This will come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to my writing over the years, but I spend a good chunk of any given day hoping that a new Saw movie will be forthcoming. However, I must admit, the last person I ever thought I'd have to thank for a new entry would be Chris Rock. When I first heard the news, I thought it absolutely had to be a different one, but the following press release makes it very clear that yes, the storyline for Saw IX comes from the same man who gave us Top Five.
Global content leader Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures will bring fans worldwide a new level of deviously treacherous traps, clever clues and suspense as they partner with award-winning actor, director, and stand up comedian Chris Rock to spin-off and expand the world surrounding the hit billion dollar Saw franchise, it was announced today by Joe Drake, Chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group. The new film will be released on October 23, 2020.
“When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins-off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in,” said Drake. “Saw is one of the highest grossing horror franchises of all-time and it’s one of Lionsgate’s most successful film series. This upcoming film will still be as mind bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise.”
Take a minute to absorb that before moving on.
The film will be produced by longtime Saw producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules - who are back once again to shepherd this re-imagining, which will be directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed three of the most successful films in the Saw franchise. The screenplay is based on a story conceived by Chris Rock and written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg. The film will be executive produced by Chris Rock, long-time Saw executive producer Daniel Heffner and the original creators of Saw, James Wan and Leigh Whannell.
“I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004,” said Rock. “I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.”
As a fan, I absolutely hate that I need to wait a year and a half to see a new entry, let alone one as intriguing as this. But I'm just elated that the franchise will indeed continue, and also that Rock will be the odd man out, as far as newcomers to the sequel's behind the scenes team go. While the story is his, the screenplay itself is being left to the team that wrote the successful (if not fully satisfying) Jigsaw, and even better, Darren Bousman is returning to direct after sitting the last few entries out. As he was behind the series' three highest grossing entries (and my personal favorite of the bunch, Saw III) I see his return as a huge "get" for the franchise, as well as a bit of reassurance that this will feel very much in line with the rest of the franchise, despite Rock's left-field but fascinating addition.
One thing the press release does NOT mention is casting; while the hapless victims will likely be cast much later, I have to wonder why Tobin Bell's name isn't being mentioned yet. As Jigsaw found a way to return him to the fold (as it was half prequel) and that film's writers are returning I would assume they'd pick up from that story and perhaps show how his new apprentice Logan came up through the ranks (and where he was throughout the other seven entries, since he was apparently on board practically from the start). Then again, after the success of last year's Halloween I can also see them wiping the slate clean so they don't have to worry about such things, as it's certainly proven to be lucrative.
Then again, these films have always tried to keep plot details under a lid, and any returning cast members would largely depend on what Rock's concept entails. The actor says he loves the first film, but did he stick around through the Hoffman years? Will he finally pick up on the intriguing "Jigsaw disciples" concept introduced in Saw 3D? And, perhaps most importantly, will he rope in his fellow Grown-Ups cast members to play victims? You put David Spade in a situation where his head might get torn apart and I guarantee Lionsgate a $100m gross, easy. All I know is, until 20 minutes ago I never stopped to imagine what a Chris Rock-ified Saw movie would be like, and now it's all I can think about it. I'll be keeping a close eye on this, I assure you.
(Note: header image by Andy Witchger used with permission via Wikimedia Commons)