Spiral: From the Book of Saw marks the ninth entry into the franchise that kicked off with Saw back in 2004, and it also marks the first entry that didn't have Tobin Bell return as John Kramer, also known as the killer Jigsaw. The film's director, Darren Lynn Bousman, did reveal that he had considered until very late into production having Bell make an appearance, with the actor recently confirming that he was aware of the possible cameo, but that he also trusts the minds behind the franchise to make the best decisions for the series. Bell can next be seen in Let Us In, which hits VOD and Digital HD on July 2nd.
"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]," Bell recently shared with ComicBook.com about the possible cameo. "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."
He added, "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."
The closest Spiral got to featuring Bell was the inclusion of a photo of the performer as the character, as he was clearly mentioned as having inspired the film's copycat.
Bousman and writer Josh Stolberg previously broke down how they planned to include the cameo.
"We were talking about putting Tobin in up until the last day of filming," Bousman confirmed with ComicBook.com. "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."
He continued, "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. 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."
Given those discussions, such a sequence was never filmed, with Stolberg noting, "You don't go to the person before you're actually ready to pull the trigger, because that's just not fair. He's been a part of the world and we all have conversations with him often to touch in, but no, he was never officially on board for Spiral."
In Let Us In, a spirited twelve-year-old girl and her best friend start investigating the sudden disappearances of several missing teens in their small town. Realizing there might be something deeper happening, Emily and Christopher might be up against forces they can't even imagine.
Let Us In hits VOD and Digital HD on July 2nd.
What do you think of Bell's reaction? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!