In the summer of 2019, word came out that a new Saw movie starring Chris Rock was in the works, causing several of us to do a double-take. “Wait a second,” we said. “Chris Rock? Like…the Chris Rock? In a new Saw movie? And it’s based on his own idea? How on Earth did that happen?”
Well, it took more than a year, but now we finally have an answer – and weirdly, it involves an unlikely movie directed by Tyler Perry.
The Origin Story of the New Chris Rock Saw Movie
The Hollywood Reporter has published a profile of Chris Rock in the lead-up to the premiere of FX’s Fargo season 4 (which he stars in and called “the best part [he’s] ever had”), and that piece recounts the amazing story of how Rock’s 2014 comedy Top Five led him on the journey to making Spiral: From the Book of Saw:
“When Rock was writing Top Five, he included a scene in which his character, a giant comedy star desperate to be taken seriously, is humiliated by long lines for a made-up Tyler Perry movie called Boo! while his wrenching slavery drama bombs. Somebody from Lionsgate, which distributes Perry’s movies, suggested Perry actually make a movie called Boo!, which, incredibly, he did. It was a runaway success that begat a sequel, both of which used art from the Top Five version. A truly weird case of life imitating art imitating life — and wait, it gets weirder.
Not long after, Rock ran into the head of Lionsgate’s film group at a friend’s wedding and remarked to him, half-jokingly, that he’d never seen a cent from Boo! “I don’t even think I got a special thanks,” he says now. “And I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, I’ve seen a bone thrown for a lot less.” The conversation got friendlier from there, as Rock complimented the studio’s Saw horror franchise and, having given it no prior thought, suggested they make the next one in the comedic style of [Eddie] Murphy’s 48 Hours. A few weeks later, he got a call from Saw producer Mark Burg, and a deal was struck for Rock to not only help develop such an idea but also to star.
The whole thing with Boo! is sort of like if Adam Sandler decided to actually make that fake big-headed baby movie after Funny People. I can’t get over the fact that the Boo! movies actually used art created in Top Five. I desperately tried to find that clip of Rock’s character outside the theater so I could embed it here, but sadly came up short. But man, I’ve heard some bizarre stories about movies getting greenlit in Hollywood, and this is right up there near the top.
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