Exclusive: 'Saw' Writer Leigh Whannell Talks the Future of the Franchise

Exclusive: 'Saw' Writer Leigh Whannell Talks the Future of the Franchise

Nov 24, 2014

It's been 10 years since Leigh Whannell wrote and costarred in Saw. Since then there have been six sequels, and though the last movie in 2010 was titled Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, there's been plenty of talk about how soon it would be before Lionsgate resurrected the beloved (and incredibly profitable) franchise in some capacity.

Some of it has been fueled by rumors, some of it by cheeky prodding by Whannell and James Wan themselves (they hid Billy the Puppet in their first Insidious installment). So when we spoke to Whannell last week about his terrific new movie The Mule, which he cowrote, executive produced and acts in, we wanted to ask about the likelihood that Saw is coming back and if he'd even want to be involved with a new version of it:

 

Movies.com: On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the most likely, how likely are we to see a new Saw movie in the next two or three years?

Leigh Whannell: Huh? In the next two or three years? Now I'm saying this as someone who isn't actually privy to any insider information, and I'd think if they were going to make one they would definitely tell me and they haven't yet, but since you put it in a betting context, I would reckon it's a seven out of 10 that in the next couple years there will be an announcement about some form of sequel or reboot or something to do with Saw. That's just my gut feeling knowing the studio and how they feel about the franchise. They haven't pulled the trigger yet, so that's why it's at a seven.

Movies.com: Would you even want to be involved with it or would you just be willing to hand it off?

Whannell: I'm willing to hand it off. I'm fairly tapped out when it comes to Saw, pardon the pun for Saw fans out there. I feel like I've given everything I had to give to that particular universe, but I'd have to see when it gets down to it. I'm pretty much a case-by-case person when it comes to screenwriting. It's pretty torturous at the best of times, so the last thing you want to do is commit to writing something you're not sure about. Because if you're not sure about it, the process will just eat you alive and it'll show in your work.

I wouldn't commit to the Saw franchise, but I would commit to a story idea that was really awesome. If someone called me up and said, "Hey, I've got a great story idea for the next Saw film" and they told me the idea and I loved it, I might commit to that, but I wouldn't just write a blank check to the franchise itself because I'd just get stuck at a table pulling my hair out, swigging Jack Daniels, and playing Russian roulette Christopher Walken style with a revolver.


As for the movies that Whannell is actually making next, we already know that he wrote and directed Insidious: Chapter 3, but 2015 is also going to give us Cooties and possibly a few other nonhorror movies as well.

Movie.com: The Mule is the first nonhorror movie you've written and produced. Were there other attempts before this?

Whannell: I have several other scripts that aren't in the horror genre, this is just the first that's being released. I have a comedy-horror film, so it still has a foot in the horror genre, called Cooties that is being released some time next year. I have a sci-fi movie that will hopefully shoot next year. Anyone who works in the film industry knows that getting a film made is always a gamble. You never know how long it's going to take to get something financed. There's so many factors that determine what gets to a screen. A film you wrote last year may get released before a film you wrote 10 years ago simply because the film you wrote 10 years ago has had difficulties, like an actor dropping out or a million other reasons that hold it back.

I would say over the next year or so, you're going to see a few other different films in different genres.

Movies.com: We'd love to hear more about this sci-fi movie as that's a genre we love.

Whannell: Oh yeah, I'm a big fan. I've got this sci-fi film called Gem* that I wrote that's sort of in the preproduction stages right now and hopefully will shoot next year.

 

*Note, the phone call got a bit garbled here, but it definitely sounded like the title Whannell said was "Gem," which may be the new title of the same sci-fi movie he's been teasing about with James Wan for over four years now (at one stage it was called Nightfall), which really just emphasizes his point that you just never know how long it's going to take for a movie to get made.

In the meantime, you can watch a new Leigh Whannell movie right now. The Mule, about a drug smuggler whose future depends on how long he can avoid evacuating the heroin hidden in his bowels, is on VOD and in select theaters. It is highly, highly worth your time so do go check it out, especially since we'll have more from Whannell about it and his screenwriting process later this week.

Warning: clip is NSFW.

 

 

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