Chris Rock says ‘Saw’ franchise didn’t need him for ‘Spiral: The Book of Saw’

The comedian stars in the latest incarnation of the horror franchise

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If you’re looking for a thriller to get your heart pumping this weekend, Chris Rock has you covered with his new film, Spiral: The Book of Saw. 

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The latest addition to the Saw franchise centers on Rock as Zeke Banks, the son of prolific police veteran, Marcus Banks, played by Samuel L. Jackson. 

Here’s the official synopsis: 

A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past.  Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

Chris Rock in “Spiral-The Book of Saw” (Lionsgate)

Spiral also stars Marisol Nichols and is produced by the original Saw team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules. The film is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Josh Stolberg & Pete Goldfinger.

theGrio caught up with Rock to find out how he handled coming into such a popular franchise. 

“It’s a lot of pressure to jump into something with such a strong following because, you know, it works without you and you don’t want to be the reason it fails at all, you know what I mean?” Rock said. “First of all, you’re grateful that they let you play because they don’t need you. Fargo didn’t need me. Spiral didn’t need me, but luckily they let me come along, and hopefully, I added something that was missing.”  

The comedian also revealed that he’s hoping his recent roles in Spiral and Fargo show that he has some serious chops as a dramatic actor. 

“I want to be known as a comedian that is capable of doing dramatic work. You’re supposed to leave with who you came in with, right?” he jokes. “I’m a comedian that’s capable of dramatic work. I love drama, so I hope to do a lot more. And even my comedy has always had dramatic undertones; the things I’ve always tried to talk about, I always try to tell a hard truth within the context of jokes, so here we are.” 

While some critics have suggested the film feels dated, particularly in the wake of the national outcry for police reform, Chris Rock reminds us that this movie was supposed to be released last summer, before the murder of George Floyd had the whole country re-thinking its relationship with police. 

“This movie was done a while back, before any of the George Floyd stuff or anything went down, any of other protests, this movie was done. It was supposed to come out last summer, but COVID,” he explains.

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It’s a weird coincidence that now when the movie comes out, all this focus on police accountability is going on. But I think it’s a good coincidence, I guess. I think it’ll have more people talk about a very difficult topic.”

Spiral: The Book of Saw is in theaters now.  Watch the interview with Rock above.

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