It’s funny what people are passionate about. Whether it’s the NFL linebacker who has an affinity for origami or the quiet librarian who has loves death metal, you never can quite peg people. I could insert the saying about assumptions but you get my drift. The same thing is true with film passion projects. Martin Scorsese spent the better part of two decades bringing SILENCE to the big screen. Stanley Kubrick never lived to see A.I., with his friend Steven Spielberg having to bring the project to fruition.
Thankfully for actor Chris Rock, he didn’t have to die or wait years to realize his passion project. This May will see the release of a brand new SAW film (the ninth movie in the franchise if you are counting at home) starring Rock and featuring an original story by the comedian. SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW will have a new group of police detectives investigating grisly murders that are eerily familiar to the parties involved.
However, one person who will not be involved is OG writer and actor Leigh Whannell. Whannell starred in the original film alongside Cary Elwes and also wrote the first SAW as well as the next two sequels. In a recent interview with Collider, the Australian actor, writer, and director said he has absolutely nothing to do with SPIRAL. However, Whannell did remark on Chris Rock‘s passion for the project suggesting he thought SPIRAL might happen:
“I was on a location scout for this movie and I got a phone call from one of the guys at Lionsgate who’s a friend of mine and when he told me about Chris Rock, I thought back to a couple of years ago. I was at a film festival party at the Palm Springs Film Festival and my agent, much to my horror, pushed me towards Chris Rock and was like, ‘Say hi to Chris!’ I think I said something lame like, ‘I’m a big fan,’ and he hears that a hundred times a day so he was like, ‘Ok!’ And as he was walking away, his agent said to him, ‘That guy wrote Saw,’ and he like stopped in his tracks, came back and was like, ‘You wrote Saw?’ And suddenly he was super interested and he said to me, ‘I would love to make a Saw film.’ And I thought it was just something that you say at a party, you know? Like, ‘Hey! I’d love to dye my hair pink, too!’ You just say it because the person’s got pink hair, you don’t wanna make them feel bad. Turns out, he was serious. That was not an off hand thing that he said. He really did wanna make a Saw film.”
While I’m a little disappointed that Whannell won’t have anything to do with SPIRAL, the truth is that he hasn’t been involved with the franchise except as an executive producer, for almost fifteen years. Since then he’s done some excellent work with the INSIDIOUS franchise and directed one of the best science fiction films of the last decade with UPGRADE. In addition, Whannell’s update on THE INVISIBLE MAN – which hits theaters in two weeks – looks delightfully horrific and subversive.
So what do you guys make of this news? Do you wish Leigh Whannell would have come back for the project? Are you excited at the prospect of a new SAW film? What do you think Chris Rock will bring to the franchise? Sound off in the comments below!