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The Saw franchise is returning to the big screen later this year with the ninth installment, Spiral: From The Book of Saw. In addition to starring as its main character, Chris Rock has been a driving force in getting this movie off the ground, and Leigh Whannell, who co-created the Saw franchise with James Wan, recently told a wild story about a time he crossed paths with Rock and Saw came up in conversation, which you can listen to below.
As Leigh Channel recounted while appearing on the ReelBlend podcast to plug his new movie, The Invisible Man, he and James Wan have largely “stepped away” from the Saw franchise, so hearing that Chris Rock would be leading Spiral: From The Book of Saw was, like for many of us, surprising for him since Rock is primarily known his comedic work, not appearing in horror movies.
However, he’s known about Chris Rock’s interest in all things Saw ever since the two of them met at a Variety party in 2014, a year before Whannell’s directorial debut, Insidious 3, came out. Per Leigh Whannell’s telling of the story, Rock didn’t seem too interested in him when they were introduced, but when Rock’s agent told him that Whannell wrote Saw as they were walking away, the SNL alum turned around and told Whannell how he was a big fan of the franchise.
From there, Chris Rock told Leigh Whannell that he’d always wanted to write a Saw movie, though Whannell initially believed the comedy star had just been “bullshitting” him. Cut to last year, the filmmaker realized that Rock had been serious about working within the Saw world, and in hindsight, he wishes that he would have offered to help Rock write a Saw script so they could hang out together.
That being said, even with Chris Rock on board, Leigh Whannell probably wouldn’t have contributed to Spiral: From The Book of Saw in any major capacity. For one thing, he had his hands full with The Invisible Man, but he also realizes that he’s entering a “new phase” of his creative life and would rather keep building out his own body of work rather than return to Saw. Between Insidious 3 and The Invisible Man, Whannell helmed 2018’s Upgrade.
Still, it just goes to remind us that Chris Rock participating in a Saw movie isn’t something he decided to do on a whim. He’s been wanting in on Saw for years, previously saying that Spiral: From The Book of Saw came to be after meeting the head of Lionsgate at a wedding, and that he felt the project would be a good way to take his career down a new avenue.
When the project was officially announced last May, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake said that Chris Rock’s “fantastic” vision for Spiral: From The Book of Saw will be “completely reverential to the legacy of the material,” while also reinvigorating the brand. Now we’re just several months away from seeing how this creative effort shakes up the world of the Jigsaw Killer.
Joining Chris Rock as part of Spiral: From The Book of Saw’s main cast are Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols and MaxMinghella. Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger wrote the screenplay based off Rock’s idea, and Darren Lynn Bousman directed the feature.
Spiral: From The Book of Saw scares its way into theaters on May 15, while Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man comes out next Friday, February 28. Check out our 2020 release schedule to learn what other movies come out this year.