Cast & crew talk about life after Jigsaw
“I’m excited and honored to be part of such an amazing franchise that keeps on ticking,” enthuses director Darren Bousman who, to date, has delivered three “Saw” sequels including the upcoming Saw IV. Hair in the usual state of disarray, and sparing a few minutes from the set of Repo! The Genetic Opera, Bousman is speaking at a press conference at the lofty Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto. ShockTillYouDrop.com is just one of the many journalists crammed into the meeting room nursing a severe case of blue balls from the night before when Lionsgate presented five out of six reels from Jigsaw’s fourth outing – sparing us the shocking finale said to “tie everything up and the best ending of all.”
Opening in an autopsy room, Saw IV solidifies the obvious for those who have been watching the series with fanatic vigor: Jigsaw is dead. Ka-put. A fleshy vessel on a steel slab with much to say (see the movie and you’ll know what we mean). And according to producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules of Twisted Pictures, keeping the series alive under that cold truth – call it “Saw: AJ” (or, After Jigsaw) – has been the greatest challenge. “Our job right now is to figure out how to make the story move forward having killed Jigsaw yet not want to make a movie without Tobin Bell,” says Burg. Adds Koules, “We keep doing them because we keep coming up with fresh ideas.” And in the case of part four, those ideas are sprayed like blood from an open jugular across a larger narrative canvas than any of the previous “Saw” films have played against. It’s a sequel and a prequel, a temporal mind-f**k that introduces new characters – such as FBI agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) – and welcomes some old ones: Jill (Jigsaw’s ex-wife), Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Rigg (Lyriq Bent), to name a few.
“In Saw III I thought it was my final one and I said, ‘Kill everybody, kill ’em all!’ and I went in and I killed [Jigsaw actor] Tobin [Bell],” Bousman laughs, well aware that he painted himself into a corner. “Now I’m like I’m back, everyone’s dead, what am I going to do? I was not only thinking about the future but we were thinking about the past as well, I think that was the hardest thing about doing Saw IV. We had to think ahead,” since the franchise was being turned over to David Hackl for Saw V, “and we had to go somewhere with it. We had to think about these characters we were introducing. Where will they be, where will they go to?”
And this task was more problematical than any of the hellish traps envisioned in the film. “When we do the stories we’ll insert a trap later,” says Koules. “In the conception of the movie we basically say, ‘People will get into a trap,’ and we’ll go with the logic and the flow the story. The traps don’t drive the story, the story drives itself and then people get into situations.”
“The traps become easier and easier,” Bousman continues. “David Hackl, he’s the production designer of these traps. He can take a simple microphone and turn it into a trap. But I think the ‘Saw’ films have become known for their twist and the ‘Did we get you?’ And this entire film is a lead up to a ‘Did we get you?’ That was the hardest thing this year. The whole movie was conceived [with writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton] around the last twenty minutes and we had to backtrack to the very first frame.”
Easing his way into this delicate universe of twists, turns and terror, Patterson admits it was daunting to be a newbie, however, “the first thing [Darren] would do when he approached me in a rehearsal on the set would be to give you the framework and what was going on. There are storylines running concurrently with flashback after flashback. It’s a lot to take in – he really made it very clear what needed to happen, what had happened, what was going to happen and maybe [what was going to happen] in future scripts, part five. So that was crucial information to have, otherwise you couldn’t play the scene.”
Patterson, known as the uber-hunk of “Gilmore Girls” to some, let’s his guard down revealing, “I play a special agent who’s called in to help try to find Jigsaw and an accomplice. That’s about all I can tell you. It was an extraordinary experience working with Darren. I’ve worked with a lot of directors over the years and don’t ever recall having this much fun on a film or a TV project. We made a pretty darn good film.”
That’s a sentiment recalled by many throughout the press conference due largely in part to the sequel’s consistency to uphold the franchise’s themes of salvation. Bousman and the producers scoff at the notion that these films work entirely because of violence often applauded for rending flesh from bone. “We always get bashed for gore for the sake of gore,” Bousman defends. “It’s easy to look at that on the surface and see red stuff all over the place. But if you go beneath the surface these aren’t movies we make for the critics. This isn’t some critic darling – a one million dollar movie we hope to win an Academy Award for a moral message. At the same time this has a bigger moral message than a lot of films that do win. I watch horror films all day long and most of them are just blood and violence. You got hot teenagers, you get ’em naked with sex and do some killing. That’s not what the ‘Saw’ films are, I challenge people to look beneath the surface, take away the scenes of blood and there’s a movie. You take away the blood of most horror movies and you’ve got nothing left.”
See how Bousman and company keep the blood flowing and Jigsaw’s legacy alive when Saw IV hits theaters on October 26th.
Source: Ryan Rotten