INT: Donnie Wahlberg

With well-regarded performances in THE SIXTH SENSE and BAND OF BROTHERS, SAW II star Donnie Wahlberg is quickly making folks forget his days as a teen idol in the original boy band, New Kids on the Block. But I'll never forget. Some of the best work he did was in videos like "Hangin' Tough" and "Step By Step." This week he takes on the crafty Jigsaw in the highly-anticipated SAW sequel, which hopes to replicate the astonishing success of the surprise hit of a year ago.

Part of the reason Donnie took the role was to impress his son, who was a big fan of the original. Which is pretty cool until you learn that his kid is only 12 years old. What better way for a father to bond with his young son? SAW II - bringing families together. Check out what Donnie had to say about making the movie...

Donnie Wahlberg

What was the appeal of the first film for you?

I really liked the first one…it appealed to me as a view on a lot of levels. I thought it was fun. I thought it took chances. I thought Leigh Whannell was a terrible actor. (laughs) But I could forgive that because when I met him and realized that he had a full-blown Australian accent, I gave him a little more credit. Because he did a good job stashing that accent.

Did you tell him that you thought he was terrible?

No, he started speaking Australian and I said, “Dude, you’re from Australia ?” And he was like, “Yeah mate, I sure am!” And I was like (long pause), “Good job in the movie, man! That was a good job you did, brother.” (laughs) But I thought the movie took a lot of chances and I really honestly felt like I was watching a movie made by some young filmmakers who just had an idea and took a chance and pushed real hard and got it made. I knew the movie was appealing to young people as well and I could kinda see kids – hopefully not making slasher films – but being inspired by it. It almost looked like some dudes made it with like their digital camera and went home and edited it on their computer at home with some software they downloaded from the internet. I could actually see kids saying, “Damn, I could do that. I could make a movie like that.”

And quite frankly I would much rather…I’m not a huge horror fan, but I like good horror movies, the type of horror movies that really only come around like every ten years, which to me was Scream, for example. It kind of redefined the genre and broke the rules and changed the way the people were doing horror movies. And I thought Saw was the next one to come along that did that, for me. How many times do you go to the movies nowadays where you leave talking about the movie, like for a couple of days? Anyone you asked about it. My wife was like, “I didn’t sleep right for three days.” It wasn’t just teenagers; it was everybody, I think because at its core there was a human character who was guilty of the same thing we’re all guilty of, which is sort of taking for granted what we have. There’s a lot more to it…but I think all the viewers of the movie at some point or another think, “Wow, what if that was me. Could I do that?”

So the sequel comes my way and I was excited and also terribly frightened by it. I felt like yeah, I really liked the first one and if thing can be close to the first one, it would be pretty cool and I would take part in it. But the scary thing was I didn’t want to do like Blair Witch 2. That was the first thing that came into my head. Because the first one was so different; it was such a different movie, I was like, they’d better have thought this out really good because I don’t want to be that guy that is the face of that shitty sequel, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t do that. And when I read the script I thought it had the potential to be close to the first one – if not better – if we worked our asses of and didn’t just settle for the first pass of the script, we kept working on it constantly and keep pushing and make it right, I felt like yeah, this would be something fun.

When you do a sequel, the studios…they sort of treat it like a music video the second time around. It’s like, “Yeah yeah yeah. We need the foot cutting off and we need more gore and more blood and more this and that.” And in some ways I think the audience wants that. But where I think the studios go wrong – or the filmmakers go wrong – is that that’s usually good enough for them. It’s like, “We have more bodies, more blood, more chaos, more shit and we’ll just jam it down their throat and we’ll make another 50 million bucks and everyone will be happy.” But with Saw II, they did start with that, but then we worked backwards and said, how do we make this as clever as the first one? Or try to make it close to that? How do we put in the twists and turns? How do we make it satisfying for those real hard-core fans who watched it 20 times and are going to be the ones who have the most to say about the sequel? And so that’s what it was all about. It’s like ok, I knew there was a lot of thrills and spills and blood and guts and all that stuff. But for me every day was like, ok, how do me and Tobin make this make sense? How do we have a believable dialogue at this table know what he knows about me and I know about him? How is this gonna be believable for the audience? So it was just a constant effort to keep trying to make it believable.

And it was all in the hopes of making it count, where most sequels, nothing counts, you know what I mean? It’s like, “Ok, we can do whatever we want. We’ll just kill 50 people and that’ll be good.” Again, it’s a horror movie, so I’m not trying to say it’s like Gone With the Wind or nothing. (laughs) But it mattered. The movie made $100 million, and lot of people, you asked them what they thought about it and they’re like, “That shit was crazy! You doin’ a sequel? Cool!” And I don’t want them walking out of the theater saying, “Oh boy, I just got taken for a ride,” you know what I mean? I want them walking out of the theater saying, “That shit was fun! They did a good job. They came close to the first one.” I’ve been hearing a lot of people say it was better than the first one. So, what more could you ask for?

Your son thinks you’re pretty cool for being in this.


I heard he brought some props to school.

I gave him the masks. They had the puppet masks at a party in New York so I stole them and gave them to him. But none of the scary stuff.

He must think you’re the man.

I’m the man for another six days. I figure after opening weekend and Halloween…Halloween day he’s going to go to school and most of his friends will have seen the movie. And he’ll get some pats on the back which mean I’ll be like the man…I’ll his friends will have seen it, you know what I mean? The thing that trips me out is that he saw the first movie behind my back; they snuck and watched it on DVD.

How old is he?



This is a family film, guys. (laughs) Where does the time go? It seems yesterday that him and I were watching Beauty and the Beast on VHS. Now it’s like VHS doesn’t even exist anymore. His whole week right now is centered upon me and him taking like ten of his friends and going to see this movie Friday night at the theater near the house. It’s like that’s it. He can’t wait. He met James Wan and Leigh and Darren and he came to the set. He’s so stoked about it. It’s like man, we just went to see Wallace & Grommit three weeks ago. (laughs) Where did the time go? But this is his movie right now. This is the one he’s been waiting for.

And the cool thing is I’m a bit of an actor snob in that I won’t read certain things just because, it’s like, “I’m not doing that crappy thing. I’m not doing that horror movie. I’m not doing that movie based on a video game.” But guess what? My son wants to go to every one of them, and I don’t have the heart to tell him, “Damn, I threw that script in the trash.” You know what I mean? Because I was a fan of the first one, because I think Saw 2 is a movie that’s determined to give the audience their money’s worth, which I think Hollywood is not doing that right now, I figured this is the one I’m gonna do and I’m gonna have a good time and my son’s gonna say, “Thanks Dad. Thanks for doin’ that.”

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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