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Freddie Prinze, Jr. Almost Died On A Movie Set For The Cheapest Reason Ever

Ours is not to know the hour or the day of Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s death. All we know is what somebody did last summer. For one terrifying moment back in the '90s, though? We very nearly knew both.

On-set injuries and accidents happen all the time, even when the cast and crew stick to the rigid safety standards put in place by the experts attempting to outsmart nature. Failsafes fail, "Waterworld" sets get washed out to sea, and, if sitcoms are to be believed, a truly chilling number of spotlights fall from the ceiling. It's not that people aren't doing their best to keep each other safe, it's just impossible to foresee every situation.

All of this makes it all the more terrible when you find out that a potential calamity could have been avoided with a smattering of give-a-crap. To hear '90s dreamboat and contemporary nerd king Freddie Prinze, Jr. tell it, that's exactly the frustrating circumstance that he found himself in when he almost drowned on the set of "I Know What You Did Last Summer."

Prinze says they didn't want to pay overtime

"I Know What You Did Last Summer" is more than just the first movie in recorded history where the guy who came up with the title got paid by the word. It was also a generation-defining horror experience that changed its actors' lives — and, in one case, nearly ended one.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. recounted his tale of woe on the "Lights, Camera, Barstool" podcast. The story is extensive, but the basics go like this: Prinze was told to hop on a wooden dinghy, riding it through artificially agitated water in a scene where he chased down the killer. Skeptical about how safe he would be, he asked if the film's stunt coordinator had approved the shot, and was told that he had. 

A few minutes later, the dinghy had flipped over on top of Prinze, with the actor describing the feeling of "the disturbed water from the propeller going over" his head. After swimming for the barge that the crew was shooting from, he recalled being ready to destroy the stunt coordinator for giving the go-ahead before learning from the assistant director that said stunt coordinator wasn't even on set. "They sent him home," Prinze recalled being told. "It was 12 hours, they didn't want to pay him overtime."

He went on to say that he has no ill will towards anyone involved over two decades later, but man. All of a sudden it makes sense why Prinze mostly sticks to voice roles now; there's way less chance of dying like the world's best-paid manatee.