Betsy Russell, the onscreen ex-wife of Jigsaw, gives us the inside scoop on the first day of shooting the 7th installment of the horror franchise
Actress Betsy Russell is best known for her role as the on-screen ex-wife of the evil Jigsaw in the extremely successful Saw franchise. Although Jigsaw died in Saw III, thanks to flashback sequences and clever plot devices Jigsaw's mayhem has been able to go on and is now headed into its seventh installment, Saw VII 3D, which began shooting today in Toronto, Canada. We had the opportunity to speak with Betsy Russell on her first day of shooting to find out how filming is going, talk about her character's possible villainous role in the sequel, the controversy regarding the films director, its inevitable competition with Paranormal Activity 2 and if this really is the final film of the series? This is what she had to say:
To begin with, how is filming going on "Saw VII 3D?"
Betsy Russell: Well, so far so good. I'm in Canada. Yeah, today was my first day.
Can you tell us about your role in the film? Are you the new Jigsaw?
Betsy Russell: I play Jill Tuck and that's about all I can tell you. I'm still the same person that I've always been. I can't give anything away. I'm sorry.
Can you give us any plot details or tell us what's happing with Jill in this movie?
Betsy Russell: I'm better than ever? I'm better than ever and the best Jill that you've seen so far.
In "Saw VI" Jill opened the Box that her husband had left her in the previous film before he died. It contained numbered instructions that she carried out with the final envelope holding a special fate for Hoffman, do you think Jill got some kind of satisfaction from seeing that character get what he deserved and will that be played out further in the new film?
Betsy Russell: That would tell you too much about my character and I don't really want to go there quite yet. You'll figure it out.
So are you saying that perhaps that is an aspect of your character that is explored further in "Saw VII 3D?"
Betsy Russell: Well ... maybe ... I just don't want to take a chance. I don't want to say too much about motivation right now, about the character or the personality but the action was pretty obvious for me why I was doing it.
One would think that the natural evolution for your character after the events of "SAW VI" would be to start to go even further and further over to the dark-side, will we see a progression of that evolution in this film?
Betsy Russell: You see a lot of Jill in this film ... I'll say that, you do which is great for me.
How does that feel to finally be the center of attention?
Betsy Russell: It feels natural. It feels good. Yeah, I don't want to give anything away but it's a good feeling to be around for a while, you know? To be here in Toronto for a little bit of time is nice and I like being back here. I like being back on the set. It's a great crew and a lot of fun.
Will Tobin Bell return for "Saw VII 3D," does his character appear again in flashback form?
Betsy Russell: Tobin is definitely in Saw VII 3D. Yes.
How do you feel about the movie being in 3D?
Betsy Russell: I think it's exciting. It seems to be kind of the trend and to see the "Saw" franchise in 3D just obviously takes it to the next level. I'm mean why not, right? It's pushing the envelope even farther.
Do you think fans will ultimately be pleased with this chapter of the franchise?
Betsy Russell: I hope so? We always try to please our fans, do the best work we can and make it the best movie that we possibly can. Everyone is working around the clock as usual. You know, we're just trying to make the fans happy and make something that everybody is proud of. I think the fans will be. I really loved SAW VI and I think this is just taking it one step further. We're all pretty jazzed up about it. I'm excited.
What is your opinion on the controversy surrounding director Kevin Greutert contractually not being allowed to direct "Paranormal Activity 2," which publicly he's said he'd rather do and instead having to return and direct "Saw VII" indirectly firing "Saw V" director David Hacki who was scheduled to return and direct the film?
Betsy Russell: Yes, I do know what you're talking about and I actually had a talk with Kevin today. It's been rough for him because I think he was excited to kind of take on something new. You know, I believe coming from a spiritual psychology background that we just have to really focus on the positive and be grateful for what we have. Maybe we don't understand right now why everything is happening but hey, he's got a job and most people don't. He's in demand, he's a hot director, and he has a lot to be grateful for and thankful for. Hey, he gets to be back here with us.
I'm sure something better is around the corner for David. I feel a little disappointed for him and what he's feeling but I'm sure these producers wouldn't have done it if they had another choice. I just feel like they probably did what they had to do and I'm hoping everything turns out the best for everybody. That's all I can hope for.
Has there been any talk on the set by the producers or anyone else about the fact that both films are scheduled to open on the same day? Has that affected production at all as far as you know?
Betsy Russell: No, I haven't heard anything about that. Really, I've been kind of away from all that stuff. I haven't really seen the producers much and I know that they're kind of doing their own thing so we haven't heard about that. I just hope that we both have our own audiences and maybe we'll get a lot more people because it's in 3D. It's supposedly our last movie so maybe that will bring some people out. I mean I don't know? I hope its all for the best, that's all I can say.
Finally, to follow up on what you just said, co-writer Patrick Melton has said publicly that he feels the "story is over" after "Saw VII 3D" and that this will be the final film. Is that how everyone is going into this, like this is the final film? Do you agree with that or do you think that the franchise can continue on?
Betsy Russell: Everyone is pretty much saying that this is it. However, you know that in "movie-land" if a movie does really, really well there is always a good chance that they could do more. But everyone is sort of feeling that this is the last one and I'm definitely feeling that way. It's kind of sad and it's been a really great run. I think that it might just have run its course and I guess we'll find out.
Saw VII 3D is currently shooting in Toronto, Canada and is scheduled for release on October 22nd, 2010.