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Jigsaw Spills Saw VI Secrets

Published October 20, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate
Jigsaw is the spokesman for the morality of Saw. Actor Tobin Bell has gotten to represent him in five of the last six films, though he was the big surprise of Saw I. On Saw VI, bell worked with a new director in editor Kevin Greutart, but found the same opportunity to flesh out Jigsaw’s character.

Tobin Bell on Saw VI


“He understands the films,” Bell said. “He understands the connecting of the dots and where there’s potential richness. That’s great. It’s absolutely critical to these films that everything that is potentially rich be everything that that can be. We know the special effects, we know the traps, we know the twists and the turns and the plot turns, but in terms of shooting the actors and the moments, the camera sees everything. The smallest moment between two people is giant on screen. That’s not mechanical. It’s human so a director who can get that from his actors has got a lot.”

Those small moments continue between Jigsaw and Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), as we learn more about how the moral trapsman plans to set his legacy in motion. “The arc of any character is the most interesting part of playing the character. You guys will all follow your own individual arc in your life as writers or broadcasters or whatever you are. There will be times that there is conflict and difficulty and struggle, so that that’s what makes a character most interesting and connecting the dots. That’s the part that’s most interesting to me, being truthful to what’s proceeded in terms of his character. That’s what I care most about is that the scenes seem like they’re happening for the first time and that the stakes are high.”


Saw VI Saw VI


Even when Bell changes the script, he’s responsible about it. He’s not going to unleash some improv on a crew that’s spent hours setting up. “If I have eight days before we’re going to shoot the scene, I’ll work, work, work, work, work during that eight days to try to get it down, down, down and then hopefully get it in my head in time so that we know exactly what we’re going to do when we get on the set. There are too many departments depending on you, sound, lights, camera to be improvising. You’ve got to do it the same way essentially every time, otherwise they don’t get the shot and they don’t get the scene, they don’t get the movie and you’re out of a job. Although they teach you in acting class how important it is to be instinctive and follow your impulses. That’s the thing, ‘Follow your impulses.’ Well, the reality of film and television is that you’d better have done your homework and followed your impulses to the hilt in your hotel room, because they need to get this shot and this scene. Hopefully in rehearsal, maybe you can learn a few things but when it actually comes down to shooting the scene, at least that’s my experience.”

With all his Jigsaw experience, perhaps Bell is ready to direct the next Saw. Well, it would have to be Saw VII because David Hackl is already back for VII. “They asked me about that, I don't know quite how sincerely. I told them it was way too much work. Directors are there forever. Actors, they come in, they do their scene, but directors… then when they get a break, that’s the time for everybody to descend on them and say, “Oh, I’m glad you’re free for a moment because we’ve got a major problem in costume.” I appreciate my down time. I’m being a little tongue in cheek about that. The truth is that I really do want to direct one of these sometime. I’m just waiting for them to come to me again. I have a better answer this time. Like yes.”

Some fans were harsh on Saw V, and VI promises a return to form. However, Bell encourages a second look at the previous film’s merits. “I liked Saw V. I thought it was a little easier to relax into. I love the end scene. Even though there was maybe just 20 frames of something of the way it was cut, it was more Hackl’s. Hackl is sort of a painter. He’s a scenic designer, the director. So I think it was a reflection of who he is that it was a little easier to relax into. It wasn’t so [cut cut cut] much like that. Although it was that in places and very Saw-like. I thought the pacing of it to me was more of a classic, more of a grown-up kind of way of approaching and getting the same effect.”

Saw VI opens to theaters on October 23rd.

For the trailer, posters and more movie info, go to the Saw VI Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate
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