On October 29th, the seven-part horror anthology Saw comes to its rousing conclusion with the highly anticipated final chapter Saw 3D. Director Kevin Greutert is promising one of the craziest entries ever seen in this series, upping the ante tenfold with all new traps that will have even the toughest splatter junky cringing in his seat. It's going to be a gory mess, and a bloody good time that will have you covering your eyes for a good duration of the movie's runtime.
We recently caught up with series' star Betsy Russell, who has long-played Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) empathetic wife Jill Tuck. The recently released trailer promises us her demise, but is it all a ruse? We recently caught up with the lovely Ms. Russell to find out just what fans can expect when Saw 3D hits theaters this Halloween, and if this is, in fact, the true end of an iconic legacy that has taken the horror world by storm.
If Jill Tuck is too meet her demise, Betsy Russell insures us that she'll return in a new franchise kicking off October 1st. In Chain Letter, Betsy plays a detective on the hunt for The Chain Man, a notorious and elusive killer who is sending his victims a series of foreboding email chain letters before murdering them.
Saw 3D looks to have a funner tone than what we've seen in the last six installments.
Betsy Russell: I had fun filming it. (Laughs) I think it's going to be better than ever. It's going to be better than all of the other movies. There are a lot more traps. There are eleven of them. We definitely stepped it up a notch. I haven't seen it yet, but I am very excited too. The trailer that just came out made the film look incredible. It certainly looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.
There is a very revealing moment in the trailer that sees you quartered and hanging from chains. Does Saw 3D mark the end for Jill Tuck?
Betsy Russell: Shoot. I don't know what I can say about that. Ah, fooey. I better ask someone about the specifics of that scene. I better not say anything. Just to be safe, I better not answer that question.
The Saw films are usually very dark. They are often shot with a slimy green tint, or in a disinfected sepia tone. But this new trailer indicates that the final chapter is rather bright and poppy. It's colorful and alive in a way that the Saw films haven't ever been in the past. What do you feel director Kevin Greutert brought to this climax that we haven't really seen in a Saw movie before?
Betsy Russell: Well, Kevin Greutert did direct Saw VI, so he's not too new to the franchise. But they did want to shoot some outdoors stuff. They wanted to bring more people into the scenes. I think we've done that. It's definitely more colorful, and it's going to be more exciting. The 3D element is going to definitely be interesting. We actually shot this in 3D, which is the first time a horror film has been done that way. That was fun. Its history making. It was also a lot more time consuming. But I think the end result is going to make it all worthwhile.
The trailer sells the film as being interactive for the audience. Can you talk about bringing that aspect to the story? And what, exactly, the 3D is bringing to this particular installment that the other sequels didn't have?
Betsy Russell: From what I've watched played back, I really, truly felt as though I was in the room with the victim. In those situations, I felt like I was there, in that scene. I felt like I was a part of it. That's what 3D is supposed to make you feel. Things will be coming out at the audience. We will be trapped inside the traps. Saw 3D is going to give fans the true experience. What's better than that? Being part of a Saw film?
With 3D, you can't cheat death on screen with the same old tricks that directors used to utilize, because audiences can see the depth in all movements. How did that change the way you guys shot a lot of the more gruesome carnage?
Betsy Russell: I didn't really pay attention to that stuff. I just listened to what the director would tell me. Occasionally, he'd show me a different way to do something and say, "This is going to look better for 3D." Usually, we'd play the scene the best that we could. Maybe it took a few more times, or it took a lot more time to set up. Sometimes these sequences would take hours to set up. But I didn't approach it any differently than I would have normally. As far as that is concerned, that is all I can say.
We've come to accept that every actor involved in this series is tight lipped about the plot up until the opening weekend has played out. So I'm not looking for story specifics. But can you tell us how important Jigsaw's overall legacy will be to this final chapter of the entire series?
Betsy Russell: Jigsaw has definitely played the most important role in all of the Saw films. Jigsaw is our leader. Having him be a part of the entire franchise has been beneficial to all of us. The fans love him. Tobin Bell is a great actor. He is a great human being. I love him as my husband in the movie, and as a character. I don't love what he has chosen to do, or they way he's chosen to carry out these things that he has been doing. Putting people in traps. As I have said before, his intentions are to make people appreciate what they have on this planet. Their life! When he feels they are taking advantage of it, he gives them a situation to do the wrong or the right thing, to take a chance in the moment and figure out, "What can I do to correct the things I've done in the past? How far would I go to make amends." I think this offers a great moment for all of us. It allows us to sit back and say, "What would we do in that situation?" It allows us to reflect a little bit and say, "Hey, what has my life been all about? Am I really appreciating everything I can appreciate in the moment." We have it pretty darn good. Most of us do, anyway. And even those who find their life to be terrible can find something to appreciate. For Jigsaw's character to be able to make us stop and think, and say, "Hey, you know, this is a crazy way to make me think, but at least I am trying to figure things out." For that, I think the character of Jigsaw is pretty incredible.
Every horror franchise reaches that moment where they say, "This is the last film!" But, throughout the history of the horror genre, we know that to definitely not be the case. I can't think of one final chapter that ever proved to be "the final chapter". What is the case here? What are the producers thinking? Is this the last we'll see of Jigsaw and the Saw films?
Betsy Russell: This is the last film. It is the last in this series. For sure. That is what I have been told.
You say, "The last in this series." Does that mean in this particular run of films, with this storyline? Is it possible that we'll see a Saw: New Beginnings somewhere down the road?
But that doesn't affect you too much. You have Chain Letter coming out on October 1st, before Saw 3D even makes it into theaters. Is this going to be another big franchise for you?
Betsy Russell: I really hope so. I hope the audience connects with the film. I think its great. I saw it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think that director Deon Taylor did an incredible job. All of the actors are fantastic. There are some great performances from all of these young actors. I think it does have a look like Saw, which is great. That is amazing. It's dark and gritty. The subject matter is something we can all relate to. Getting these chain letters, which used to happen quite often. I think the fans are going to love it. Nikki Reed fans are out there, for sure. I hope that it is the beginning of another series of films. I wouldn't be surprised if it is.
You play a police officer in that film, right?
Betsy Russell: Yes, I play a detective. There's not much that I can tell you. Truthfully, I only have a few scenes. I'm just someone who is there to investigate all of these murders. It's pretty straightforward. I know what my character is all about, but I don't think that will be interesting to anyone else. Yet! But hopefully, in the next one, there will be something much heavier for me and my character. I'll be in it a lot more. That is what I am hoping for, and that is what I've been told.
What can you tell horror fans about this new killer The Chain Man? Do you think he has the potential to become as iconic as Jigsaw has in the course of seven years?
Betsy Russell: I don't know about that. I think that's a tough act to follow. But we can definitely learn more about him in the following films. I think his character could definitely be something that the audience will want to know more about.
The Chain Man's M.O. is that he is sending out these chain letters, and then killing those that don't send it on. Can you tell me a little bit more about how this plays out in the film? Is he sneaking in windows and catching people off guard? Or does it go a little deeper than that?
Betsy Russell: I haven't been briefed on this one, and I don't want to get in trouble. That film is opening in a couple of weeks, so I think people will get all of those answers pretty quickly. I was pleasantly surprised. I think it's a good movie.
Now, going back to Saw 3D, the big casting news was that Cary Elwes is finally returning to the series. I'm guessing you can't tell me anything about his appearance. If it's a flashback, if he's still alive. If he's been hobbling around for seven years without a foot...
Betsy Russell: I can't say anything about that. But he's back!
Did you get to work with him on any scenes?
Betsy Russell: I can't answer that, either. All I can tell you is that he is a very nice man. Yeah.
He's still really missing that foot from what I understand...
Betsy Russell: No comment. I am literally scared for my life here. I am sure they are looking over my shoulder, or listening to us right now. They will find out what I told you. You never know who could be listening in on this phone call, right?
With Saw VI, director Kevin Greutert really made it a statement about Health Care. Will there be a similar theme running through the undercurrent of this new and final installment?
Betsy Russell: I cannot answer that question, either! There is a lot going on in Saw 3D. Let's just leave it at that. What has already been told about it, is that this is about a group of survivors. That's really cool. It is FANTASTIC! That is all I am going to tell you about it. The whole movie is going to feel like an amusement park ride.