When is a Saw film not a Saw film? When it’s a Spiral film apparently, and what sets the two apart is one man: Tobin Bell. The actor who appeared as John “Jigsaw” Kramer in a total of eight Saw movies was noticeably absent from the Chris Rock reboot of the franchise, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, and while director Darren Lynn Bousman recently talked about why after much deliberation, right up the end of filming, he didn’t bring the character back, Bell himself has now spoken about being left out of the newest installment of the saga.
“I haven’t gotten to see the film yet. And I was aware of that, but I think eventually they put their heads together and decided [not to do it]. Chris Rock is a very creative guy. So with Chris, maybe they felt like they just had enough. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t have an idea. But I can tell you that the creative minds behind Saw are not asleep. And, hopefully, we’ll be able to move forward with something that’s both refreshing and answers some questions that need answering. So I don’t have anything I can say to you conclusively, but I can only tell you that I was aware of all of that. And I’m not surprised that it was going on.”
While Tobin Bell did appear as Jigsaw in a photo, with the Spiral killer being copycat of the original Saw killer, many people felt that they were missing actually seeing and hearing him on screen even in just the smallest of flashbacks. However, in his statement it seems clear that Bell would be more than willing to return to the Saw franchise in future.
Darren Lynn Bousman previously discussed how they played around with the possibility of having Bell appear near the end of Spiral: From the Book of Saw. “We were talking about putting Tobin in up until the last day of filming,” Bousman said. “There was a constant struggle with us and I think we all went back and forth on it. It was a hard thing because the minute you put Tobin Bell in the movie, it becomes ‘Saw 9.’ If you think about Jigsaw or some of these other films, he had like two minutes of screen time and that was it. I killed him in Saw III, I killed him 16 years ago, so to keep finding clever ways to bring him back in, I didn’t want to do a disservice to this film. No one can compete with Tobin Bell, you can’t, he is Jigsaw and there’s no way to live up to what he brings on-screen, so I didn’t want to f-ck with it, I didn’t want to do it. It was, I felt, a disservice to this film and previous films to try to do that.”
“I did have a really cool idea that I was really bummed didn’t go through and it was a way to put the feeling of Tobin Bell in the film,” he continued. “Tobin Bell is a singer and he’s got a great voice. I found a song of his that he recorded, which was a Johnny Cash cover, and it was this amazing, very haunting song. I had an idea that, the end of the movie, the finale and the big gunfight, was all overdubbed to that song. So basically all the sound goes away and it becomes Tobin’s voice in it. But, again, it felt gimmicky when we tried it. It sounded awesome, I loved it, but it was too wink-wink, nudge-nudge to the audience, so we ended up losing it. It was a struggle.” With the continued success of the franchise with Spiral, perhaps it will come to pass that we’ll see some of Bousman’s ideas pop-up in a future installment of the Saw franchise.
Spiral‘s arrival in cinemas eventually happened in May this year, with the movie managing to gross $36 million from its $20 million budget, and receiving generally positive reviews. While the Saw movies generally made between $100-$160 million, the arrival of Spiral immediately after the reopening of cinemas after the Covid19 pandemic means it is hard to gauge exactly what the appetite for more Saw is. As is the general rule for these horror franchises, this is likely not the last we have seen of Spiral, but whether we will see Tobin Bell return to his Jigsaw role anytime in the future of the series is something that for now is a little less certain.
This news comes to us from CinemaBlend.