The final chapter of the record-breaking horror franchise, Saw, debuts this weekend to end the series with a bang. Along with adding 3D to the franchise's seventh installment, the first time for the format in the series, Saw 3D will be wrapping up the story threads of the series to date and bringing back many of the key characters who helped shape the rather complex inter-connected plot.
I had the chance to chat recently with one of the stars of the Saw movies, Costas Mandylor, who plays the villainous character known as Hoffman. In our discussion, we talk about the growth of his role and his character's story throughout the Saw series and where we find him -and his mental state - in Saw 3D, in addition to other goodies about traps, action and sequel-potential.
Hoffman was introduced in a minor role in Saw III to later become one of the main characters who we learn has been part of the whole story from the beginning. Saw VI left the Jigsaw apprentice wounded, angrier and more determined then ever for revenge, leading to what will be a high-paced and more action-oriented sequel in Saw 3D for the story and Mandylor's character.
You’ve been part of the franchise for five films now, describe your character and where you see him and his mental state now.
"Kind of... frazzled, kind of injured and kind of really, really ready to **** people up. Basically, I think his discipline is out the window and he wants to exact revenge."
Okay, so you consider him a pure villain? Or is there any compassion left for fans to feel for this character?
“Well, you can be compassionate to the fact he nearly got his face ripped apart, or it did get ripped apart or ripped off, but I guess, he feels the right to do whatever he wants now so, a lot of the philosophical side is gone.”
When you first joined when you did Saw 3, did you know you were doing Saw 3 and Saw 4 together?
"No. Nah, they were threatening to put me in the movie but you know these producers, they might’ve been just teasing."
“But then they wrote 4 and they said 'you’re gonna be happy,' so then I read it. Actually, I didn’t read 4 but I was happy that I had the big part. And the reason I didn’t read it was… well, the producer was like ‘because I’m lazy.’ No it wasn’t that. It was because I didn’t want to manipulate the audience. I wanted to be as naive as they were as to where I was going. And as I went along I was like ‘Oh ****, y’know.'"
As your character progressed through the sequels, we saw a lot of back-story that served to make connections between your character and how he was there from the beginning. Are we going to see you, in this movie, in flashback scenes connecting you to more characters of old?
“You’re going to see certain flashback things from what I remember. Yeah, there’s a few things. I don’t know if it’s pre-3. You know what? There are a few. I’m looking back and it’s hard to remember. But yeah, you will see the connections.”
We’ve seen your character, when he first started helping out Jigsaw, disobeying him in a way. Hoffman would set up traps like Jigsaw, but the victims could not escape them. Instead, they were designed to kill that person rather than serving the purpose of offering them the opportunity to free themselves. But then it seemed like your character crossed that line where he seemed to believe, like Jigsaw, that his was a way to rehabilitate criminals. In Saw 3D, are you walking that fine line anymore or is it now just you out for blood?
“Ummm... No, you know what. That’s out the window because I don’t care about anything other than reaching my objective”
And it’s through traps as well?
“[nods head] Yeah, it’s pretty nasty.”
[Laughter] Okay, so the big thing is that this Saw movie is coming in 3D, it’s going to be a lot more gruesome. But it’s also the final chapter. So, is your character’s story done or, if for whatever reason in the future there is another Saw or a spin-off, is there more story to tell for your character?
“I think there is but they always shoot alternate endings and I never know if I’m dead or not.”
“A lot of people, I’m not sure if they’re coming back or not. I don’t think they do it to confuse us. They do it to give themselves options. But there is a possibility. It depends on which ending they use.”
Interesting. And what’s next for you personally outside of Saw?
“I did a movie called Sinners and Saints recently with a bunch of crazy action stars. Bas Rutten was in it. Ass-kicking, funny Bas Rutten, remember him?
Yeah, I do. The Eliminator!
“Tom Berenger was in it.”
I like Tom Berenger.
“He’s a good man. Johnny Strong too. My brother (Louis Mandylor) is in it. It’s a real guys-guys movie and it’s set in New Orleans when the water breaks and people do really bad things and others try to help people. And I’m the ultimate sinner.
[Laughs] More villainous stuff. When’s that coming out?
“I’m not sure when they’re releasing it but it’s going to be pretty good for a small movie, it’s good.”
Shot in New Orleans?
“Shot in New Orleans’s when it was cold.”
Here's the last one I’ll ask you; With this being in 3D, and everyone always asks what’s your favorite kill and all that crap, but what can fans expect that will be over-the-top crazy. Because as Kevin [Greutert, the director] says, Saw is going out with a bang, what’s the biggest thing fans should look forward to with this movie?
“Well, you know what, there’s some really, really elaborate traps. There’s some hands-on killing as well. We get to go outside a little bit. It’s sort of an… I don’t want to mislead anyone, but it’s got a little but of action to it. You know, it’s actiony-thriller kind of thing. And I think that’s good because I think sometimes it can get a little claustrophobic after the sixth movie, you’re always inside these chambers and stuff.
Dark, cold rooms…
“Yeah, but what we get to see is a little flashier this time.”
Actually, I will ask you another thing. You said earlier that you share less time with Tobin on screen in Saw 3D. Do you spend sometime with Cary Elwes, who's making a return in Saw 3D?
"Not much. And that’s probably good for everybody because we have a very unpleasant relationship [laughs]."
Thank you for your time.
While he couldn't reveal much at all about characters and story in Saw 3D here or in our other conversations, Costas Mandylor is excited with the seventh Saw movie and expects fans will be very pleased. I'm very curious as to which ending they'll go with and who may live or die in "The Final Chapter."
If you need to get caught up with the Saw series or need a refresher, you absolutely must read our complete recap of the series, The Complete Saw Movie Guide in 6:66.
Saw 3D is directed by Kevin Greutert and stars Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery and Cary Elwes alongside Costas Mandylor. It officially opens in theaters this Friday, October 29, 2010.