Perhaps the biggest surprise to fans of the Saw franchise came last year, not when Lionsgate announced they were making a new movie in the horror franchise but when they confirmed that comedian Chris Rock would star in the movie and had conceived of its story. One person this didn't surprise was Saw co-creator Leigh Whannell, who wrote the screenplay for the first three movies and even appeared in two of them. In a new interview, Whannell recounted a time back in 2015 (four years before Rock became attached to the project) where he met Rock at a party and the comedian spoke to him at length after finding out he was involved in the Saw franchise.
"It would have been early 2015 and he said to me 'I'm a big fan of Saw and I've always wanted to write a Saw film,'" Whannell recounted to Cinema Blend. "And I thought he was just doing one of those things you do at parties when you say 'Hey, big fan of your podcast, I'd love to be a guest' and then you never follow-up with them. I thought he was just bullshitting me. Turns out, Chris Rock wasn't joking. So the first thing I thought of when I heard that Chris was doing this film, I thought of that moment at that party and I thought how if I had known how serious he was I probably would have said to him 'Well we should spend some time together hanging out and I'll help you write that film,' because I want to hang out with Chris Rock."
By this point in time Whannell had already moved on from being involved with the franchise and hadn't been involved with it in almost ten years. When asked if he thought he may have come back to be involved if Rock had wanted to, he seemed to indicate that despite being a fan of Chris Rock, that wouldn't be enough to lure him back, succinctly saying, "I do feel like it's best to move on."
"James Wan, who directed the original Saw film obviously, and myself, we've really stepped away from the Saw films," he added. "It's a strange feeling of divorce because this is something we created. We brought it over from Australia to the US and inadvertently kickstarted this franchise and now we don't have anything to do with it."
Rock's new film is officially titled Spiral: From the Book of Saw and even though Whannell wasn't involved it was able to lure back some other heavy hitters from the Saw franchise. Director Darren Lynn Bousman stepped behind the camera for the film, marking his fourth film in the series while Jigsaw screenwriters Josh Stolberg & Pete Goldfinger penned the script. In the film Rock plays a police detective at the center of a grisly investigation into sadistic murders that are "eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past."
Spiral: From the Book of Saw arrives in theaters on May 15th.