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‘Blair Witch Project’ Actor Joshua Leonard Slams Reboot, Calls It ‘Icky and Classless’

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Joshua Leonard, one of the main stars of the original The Blair Witch Project, is slamming the recently announced reboot of the franchise. 

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In an Instagram post over the weekend, the 48-year-old actor claimed that the new film’s production companies, Lionsgate and Blumhouse, have been using a screengrab of his face from the 1999 film to promote the remake and listed off a series of issues that he and the fellow actors and creators have experienced in the 25 years since the film was made. 

Among the issues, Leonard claims that despite the film making a whopping $248 million at the box office, he and his fellow actors — Heather Donahue and Michael C. Williams — only received $300,00 apiece while studio executives reportedly said the actors each made $4 million. 

“I’m so proud of our little punk-rock movie, and I LOVE the fans who keep the flames burning. But at this point, it’s 25 years of disrespect from the folks who’ve pocketed the lion’s share (pun intended) of the profits from OUR work, and that feels both icky and classless,” Leonard wrote. 

Leonard writes that on top of other forms of “disrespect,” such as having to take the studio to court over a copyright dispute of their own names and allegedly being initially told that they might end up owing the studio money for marketing expenses, the situation is aggravated by a more recent experience surrounding a philanthropic event he has been trying to put together with — according to Leonard — no help from Lionsgate, who bought the film for just $1 million. 

“My frustration is compounded b/c I’ve been trying to get @lionsgate to engage for over a month about a BWP charity screening I’m putting together for @opositivefest to raise money for artists without healthcare, and NO ONE will get back to me,” he claims. 

While the actor has gone on to create a name for himself in other projects like If I Stay with Chloë Grace Moretz, he says that several other main actors from the project experienced serious hardship despite the success of The Blair Witch Project

“After buying a car and paying off his student loans, Mike [C. Williams] was back moving furniture within 12 months of the release, while still on magazine covers,” Leonard writes.

A poster from 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999) – Getty Images

Leonard concluded his post by stating that while many things helped to make The Blair Witch Project the cult classic that it is, it was the cast, crew and their commitment to making something with little to no money ($60,000 to be exact), that made it a hit.

“But there was also the FACT that us weirdos got together, with virtually no resources, AND MADE A FILM THAT WORKED! Can we just go on record and say that the film itself is a huge part of why we’re still talking about it 25 years later?” he shared.

It was at CinemaCon in Las Vegas just last week that Lionsgate announced that horror mastermind Jason Blum and Roy Lee — producer of the 2016 film Blair Witch — will come together to make a new version of the movie for the franchise. In a release, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chair Adam Fogelson said the creative team is “thrilled to kick this partnership off with a new vision for Blair Witch that will reintroduce this horror classic for a new generation.”

Joshua Leonard in 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999) – Getty Images

In a statement of his own, Blum, 55, shared that he could not be more thrilled to work on the reboot and gave credit to the original stars and filmmakers, whom he even attributed one of his most successful projects, Paranormal Activity, to. 

“I’m very grateful to Adam and the team at Lionsgate for letting us play in their sandbox. I’m a huge admirer of The Blair Witch Project, which brought the idea of found footage horror to mainstream audiences and became a true cultural phenomenon,” he said.

Blum, whose other credits include films like M3GAN and The Purge, continued, “I don’t think there would have been a Paranormal Activity had there not first been a Blair Witch, so this feels like a truly special opportunity and I’m excited to see where it leads.”

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