When Quentin Tarantino burst on to the Hollywood scene with Reservoir Dogs, it felt like a whole new language of movie dialogue was born. Characters that were hip to pop culture could dissect a Madonna song for meaning, while waiting around to undertake an iconic heist that would put a creative talent on the map. It’s something that’s stuck with actor/comedian Chris Rock, as Spiral: From the Book of Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman revealed that the Forrest Gump conversation in the horror movie's act took its cues from that very moment.
Speaking with IndieWire on behalf of his huge return to the Saw franchise, Bousman revealed that our introduction to Chris Rock’s Detective Zeke Banks was a huge tip of the hat to Reservoir Dogs. As Zeke describes how Robin Wright’s Jenny is pretty much the villain of Forrest Gump, it very much feels like that diner scene at the beginning of Quentin Tarantino’s robbery caper. Darren Lynn Bousman summed up how and why this came to be, starting with his description of the moment that he got those Spiral pages:
Chris is a big fan of Reservoir Dogs. This was like his homage. He came to me the next day after we talked about the opening, handed me his pages, and said, ‘It should be something like this.’
In his big introduction in Spiral: From the Book of Saw, Chris Rock is railing on the character of Jenny and how Tom Hanks’ titular nice guy was supposedly too good for her. Certainly not a new argument in the realm of Forrest Gump discourse, but the way it's handled is very much a shorthand that mimics the approach of the Reservoir Dogs’ team and their character development. Through one discussion of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” and all of the idiosyncrasies that present themselves, Tarantino’s dialogue tells you all you need to know about these people, as you’ll see below.
As a vital part of how Spiral: From the Book of Saw came to be, Chris Rock’s handle on the Saw franchise was key to reintroducing it to the masses. Which is a good thing, because initially, Spiral was going to introduce Detective Banks in a very different, more conventional manner. Darren Lynn Bousman revealed that fact, as well as how Zeke was originally going to make his debut, as follows:
Originally the script has Chris’ introduction very different. He was introduced busting a weed dispensary. He came to me maybe five days before shooting and said, ‘I gotta do better, it’s the introduction of my character.’
In contrast with that original concept, Chris Rock’s introduction in Spiral: From the Book of Saw is totally on brand with his sensibilities as an actor. Without spoiling any details, the character of Zeke’s “good cop” nature is important to how his character factors into Spiral’s overall plot. So an undercover robbery of vicious drug dealers, after a quick chat about Forrest Gump, feels like more of a heroic start than just busting a weed dispensary; especially with attitudes towards the legalization of marijuana being what they are.
Much as Chris Rock trusted his instincts about his Spiral: From the Book of Saw character, Darren Lynn Bousman’s directorial notions allowed him to trust his collaborator in knowing his character. And the result is something that pays tribute to Quentin Tarantino’s contribution to film history, while serving as a perfect introduction to the world of this Saw spin-off. You can see that scene, and all the bloody carnage that bookends it, in Spiral: From the Book of Saw, which is currently offering a new game for audiences to play, only in theaters.