Still, to this day, looking back on SAW 2, I ask myself… HOW THE FUCK DID I GET THIS JOB? The truth of the matter is this. Prior to SAW 2 – I had never directed anything. Ok, wait, that is not entirely true. I had directed a couple of really bad short films – and a music video or two; but nothing of any size.
People ALWAYS ask me how I landed this movie with basically no resume. So in a nutshell here is what happened.
I had written a script entitled THE DESPERATE. It was this claustrophobic blood bath – set inside a house where people were killing each other off one by one. I had been writing the script for years. In fact, I was fired off many a movie as a PA because “I was more focused on my own personal projects than the set I was supposed to be locking down.”
This is a true story – so pay attention.
My father sent me a letter on April 21, 2003. Basically telling me how much my parents loved me, but were done sending me money. In the letter, he told me I had one more year in Los Angeles where they would support me. Then I had to either A. Move back to Kansas. or B. Find a real job. Now, keep in mind – they had been sending me money for years and years and years all in support of me chasing my dream.
So this is a reality check. I had one year. I quickly went back to work on THE DESPERATE – polished it, and sent it to the world. I had no agents, or managers at the time. So I made up a fake agency, as well as a fake management company. I made fake letterhead, even had a fake voicemail box.
Let’s cut to 11 months later: I get woken up by a phone call from Gregg Hoffman from Twisted Pictures who had just read THE DESPERATE and wants to turn it into their next movie.
I meet with Gregg Hoffman and he shows me SAW. (Keep in mind SAW had not come out yet). Gregg tells me – they want to make THE DESPERATE as their next movie.
Overnight, Gregg’s partners, OREN KOULES and MARK BURG, read the script. Oren calls Gregg up and says, “Wait, let’s turn THE DESPERATE into SAW 2.”
Next thing I know I am meeting at Lionsgate, in a room full of executives.
Here’s where it gets sticky. SAW is tracking huge. Everyone realizes they have a huge hit on their hands. A sequel is a no-brainer. But who in their right mind would ever hire me… a dude who has directed a bunch of really terrible short films, and had been fired from almost every production job he has ever had?
I knew the odds of my ever convincing LGF to let me direct this were slim to none. Thank God for Peter Block, an executive at LGF who bought into what I was selling…
Two months after my meeting, I am on a plane to Toronto to film SAW 2 (formerly THE DESPERATE).
To put it in perspective: Just weeks prior – I was penniless, sleeping on couches, and working as a tape room operator dubbing video tapes. Now – I was on a plane to direct a real Hollywood movie.