The makers of this season's bloodiest treat assure us it's the best yet!
Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead.
Now, upon the news of Detective Kerry's murder, two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez, arrive in the terrified community to assist the veteran Detective Hoffman in sifting through Jigsaw's latest grizzly remains and piecing together the puzzle.
However, when SWAT Commander Rigg is abducted and thrust into a game, the last officer untouched by Jigsaw has but ninety minutes to overcome a series of demented traps and save an old friend or face the deadly consequences.
To celebrate the opening of Saw IV, we were invited over to Lionsgate to listen in on a couple of conversations with the Cast and the Producers of the film. The third group we conversed with consisted of actors Costas Mandylor and Betsy Russell, along with Producer Oren Koules.
Here's what they had to say in anticipation of this week's biggest release:
Did you know when you shot your scene in Saw III that she was going to become more of a leading character in the sequels?
Betsy Russell: No. I mean, its kind of a cute story. What happened was, the producers were fans of mine, and they said that they wanted to give me a small part. I could either play the Nurse, or I could play Jigsaw's wife. So, I said, "Gee, that's a tough one. I'll play the wife." So, they gave me the part. For this one, they said, "We are having three teams of writers writing Saw IV. And you have one in three chances of having a great role. Because one team really has your character having a really meaty role. One by one, they got rid of the other two writing teams. And they picked the right script.
What is your relationship with Jigsaw?
Betsy Russell: I'm his love interest. I can say that, right? Our story does explain a lot of his story. He is a complicated character, and you do learn a lot about him through me.
I think it's a great idea that you are not screening this for anyone. That just adds to the mystic. Can you talk about your intentions there?
Oren Koules: I think it goes back to "Saw" one. It was the ending. One of the funnest parts of being a filmmaker, was being able to sit at the back of the theater and watch people's reactions to the reveal at the end. We got high from that. We loved people's reactions to when Jigsaw stands up. We were like, "We got them! We got the people." We conveyed a message for ninety minutes, and we got them. We wanted to go back to that. We tried to put an ending in four that equaled one. We tried to combine two and three. We added more gore, and then pulled it back a little bit, and then did a great twist ending.
You let us see the ending to "Saw" one. Do you not trust us anymore?
Oren Koules: It's the internet. I think the internet has changed. I really do. You know what? Someone saw a version of it, and tried to post a bunch of stuff on the internet. Even from just three years ago, its gotten a lot more crazy. The rumors, and that. No one knows how it ends. Lionsgate has not seen the finished film. They have only seen the first five reels. They've seen about seventy-five minutes.
That gives you a number of alternative endings for the DVD. I can't imagine that wouldn't be a commercial aspect of this film.
Oren Koules: You know what? We will not do that. I don't want anyone ever second guessing what we did. The ending this version ends up with is the ending of the movie. There won't be any alternatives. I think that's a gimmick that doesn't work. And the people here at Lionsgate shared that opinion.
There is no direct ending for anything anymore. There's always going to be a director's cut.
Oren Koules: Yeah, but our director's cut is about getting the best movie. Its not about leaving people hanging on for more. Our director's cut is more of an MPAA problem than anything else. Our director's cut doesn't change any particular logic. I think its what everyone knows. The MPAA is tough for us. So, basically, we have our R rated version, and our unrated cut of the film. The unrated is just what we didn't get away with, with the MPAA. Its stupid. You are with a fifty year old housewife from Reseda arguing about how many times someone can get hit in the head. And that's the truth. I don't want to say too much, because it will cost us next year. When they do a press conference at Sundance talking about "Saw", it kind of opens the door for debate.
What guarantee can we get that even if the box office isn't stellar for IV, that we will still get to see V and VI?
Oren Koules: Its two things. Its all about whether or not we have a story that works, and if the fans want to see it. It is such a simple equation. We are currently working on V, but its not a given. We only finished the ending to this new one about a month ago. So it happens from there. There is nothing that is really guaranteed. If the movie doesn't work at the script level, and if its not ready by February, we will miss a year. We will miss two years.
How do you categorize this film?
Oren Koules: You know what? What was Se7en? It was a psychological thriller. And that's what this is.
There was only one severed head in that film.
Oren Koules: Yeah, you had Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box at the end of the movie.
Yeah, at the end of the movie. But you didn't have to slog through hip-deep gore to get there
Oren Koules: Nah, you need to see the movie again. That has more brutal stuff then we have ever done. Fincher will be the first to tell you. When we bought "Saw" one, we though we were making a twisted little version of "Se7en". Think about the seven deadly sins, and what those people were when they went through that journey. Think of the people that they killed to get to the end of that movie. Think of the sins, and think about what those scenes were. Because Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow are in it, and because David Fincher directed it, it's a thriller. I'm serious. If you tell kids that it's a thriller, they wont go. I don't understand the whole "torture porn" thing. That's something a bunch of reporters made up. If you read what people like about our films, you'll see that they like the cleverness. They like the traps. They like Jigsaw. We pour over what people like, because that's how we develop our projects. Nobody is saying they like the blood. Do we have fun with it? Yeah. But its not just people getting their limbs chopped off, and blood spurting everywhere. We really try to use logic and cleverness. And "What if?" I love the "What if?" More than I like seeing someone getting their arm chopped off.
Betsy Russell: The movie is what ever you want to call it. Whatever gets the adrenaline pumping.
Oren Koules: I just hope people come, and that they enjoy it.
Costas Mandylor: When I saw I and II, I thought it was about redemption, and repenting. Sins, and things like that. What gets you into the trap? Someone is a pervert. And they are going to die if they don't dig the key out of their eye. Does anybody ever talk about that? About redeeming yourself to show how far you would go? How you would account for doing something bad? What gets them to the torture? It can't just be about chopping off an arm.
Oren Koules: We have a lot of fun. We spend from October until February trying to figure out the story. We don't really do the traps. We do logic. We figure out which characters are going to live, and which ones are going to die. We will literally say, "Insert Trap". There is a footnote in our ten page treatment that says "Insert Trap".
How many more films do you have Tobin for?
Oren Koules: As many as he wants. Its really about the stories.
Saw IV opens this Friday, October 26th, 2007. Just in time for Halloween.