STARBURST: Jigsaw is another of the horror genre’s key franchise characters. What would you say is his enduring quality, given what he has done to umpteen victims over the years?
Tobin Bell: It’s an interesting question. The appearance of Jigsaw in 2017 will resonate given the climate. The perspective of people is going to be different with this film from previous appearances and films. I think a lot of the reaction will be based on what people bring to the theatre. We don’t talk about the political context with this film, but it will be felt when people are watching Jigsaw on a sixty-foot cinema screen.
You were part of the famed Actor’s Studio graduates, which have included the likes of Pacino and Brando. What was so special about training there and how did it help you develop as an actor?
The Actor’s Studio was run by Lee Strasberg. I was based at the Neighbourhood Playhouse and I auditioned and got into the Studio in 1968, the same year as Al Pacino. The Studio was a Workshop for Professional Actors and not a Studio as such. It runs on Tuesdays and Fridays and people would come in and do pieces and monologues and then we would critique the various performances. In terms of how it helped develop me as an actor, it certainly helped me in the two decades before I got my first professional break.
How does a horror director vary from a mainstream one in your opinion?
Hopefully, not at all! As an actor, I work on a character regardless of whether it is a lawyer or a police officer or Jigsaw. You work on the same things and hopefully, any director with skill and talent will bring the human and character elements to the performance and film.
You have set designers for set design and you have effects people for special effects. Both actors and directors are there to bring the human qualities and elements to the piece.
Finally, what would you say is your proudest moment in your career?
I would say going back to square one when Alan Parker cast me in Mississippi Burning (1988). My first scene was walking into a cobbler’s shop with Gene Hackman and it was my first speaking role, having done thirty-five films where I didn’t say a word and this was my first speaking role. On balance, that was my proudest moment.
JIGSAW will be playing more games in cinemas from October 26th.