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Tobin Bell on Saw IV and V

Published October 25, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate.
Saw IV Poster Saw IV
Tobin Bell had some closure in Saw III. Spoiler alert for anyone who’s behind on their Saw viewing, though Saw IV posters do show Jigsaw’s head on a morgue scale. Bell was welcomed back with open arms to continue playing Jigsaw in whatever surprising form the film allows him to still exist.

Tobin Bell on Saw IV and Saw V


“He's a big character,” said Bell. “There could be nothing better for an actor than to have an actor to play a role where the guy is sort of a multi-faceted guy who, he's a scientist and a very well read guy, a man of conviction. He's passionate about what he does. There's something Shakespearean about him in a way. And there's a lot more story to be told. I feel like the Saw story doesn't play out in a linear way. It doesn't happen in sequence necessarily. So whenever you have an opportunity to develop a guy like this, it's a blessing. It's what actors become actors for.”

If the current story features traps set up before Jigsaw’s death, he’s pretty much safe from capture now. Still, the traps come complete with disguised tape recorded messages. “It's a movie, guys. In terms of answering your question, the time frame in which these recordings were done, you can ask yourself what was that time frame? What was his understanding of his liability when he made those recordings? And are all recordings that are made in that machine automatically distorted? I understand the logic of your question but that would be the best I could do, not having seen the film, to answer it. It makes sense to me that if that's his modus operandi that he wouldn't all of a sudden change it and make it sound more sort of everyday. ‘Hi, this is John calling you,’ that kind of thing. It probably has a basis in logic and time and probably has a basis stylistically also.”

Saw III showed a flashback to Jigsaw’s John Kramer days, married to the lovely Betsy Russell. Russell has a major role in Saw IV so we may see more of Jigsaw’s softer side.



“Somehow tender moments in Saw movies, if there was a tender moment or two in this film, it has to fit textually in terms of the fabric of a Saw film. I think there may be. I think the answer to your question is yes, perhaps. And I hope that there are. I'm always looking to develop the human side, a more delicate side. After all, no matter how dastardly the deeds anyone commits or how the viewer views those deeds, that person was a child once too and had parents. Everyone comes from a certain beginning place of innocence. So obviously those moments that you're talking about need to be successfully done. If they're not successfully done, then they might not fit. We always want something like that to fit. So I look forward to seeing the- - you know how much magic is created in post production and in editing. I really look forward to seeing what the rhythms of the film are and how the characters and relationships play out. Those are the things that I'm most interested in in a Saw film and of course the traps and the tricks are always staggering and shocking. But if we can create another line at the same time, something that gives you a window into the moments that lead up to, then that's always an extra benefit.”

With Saw V on the way and VI in the works, Bell is looking forward to reuniting with the team and meeting new helmers. “Anything new is always a challenge. It brings with it new energy and always the unknown. So I feel a certain sense of solace that we'll be working with a lot of the same people, cast and crew that we have worked with since Saw I. The director of photography since Saw has been David Armstrong. We've had the same props guy since Saw II, III, IV. The editor of all the Saw films, Kevin Gruetert, has been with us since <B>Saw I</B>. So there are pieces of the wheel that change but I think there's a sufficient number of pieces of the wheel that will remain the same that as long as there's a strong story to be told, that we can craft some of the same quality that we're used to creating for the last two or three, four films.”

Even with four films, there’s still more to learn about Jigsaw. “I can tell you that the tricycle that has appeared in all four Saw films has a very simple and human explanation to it which I hope that in V and VI we will both understand and have a window into. The origins of Billy, the meaning of that, I think you will see when you see IV that we've started to enter into that area. I think there is some marvelous storyline yet to be told. I think those two objects are simple things and everyone kind of has seen Billy since the beginning. Well, what is that? And why? Although perhaps you don't think about it, it has its effect on you. He has his effect and the tricycle has its effect when it enters the scene. I'm interested to show what those origins are. I think fans are really interested in known what the origins of very specific moments, especially Saw fans who are into the details. They just are. I'm always impressed with that."

Saw IV opens to theaters on October 26th.

For posters, interviews and additional movie info, go to the Saw IV Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate.
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