Heads around the world were collectively scratched last year when it was announced that Chris Rock, an actor not usually known for taking dramatic roles never mind entering the horror genre, was developing the ninth installment of the Saw franchise. Not only was the 55 year-old set to take the lead in what would eventually be titled Spiral: From the Book of Saw, but he also came up with the outline for the story and was acting as executive producer.
After many years of disappointing sequels, suddenly there was interest in Saw again, and the sense of curiosity surrounding the project only increased when it was announced that Samuel L. Jackson had also boarded Spiral. The first trailer was surprisingly effective, too, only revealing the connection to the rest of the series in the final few moments, with Rock seemingly playing against type as a grizzled detective.
With Rock and Jackson attached, interest in the brand is now higher than it’s been for a long time, with the virtually annual succession of sequels becoming notable only for the array of inventive death traps and little else. Despite this, the eight previous Saw movies have made over $975 million at the global box office, with Spiral set to turn it into a billion dollar brand.
And though Rock’s involvement seemed to come completely out of left-field, franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell revealed in a recent interview that on his first meeting with the frequent Adam Sandler collaborator, Rock admitted that he was a huge fan of the franchise.
“I was at a film festival party at the Palm Springs Film Festival and my agent, much to my horror, pushed me towards Chris Rock and was like, ‘Say hi to Chris!’. I think I said something lame like, ‘I’m a big fan’, and he hears that a hundred times a day… He like, stopped in his tracks, came back and was like, ‘You wrote Saw?’. And suddenly he was super interested and he said to me, ‘I would love to make a Saw film’.”
Countless horror franchises have driven themselves into the ground following a series of sub-par sequels over the years, but with Chris Rock acting as the creative driving force behind Spiral, both fans of Saw and more casual audiences could be more inclined now to see how the ninth installment ultimately turns out.