CULVER CITY, California — After 20 years and somewhere north of 50 film and television performances, Tobin Bell has a message for the “Saw” fans who nominated him for the first major award of his career: Jigsaw ain’t going anywhere.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Bell said at the MTV Movie Awards while reflecting on his Best Villain nomination. “A lot of people would like to have an opportunity to do [this]. … To be recognized for something that has captured the imagination of young people … is wonderful.”
For those unfamiliar with Bell’s games, the veteran genre actor broke through two years ago with “Saw,” a low-budget exercise in mayhem and masochism. Bell’s Jigsaw returned one Halloween later to torture a whole new group of victims in “Saw II,” but it seemed as if he died at the end of the flick.
Responding to rampant Internet speculation, Bell said the rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. His appearance at the Awards, he revealed, is a brief break during the midway point of his top-secret “Saw III” shoot (see ” ‘Saw III’ Confirmed, Promises Fresh Blood By Halloween” ).
“All I can tell you is this: When [Jigsaw] is nearing the end of his days, his nearing the end of his days is different than most people nearing the end of their days,” he said.
It’s the kind of cryptic answer that Jigsaw would appreciate. Bell did, however, add in some thoughts about the script by Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the latter of whom returns to the series after skipping the second chapter.
“It’s more intense, got a good story and lots of action,” Bell said, adding with a grin: “And maybe we find what the truth is at the end. Maybe Jigsaw finds out what the truth is.”
Asked if this “truth” refers to a revelation about the cancer diagnosis that began Jigsaw’s killing spree, Bell turned to his companion and grinned mischievously: “He knows a lot about it, doesn’t he?”
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“We’re about three weeks in and maybe three to go,” Bell reported, acknowledging a lightning-quick schedule similar to the one that yielded “Saw II.” “We’re doing well, we’re covering the ground, and we’re on track [for a release this Halloween season].”
Before heading off to the Movie Awards ceremony that saw Jigsaw fall prey to Darth Vader (a.k.a. Best Villain winner Hayden Christensen), Bell said his favorite torture scene happened in the “Saw II” needle pit.
“That was a scene that really [got to me]. Of all the stuff that was in there, including the [steel traps on the heads], the needle-trap thing gave me the [worst] experience. … It was like, ‘Whoa.’ ”
Bell said the killings in the third film will be just as boundary-pushing, because the closer Jigsaw gets to his own death, the more desperate he becomes to take other people down with him.
“He will develop new tricks and traps and some interesting surprises,” Bell said.
“Saw III” is on track to hit theaters October 27.
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