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Matthew Lillard thanks 'Scream' fans at Fan Expo: 'This is how we feed our families'

Lillard spoke about the 'interesting situation' of having children and being famous — and even shared a touching memory of the late Wes Craven

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 20: Matthew Lillard speaks at the Creating An RPG Empire panel during 2023 Comic-Con International: San Diego at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/FilmMagic )
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 20: Matthew Lillard speaks at the Creating An RPG Empire panel during 2023 Comic-Con International: San Diego at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/FilmMagic )

Matthew Lillard is no stranger to massive fan events, but the actor was adamant to thank the crowd at Toronto's Fan Expo Canada during a Scream panel with co-stars Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich and Jamie Kennedy.

"The truth of the matter is it's really humbling," Lillard said to fans on Thursday night.

"For a lot of us, this is how we feed our families. ... We just really appreciate you guys."

While Lillard was a bundle of fun to watch on stage with his Scream co-stars, he also took a moment to share a heartwarming story in memory of Wes Craven, the late Scream director and horror icon.

Lillard remembered a time when he was trying to get to a cell phone to call his mom on set and Craven told Lillard he was just talking about him. When the actor probed for what the director was talking about, Craven said he was saying that at some point Lillard was going to win an Academy Award. Lillard sort of scoffed in that moment, but Craven ended up saying that to Lillard's mother over the phone.

"The only reason that's important is that there have been times in my life when I didn't know if I would ever work again," Lillard shared. "I didn't know how I was going to feed my kids. I didn't know ... if I was going to have to go teach or go back to waiting tables, I just didn't know what was going to happen."

"At some point, in whatever creative art you're in or whatever passion you're chasing, you have to find belief somewhere. And for me, that moment with Wes resonates very deeply in moments when I feel the worst.

Having 'respect' for what fame means to fans

Lillard, who revealed that he arrived at Fan Expo Canada shortly after dropping off his child at college, stressed multiple times during the panel that he loves these interactions he's able to have with fans, but one highlight comes from playing Shaggy in Scooby-Doo.

"I can see a kid anywhere in the world and make them smile," Lillard said.

Taking questions from the audience, the actor and his fellow Scream stars were asked whether they have watched the Scream movies with their kids.

Lillard said his children have watched Scream, joking that he sat them down to "understand the family lineage," but revealed his wife didn't see the movie until the 20th anniversary.

The actor went on to say that fame is an "interesting situation" with kids, who "don't care" that he's famous.

"I have a very weird job. ... The transaction that's interesting is for you guys. That kid crying, I can go up and do Shaggy and that's an awesome thing," Lillard said. "Fame isn't a big deal to us."

"The transaction for fame is two things. You can either abuse it or completely respect what it means to other people. I think that we collectively have an appreciation for what it means to other people and I don't think that's always the case in our industry."

While Lillard is still acting, he's also ventured into a number of other business opportunities in his career. Most recently he spoke about the launch of a Dungeons & Dragons-inspired whiskey, as the co-founder of Find Familiar Spirits, a company set to bring fantasy-inspired spirits to fans.