‘Spiral’ brings the ‘Saw’ universe back, and it’s bigger than ever

Marisol Nichols as Angie Garza.

When the first ‘Saw’ movie came out almost two decades ago, audiences were horrified and intrigued. The film examines characters in situations that most people would never imagine in their worst nightmares: homemade traps causing horrible, excruciating pain or death. Each of the ‘Saw’ films takes through different plot lines, but with the common denominator of a sadistic killer who is exacting revenge in their own way, and that tune hasn’t changed for the latest addition to the series. However, this film brings a new element to the ‘Saw’ universe in the form of some big Hollywood names.

‘Spiral: From The Book Of Saw’ comes from executive producer Chris Rock who also plays detective Zeke Banks alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols, but the story also comes from some of the original writers and director of the earlier films. It’s that mix of old and new that helps tell a captivating and gory story, one that also has its own mix of good, evil and the gray area in between.

Marisol Nichols, who plays the force of nature Police Captain Angie Garza, sat down to discuss what sets ‘Spiral’ apart.

Marisol Nichols and Chris Rock. Lionsgate

What was it about this project that interested you to want to sign on? 

Well, I was familiar with the Saw universe, and then when I heard that Chris was taking it over, executive producing it, and then he brought Sam Jackson on board and Max Minghella…I was like wait what? I knew I had to read the script and I had to be a part of this, and I thought the script was great and it reminded me of “Seven,” which is one of my favorite movies. 

What is about this specific ‘Saw’ film that is different from the others?

First of all, the names involved and the cast adds a certain element to it. You don’t really see Sam Jackson in a horror film, you don’t expect to see Chris Rock chasing down a serial killer unless there’s a giant joke at the end. So that alone is already really interesting, to see these beloved actors in a genre that you’ve never seen before. Secondly, it’s still got the same director and writer as some of the ‘Saw’ films, so you’ve got that element to it, and it’s a new chapter. It’s paying homage to the ‘Saw’ universe and everything people love about that universe along with the traps, but a different flavor and a different take on it.  

What can you tell me about your character specifically?

She has a long relationship with Samuel L. Jackson’s character, the former captain Marcus Banks and Zeke Banks. So they have a long relationship that has been complicated for a lot of years. She’s now the captain, she’s now in charge and she’s been promoted. She’s had to run this group of brats for lack of a better word and crybabies sometimes, and that’s how she sees them. She’s like knock it off, get your sh*t together and go do your job and that’s it. I think she’s earned the respect of the force, she’s earned the respect of her juniors, she’s fair and I think she’s had to make some tough decisions along the way…Maybe not always the right decisions, but right at that time, or at least so she thought. It’s going to come back to her, but right now, I think she’s doing the best that she can given the circumstances. 

Getting to see you play a woman in charge, was that a draw for you to take this role?

100%. The role was originally written for a male, and my manager pitched it for me. To the credit of the filmmakers, they were like okay… and then didn’t change anything. That I loved. I think they changed the name, but that was it. In the past, I’ve only been able to play roles where you see a glimpse of that power and that command and strength, where this was just [all in] and I loved it. 

With your character and Samuel L. Jackson’s character, they are decent people but they have to make some hard decisions at times. What do you think that has to say about this movie where someone is out to exact revenge… Is there a gray area surrounding right and wrong? 

I hope it shows the gray area, I really do—because look there are good people and there are bad people, plain and simple. Then there are good people who sometimes do bad things because there’s a gray area, or at the time they’re doing the best decision they could, but it was the wrong one. So it depends on the circumstances. I think when you’re a cop and you’re given authority and you’re given guidelines to that authority, I get that some people want to step out of those lines for the right reasons or the wrong reasons….And it’s a dangerous slope, you know? So, I don’t know if people will take that away, I assume people will question that or at least go huh, that’s interesting. But at the end of the day, I’m hoping people really just like the story, they get scared, they enjoy going back to the theater and enjoy seeing a really, really great film.

Samuel L. Jackson. Lionsgate

With all of the gore and the intense scenes, why do you think people really love this kind of series?

I mean it messes with your mind so much. Lets see: You’re in a trap and you have a choice between absolute hell and excruciating pain, or death. The idea of having to inflict excruciating pain on yourself in order to save yourself is a mind-F. I think it’s that, and I think it plays with people’s minds and it’s a visceral reaction that it’s kind of like that train wreck that you kind of want to see but don’t…But you can’t look away. 

‘Spiral: From The Book Of Saw’ releases in theaters May 14.


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