Darren Lynn Bousman Explains How Chris Rock Brought Him Back to the Saw Franchise [Exclusive]

Director James Wan’s Saw is one of the most influential horror movies of the modern era. But it can be argued that Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV is perhaps the most instrumental figure in making it the huge franchise it is today. Now, after more than a decade away, Bousman is returning to the series for Spiral, which is set to hit theaters next year. Bousman had vowed never to return but the power of Chris Rock managed to pull him back in.

I recently had the chance to speak with Darren Lynn Bousman about his new movie Death of Me, which arrives later this month. We’ll have the full interview up soon. During our conversation, the subject of Spiral Came up. Bousman explained to me what drew him back to the franchise after all this time, and it all started with getting to meet Chris Rock, who leads the cast of the movie. Here’s what Bousman had to say.

RELATED: How Chris Rock Convinced His Spiral Director to Return to the World of Saw

” I kind of got away from making movies for about three years, and I got involved in immersive theater. So immersive theater, if you’ve ever seen the movie The Game with Michael Douglas? David Fincher. I do that for real. Where you have a company that puts together large scale events take place in the world that you interact with. You never know who is an actor and who’s not. I’ve gotten so addicted to it and it has taken so much of my time, but the reality is that as cool as that is, and as much as I love it, it doesn’t pay the bills, which it needs to. So you know, every so often I pop up, find a movie that I could go do to keep me in the game of making films as well as help me to maintain the lifestyle that I have. But the more and more I got involved with immersive the more and more I did not want to come back to making movies. I just loved this thing I was doing, this immersive thing. I got a phone call one afternoon from Mark Burg, who is the producer of Spiral and said, ‘Hey, where are you? And this is crazy. I was actually in New York at the time, about to start directing a Broadway show. I got offered a chance to direct this immersive show on Broadway, which was an amazing thing for me. It was like my passion and I said, ‘Listen, I don’t think I could do whatever this is. I’m in New York.’ And he said, ‘I recommend you get on a flight and get back here.’ And I said ‘Mark, I don’t think that’s possible.’ He says, ‘You’re meeting Chris Rock tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘I’m on the next flight.'”

It was unclear where the franchise was heading following the release of 2017’s Jigsaw. But when Chris Rock decided he wanted to make a Saw movie, Lionsgate listened. It made sense for them to go back to Bousman, who very successfully helmed three previous entries in the series. Speaking further, Bousman explained that the meeting went exceptionally well.

“I flew in from New York. I had breakfast with Chris Rock… I was giddy. I was literally like a school girl because I’m a huge Chris Rock comedy fan. I mean, I love him as an actor as well, but every one of his specials, every one of the albums, I grew up with. I f****** adore that guy. So I’m sitting there with a smile on my face the entire time. I probably look like a goddamn stalker and he was awesome. Everything he said could not have been more aligned with my vision of narrative storytelling. I always said I would never come back to do a Saw film. Then I heard him talk, and I was like, ‘This is awesome.’ It just immediately reinvigorated my desire to do it and to make those types of movies. So I said yes, right then and there at the table. Cut to a few months later, I’m standing on set with Chris Rock and Sam Jackson.”

Spiral remains largely mysterious but it focuses on a detective played by Chris Rock and his rookie partner who end up at the forefront of a grizzly investigation into a serious of murders that are eerily reminiscent of the past. Trapped in an ever-unfolding mystery, Rock’s detective finds himself at the center of the murderer’s deadly game. Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols and Max Minghella also star.

The movie, which will be the ninth in the franchise overall, had originally been set to arrive in May of this year. The studio ultimately opted to delay it a year, with Spiral now set to arrive on May 21, 2021, from Lionsgate. In the meantime, you can check out Darren Lynn Bousman’s Death of Me on October 2.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb