Chris Rock Teams With Lionsgate to Relaunch 'Saw' Horror Franchise
Chris Rock, the comedian known for his standup and his work on Saturday Night Live, and producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules, have teamed to relaunch the Saw horror franchise for Lionsgate.
The movie company, which is set to release John Wick 3 on Friday, is moving quickly on the project, which is described as a reimagining and a spinning-off of the franchise, and has set an Oct. 23, 2020, release date for the new iteration.
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The Saw films, released between 2004 and 2017, grossed over $1 billion for Lionsgate. They centered on a serial killer named Jigsaw and his followers who concocted elaborate death traps with a moral hook for the victims. The initial pic launched the career of filmmaker James Wan, and the movies among the most profitable films produced.
"When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in," Lionsgate motion picture group chairman Joe Drake said Thursday in a statement. "Saw is one of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all-time, and it's one of Lionsgate's most successful film series. This upcoming film will still be as mind-bending and intense as all the previous Saw films. Chris conceived this idea and it will be completely reverential to the legacy of the material while reinvigorating the brand with his wit, creative vision and passion for this classic horror franchise."
The screenplay is based on a story conceived by Rock and written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg. Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed three of the eight movies in the Saw series, is back as director, with Burg and Koules producing.
"I've been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004," said Rock in Lionsgate's announcement. "I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place."
Rock is also executive producing, with Wan and Leigh Whannell, who created the 2004 original movie, as well as Daniel Heffner joining him in that capacity.
"Chris wants to put his own spin on the Saw franchise in the way Eddie Murphy put a completely fresh perspective on buddy-cop films with 48 Hours. This new Saw is going to be an event film in the making for horror fans. It will have all of the twists and turns and hardcore layers that our fans expect, directed by one of the masters of the craft, Darren Lynn Bousman. We can't wait to get started," said Burg and Koules.
Rock will next be seen in Netflix's Dolemite Is My Name!, as well as season four of FX's Fargo.
Rock is repped by ICM Partners, Untitled Entertainment and Morris Yorn. Bousman is with Verve, Zero Gravity and attorney Tanya Mallean. Goldfinger is repped by Verve and attorney Adam Kaller.
by Patrick Shanley, Josh Wigler
by Graeme McMillan