The undying nature of horror franchises is nothing new, but the announcement that the upcoming Saw reboot not only stars Chris Rock but is based on an original idea from the legendary comedian turned a lot of heads. It was announced last August that Rock would be spearheading a new Saw movie, writing a story treatment and starring in the film. It wouldn’t be completely disconnected from the rest of the franchise, as Darren Lynn Bousman—who helmed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV—signed on to direct, but the inclusion of Rock certainly adds a layer of intrigue for the ninth installment in the horror series.
So why did Chris Rock decide to make a Saw movie, exactly? Collider’s own Christina Radish posed that question directly to the performer recently at the Television Critics Association during an interview about his role in the upcoming fourth season of Fargo. As it turns out, Rock isn’t exactly a horror fanatic or Saw superfan. His involvement stems from a chance meeting with the head of Lionsgate:
“I was at a friend’s wedding, and they introduced me to the head of Lionsgate. I was like, ‘Lionsgate? Oh, Saw.’ And they called me up. I was just poking fun at the Lionsgate guy about Saw.”
Rock says Saw 9 will be infused with some comedy, but will still deliver the horror goods:
“There are so many movies that I’ve watched and gone, ‘Three jokes would have made that movie a lot better.’ You know what I mean? A lot of times, you can get comedy in things, if it’s grounded, without it changing the movie, per se. Just like that story that Beverly Hills Cop was written for Sylvester Stallone. Eddie Murphy was hired at the last minute, and they made kind of the same movie, but it was grounded with just a little here, here and here. So, Saw is really scary and really bloody. It’s a Saw movie. But every now and then, you take a little air out. It’s gonna be good.”
For Rock, starring in and concocting a new Saw movie was simply an opportunity to do something different:
“You wanna be interested in what you’re doing. I was like, ‘Fargo? That sounds great. That’s an adventure I haven’t been on. I’ve never done a television show before. Okay.’ And then, ‘A horror movie? I’ve never done that.’ Even without art, just in life, you wanna travel and see new things, you wanna meet new people, you wanna try new foods.”
Plot details for this new Saw movie are under wraps, but we do know that Rock co-stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella. As he says, there’s a lot of opportunity to play around in this particular sandbox given that this is the ninth entry. Why not try something new?
So once again the horror genre proves to be one of the most malleable and exciting genres for storytellers, just as Jordan Peele, Ari Aster, Jennifer Kent, and David Gordon Green have created wildly different and thematically diverse films under the “horror” umbrella in recent years. Here’s hoping this new Saw movie delivers something different.
The new Saw movie opens in theaters on May 15th.