’ I had no idea. That experience was so wasted on me, ’cause I was clueless! Like, absolutely clueless!”
(Regarding Bowie, Campbell said, “I acted like I knew him really well! Like, ‘You’re amazing. You’re just fantastic.’ Actually, my friend gave me some of his CDs before, so I listened to him.”)
Though she continued to work steadily over the years, averaging two film roles per year in the 2000s, she started to become more selective about her work around 2008. “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. 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,” she said. “I was constantly being offered horror films, because I was known for horror films. Or bad romantic comedies. 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.”
Living abroad was everything the actress had hoped it would be. “I was completely anonymous there. It’s just very different there. I literally did not get bothered once! People would ask me what I did for a living. I’d say, ‘I act,’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, OK,'” Campbell said. “It was so lovely!”