Tobin Bell interview
This Halloween weekend, audiences will most likely shell out for the seasonally well-timed Saw IV, another installment in the wildly successful horror franchise. Tobin Bell, the seriesí villain, Jigsaw, realizes that at this point in the series, a lot of films lose their relevancy and appeal, to which he says, ďA lot of times sequels fall off and go to DVD but I can assure you we do not have that casual, cavalier attitude about this material and we wouldnít let that happen. The eyes of the world for whatever reason are on this material so we have this responsibility to try to keep the bar up. You do your damnedest--no one has been lazy thatís involved in the production of these films.Ē
At 65, Bell is happy to be a part of a franchise, especially this one. He says, ďIf you can get into one of these things in your career where youíre playing someone as multi-faceted as this and then have giant commercial success all over the world, thatís a marvelous thing for everyone involved. The fascinating thing for me will be to find out how the fans will react to this one.Ē
Our own Paul Salfen conducted this exclusive interview with Tobin Bell.
Since the film has not been screened for critics or audiences, what can you tell us about this one without giving too much away?
I havenít seen the film yet, but the people who have tell me itís the best one so far, which is such a great thing to hear because thatís what we aimed at. I actually donít know what they put in the film and what they didnít after we shot it. I can tell you this: you will find out what my current condition is in the first five minutes of the film and youíll be blown away by the ending. I think some of the curtain continues to get pulled away.
The main question for most people who have been following the series probably is, ďDidnít you die at the end of Saw III?Ē
Yeah, well, the Saw films donít play out sequentially. Theyíre like a jigsaw puzzle Ė you donít put it together from top to bottom. You put the bottom right hand corner together then the bottom left hand corner together and do a little in the middle. For example, in Saw III, they went back to the sequence where Iím laying on the ground in Saw, so itís a puzzle in a way. There are a lot of cultures, though, that consider death just one stop along the way. We somehow view it as the final chapter. Just because you know how I died, doesnít mean you know about my life and my story. So death as the final chapter is what ties people up, but death is not that fascinating. Itís not that interesting. There are other things that are far more compelling and I think we uncover some of those things in Saw IV.
Supposedly Saw V is already in the works, so will this continue on as long as you can pull it off?
We generally take these films one at a time because Hollywood is such a fickle place. From my point of view, I want to know how the fans are going to react. Are they going to want to see more? Is there more of the story to be told? What might that story be? So weíll wait and weíll see how the horror people, comic book people and fans react. Unlike the old days, there are blogs, chat rooms and things that will give you the sense of what people liked and what they didnít like so we can do it right.
The tag for the film is ďIf itís Halloween, it must be Saw." What are some of your favorite Halloween-time scary movies?
I liked The Descent, not because of the gory little creatures down in the hole, but the relationships between the women. I felt involved. I thought it was very scary and very well done. I would select Jacobís Ladder as one of the scarier movies because it was so well written. Going back even further, I liked The Dead Zone with Christopher Walken. He brought so much to that film because he took something that could have been ludicrous and made it believable. I like it when movies rely on more than special effects.
Because of the success of the franchise, you must get recognized a lot. Whatís it like coming into that at this point in your life and career?
Iím still in that enviable position where Iím recognized by a lot of people, but I still have my privacy to an extent. That stuff is somewhat irrelevant to me. I donít focus much on the trappings of Hollywood. Iíve got better things to do. Itís all fleeting, anyway.
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