Interview: An Interview with Saw IV’s Marcus Dunstan

October 29, 2007 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

Saw IVTwo years ago I was fortunate enough to meet Marcus Dunstan at the world premiere of his screenwriting debut, Feast (co-written with writing partner Patrick Melton). Since I don’t have cable (swear to god), I had never seen the Project Greenlight that led up to this wonderfully post-modern cult masterpiece: this was my first exposure to both the guys and to the film.I’ve since run into Marcus at a couple of conventions and festivals and we’ve become friends. And since he and Patrick took on the duties of writing for the Saw series, I felt I should probably shoot him an email and ask him a few questions in honor of the release of Saw IV. He was kind enough to oblige.

Cargill: What was it that attracted you to the Saw material? What about it excited you? What couldn’t you wait to play around with?

Marcus: The Saw films are like the Dr. Phibesfilms with Vincent Price re-imagined for the modern age. There is no safety. Good guys can lose; bad guys lose more; and the villain is several steps ahead of all of us. The whole series reminded me of a line Gene Hackman said in Heist. His character was asked roughly how he outsmarted people and his response is “I imagine someone smarter than me and then I ask him what he would do.” That was pretty much the thought we pressed into our heads every step of the way on this one. It just had to push. It had to be rough and vital. Otherwise, we would be the kids that pissed in the pool. Nobody needs that. What couldn’t we wait to play with? The dark side of poetic justice. The recklessness of anger. And, what would Jigsaw do to someone that hurt him deeply? That excited the hell out of us.

Cargill: Was it intimidating to pick up a series that was so far along and had already developed its mythology?

Marcus: YES! Friggin’ scary as acne. However, that intimidation led to more focus and effort than we could ever imagine. We just didn’t want to screw this up. This is a terrific series, one that has to earn its viewers time and time again with evolving dynamics and grounded storytelling. It is a machine set to “pain” and it just keeps chugging along.

Cargill: What is your favorite moment out of the series?

Marcus: I have one “fan” answer and one conceited answer. The fan answer is actually the moment in Saw III where Detective Mathews outsmarts the leg shackle by breaking his foot, jerking open the door and screaming for murder. I jerked back in my seat and nailed my head on the wall when it happened. I thought that concoction of horror, intelligence and thrill were all turned up to ten in that moment. Stellar.

The conceited answer is a moment in SAW IV. Darren took a really difficult scene involving a red tinted room and made it into a recruitment film for the dark side. It was the make it or break it moment for me as a viewer and when the audience started clapping last night after that scene went down…oh man…that felt GREAT!

Cargill: What was it that you didn’t like or felt lacked in the previous three films that you wanted to improve upon here?

Marcus: I was thrilled we had a chance to bring a grisly “who dunnit” vibe back to the series. This is Agatha Christie on meth.

Cargill: What angle did you decide to take with this new film? Was there anything you took in a new direction (without spoiling anything of course)?

Marcus: We wanted to adrenalize the proceedings. By the fourth entry, in order to demand attention, the film must be as tough and strong as the first. A part II or a part III is no stranger to multiplexes, but a part IV? A good part IV? There just aren’t that many I can name. With that in mind, Patrick and I went at this film like it was alone. It had to earn back every single person out there. It had to be as good on the second viewing as it was the first. It had to be made of steel. If last night’s premiere was any indication…I can’t wait for FRIDAY NIGHT!!

Cargill: What’s the toughest part of writing a horror sequel?

Marcus: Honoring the opportunity with quality. No matter the budget. No matter the time crunch. I think if I am going to be associated with anything my parents or friends are going to be forced to sit through, it better be damn good. The one thing we don’t get back is time. I don’t dare want to waste anyone’s time.

Cargill: Speaking of sequels, you’re presently putting together Feast 2 and Feast 3. Anything you can tell us about that?

Marcus: I can tell you that Feast II: Sloppy Seconds begins shooting on Halloween day! It will be a blast! These suckers are going to be a frenzy of unrated mayhem. This is unfiltered Gulager-vision unleashed to terrorize the world! We were laughing so hard the other day at one of the painful moments that we had a lovely assortment of tears and fluids shooting from our noses. The Feast [films] will be 100% unredeemable shock-o-rama!

Cargill: I was fortunate enough to see the test footage for your upcoming directorial debut Midnight Man. What can you tell us about that?

Marcus: Thank you! I hope to be shooting The Midnight Man for Dimension this February but… I will believe it when I am whispering “action.”

Saw IV opens this Friday. Like I had to tell you that.



Entry filed under: Interviews. Tags: , , .

Review: Dan In Real Life is Easy-Going and Charming Ebert is Giving Out Stars Like Hotcakes!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: