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Darren Lynn Bousman on Saw IV

Darren Lynn Bousman spills the beans on SAW IV.

Darren Lynn Bousman on Saw IV

When Saw movies keep having $30 million openings every Halloween, Saw IV was a given. Even though the end of Saw III really tied up all the ends, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures put a new team of writers on Saw IV (Leigh Whannell is moving on to other projects). But Darren Lynn Bousman, director of II and III is back, as is Tobin Bell, which seems odd for anyone who remembers the end of Saw III. Of course we don’t want to know all the secrets this early, but Bousman met for drinks and appetizers to give a little tease for the loyal Jigsaw groupies.

CraveOnline: Are you guys making this up as you go along, or did you still have plans for Saw IV back when you were setting up Saw II?

Darren Lynn Bousman: Unlike X-Files, I used to work on X-Files, I would always go up and say, “Do you guys know where this thing is going? Do you have an answer?” and they would go, “No, no, we really don’t.” We know where it’s going and there is a definite conclusion and it’s badass and I’m glad to be involved with something to know where this thing is going.

CraveOnline: So Saw IV is the end, or does this go beyond?

Darren Lynn Bousman: I’m not saying that. There definitely is and we figured it out, believe it or not, when we were writing II when Leigh [Whannell] and I got together on II. We were saying “Where do we want to see this thing go to? Where is the end?” Did I think I was going to come back on IV? No. I thought it would have been the end for me and definitely III was the end of that story. But there was always envisioned to be separate stories going on in Saw and this I just happened to take part in the beginning of the next story.

CraveOnline: I thought you came back to Saw III almost grudgingly so I was wondering what brought you to Saw IV?

Darren Lynn Bousman: It was the heap loads of cash that [producer] Mark [Burg] brought over in a dump truck. No, that had nothing to do with it. What it really boiled down to was two things. Unlike starting from scratch and having no idea where to go, I’d been with this for two years now. I knew the people involved, I knew the producers, and I knew the cast. I knew everyone involved, the production designer, the costumer designer, so I wasn’t starting at square one. Unlike a lot of films, you look at a lot of sequels, they try to take a different road. They try to put new characters in. Everyone is the same [in Saw]. A little known fact about Saw which not a lot of people know is that we used the same extras and they played the same extras year to year. We have the same SWAT team. Have you looked at my four badass SWAT guys that I was allocated in the budget to have in Saw II? It’s the same SWAT guys in Saw III and in Saw IV. If you look at the nurses in all the hospital scenes, everyone is the same. So it completely is a family. I know the film brings back the exact same extras, the same SWAT guys. My favorite is there is a police detective in Saw III that has like half a line. He doesn’t really say sh*t but he’s back in IV saying half a line and doesn’t really say sh*t. It’s the same guy.

CraveOnline: Does that tie into the continuity as well?        

Darren Lynn Bousman: We never said where Saw IV is being filmed. It’s anywhere. But one thing we tried to do is create a community. The die hard fans will pick it up. They will see that we are in the same locations, that we have in the same actors, that there is this continuity that brings credibility to the project. We’re not changing over every year. So definitely there is a continuity to it. I think that’s why if you look at the successful franchises like look at Lethal Weapon. The Lethal Weapon films continue to succeed because they had the same people every single Lethal Weapon. And if you liked or hated them, they did well. I mean the Lethal Weapons did do well because it was the exact same people every year. The movies that fail are the ones that have completely new people come in every single time and try to reinvent it.

CraveOnline: What new blood have these new writers brought?

Darren Lynn Bousman: A lot. Patrick and Marcus are great. You know what’s a crazy story about Patrick and Marcus which is I was working in between Saw II and Saw III helping edit a movie. I was working out of this building and Patrick and Marcus were working a floor beneath me on one of their movies called The Midnight Man or something. And I was going to my car one night and the two guys, Feast had not come out yet, they go, “Oh, you’re Darren. We’re huge fans of Saw, we’re huge fans of Saw.” And they gave me their phone numbers like, “Dude, we love Saw.” And then now two years later, here they are the writers of it which is strange fate, but they did a great job. The thing that’s hard about coming into a Saw film is there are rules. Not a lot of people realize this but we try to stay true to them. Jigsaw, A, doesn’t lie, number one. The traps have to be anything that can be bought at Home Depot or found in the environment which we’re saying it is. There are all these rules so we gave the writers the rules sheet and the rules sheet was a thick book. We’re like, “Here. Just don’t f*ck it up.” And they did a good job. They really did.

CraveOnline: When did they greenlight Saw IV?

Darren Lynn Bousman: When I was filming Saw III. It’s become kind of a tradition now. I don’t think it’s been greenlit, it’s just like they’re keeping going. But definitely when the movie came out and did well, I think then that solidified it that they were 100% doing IV.

CraveOnline: Does IV pick up right after III?

Darren Lynn Bousman: I can tell you this with pretty much certainty that nobody knows anything about IV. I was just joking around that all of these rumors going around about IV, no one has any clue what IV is.

CraveOnline: Some say it’s about Angus’s character and his daughter.

Darren Lynn Bousman: Sure. That’s what it’s about. It’s about Angus and his daughter and they’re trapped in the same [warehouse] and the dog. Yeah. [Laughs] One of the greatest things about the Saw film is everyone is speculating. What’s going to happen? Is Shawnee back? Is it this? And they start pushing the things and we lead them there and say, “Sure. That’s what it’s about. Shawnee’s back. It’s about Angus and his daughter and this lovely relationship.” But I can say with much certainly that no one has any idea at this point what Saw IV is about.

CraveOnline: Do you ever worry it gets to be like M. Night Shyamalan where as he goes on, the twists get worse and worse?

Darren Lynn Bousman: This is my Lady in the Water, goddamn it! It’s always hard for me to call it. Is it a twist or is it just all wrapped up in this cool little box? We did some f*cked up sh*t this year that is exciting to me.

CraveOnline: Does that mean you have to really know intimately the first three movies to actually enjoy the fourth one?

Darren Lynn Bousman: I would say that it helps the audience to know the first three stories. Could you walk into Saw IV and never have seen I, II and III? Yes. Will the ending be as impactful? I don’t know. Will the characters be impactful? I don’t know. But yeah, it’s 100% a stand alone movie.

CraveOnline: Can you tell us anything about the new characters?

Darren Lynn Bousman: There are two new characters which I don’t think has been announced yet but I’ll drop this one. There’s two characters, Perez and Strong, who are our two people that we’re following on this one a lot. With Jigsaw we’ve always had cops somewhere in it and again, this issue of cops, I didn’t want to play them as cops. I didn’t want to do that. We’ve seen that story. So I tried to take a different spin on that and the cops [aspect] is secondary to who they are. We’ve actually focused on these quirky characters. We have  Scott Patterson in it and Scott Patterson is from the Gilmore Girls and I really knew nothing about him prior to my first meeting with him. The guy is fucking insane and great. We never really had people ad lib on the Saw films because it wasn’t that kind of platform. Well Scott Patterson, the first day he shows up, he says, "I’m going to do something a little different here." And I’m like, "Alright." We yell "action" and all of a sudden he started improvising and it was gold. It was like the best stuff I’d ever seen and he’s insane. It really works well for his character considering we haven’t seen him in a Saw film before. There’s a whole new life to this one which is exciting.

CraveOnline: What’s your next movie going to be?

Darren Lynn Bousman: I’m doing something completely different next. I’m doing a rock opera. Repo.

CraveOnline: Is that a spoof or are you playing it straight?

Darren Lynn Bousman: It’s serious. It’s a horror rock opera. It’s more violent than Saw in every aspect. It’s Rocky Horror Picture Show on acid. There’s nudity, there’s violence, there’s tons of hot girls, there’s breaking up and sawing and ripping spinal cords out. It’s great.

CraveOnline: Was it always intended for the big screen or is it based on a stage version?

Darren Lynn Bousman: It’s based on a stage show. It’s based on a play and it’s been performed for the last six years. So yes, it was based on a show. If you took all the violence in Saw and mixed it with Rocky Horror Picture Show and Blade Runner, that’s kind of what it is.

CraveOnline: When will you be shooting it?

Darren Lynn Bousman: We start in the end of August in Canada.

CraveOnline: Will you be done with Saw IV?

Darren Lynn Bousman: We have to turn Saw IV in the last week of August to be able to have prints made. Everything has to be made at that point. That’s another reason why it just fit to come back because I was done with Saw at that point. I had this gap of time where I wasn’t doing anything. With Repo, we have to record all the songs and there’s 77 songs in Repo. If you look at Rent, there were 19. If you look at whatever, there’s 77 songs in this and it’s singing from beginning to end. So all of this is being recorded right now. So while it’s being recorded, I went and did Saw IV. So the time fell perfectly. When I turned in my edit for Saw, when I turn my director’s cut in, then it’s pretty much out of my hands. Then they have to start making prints and making all of this so that’s when I start doing Repo.

CraveOnline: How do you maintaining the music throughout the film? Because even Tenacious D started like a rock opera but they started to talk.

Darren Lynn Bousman: Wait and see. I mean look at Jesus Christ Superstar or Tommy is all I can say. It’s more along those lines. If you look at Tommy, it’s completely sung for everything. When I say 77 songs, it’s not three-minute songs. One song might be 20 seconds, one song might be 14 seconds. One song might be five minutes. So it’s just all sung.

CraveOnline: So when there’s a Saw V, you won’t be involved?

Darren Lynn Bousman: You know what’s funny is James and Leigh were certainly involved in Saw IV even thought they said they were not involved. That’s funny. Leigh would call all the time on set and so would James. Definitely I’ll be involved somehow. I can bet the house and farm that I will not be directing V. I said that last year. Right here I promise I will not be back for V. Double or nothing. I promise. Give me the shot. I will not be back for V.

CraveOnline: Now that Hostel 2 did what it did at the box office, how do you expect Saw IV to be received?

Darren Lynn Bousman: Well, first off, if you look at a lot of the movies that went from 1 to 2, most times the sequels drop off whether it be Texas Chainsaw or The Grudge, whatever it is, most times the sequels drop off. With Saw II we raised. So I think we were able right away to show there’s something different here with the Saw films. And in Saw III we did it again. So if I was coming back, if Hostel II had done what it had done and all these films like 28 Weeks Later and all these movies which are not moving up as much, I think I would be a lot more nervous going to do Saw II if it was coming out right now. I think we’ve proven ourselves. Now does that mean that Saw V and VI aren’t going to feel it? No. But I think that Saw IV right now, we’ve not duped the audience going back to it. It’s when we dupe the audience that the other films have to worry about but I think for some way we’ve beaten the loop hole of sequels dropping off. So I’m not concerned about it right now.

CraveOnline: Did we miss our chance to see Saw 3D?

Darren Lynn Bousman: I’m not shitting you, I make outrageous demands before I come back. I really make these ludicrous demands. I’m not joking you. For Saw IV I said I would not come back unless they made it NC-17. I refused to come back unless it was NC-17. Well obviously I didn’t get that but I’m still back. I did the same thing. I came back and I was half joking but I came back and I said “We’re not coming back unless it’s Saw 3-D.” And what scared me was they actually thought about it for half a second. So, no, Saw 3-D is not on the horizon.

Check out this the first image from SAW IV on Bloody-Disgusting.